Examining social influences on the sport commitment of Masters swimmers

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Objectives:The purpose was to use the Sport Commitment Model (Scanlan, Russell, Beals, & Scanlan, 2003) to examine social influences and the specific social agents/sources that foster a resolve to continue sport.Design:Cross-sectional survey.Methods:Masters swimmers (n = 424; M age = 54.0; 220 m, 204 f) completed a survey (Wilson et al., 2004) assessing perceptions of 2 commitment types, social support and constraints relating to 8 sources in their social environment, and perceptions of 4 non-social determinants (enjoyment, personal investments, involvement opportunities, involvement alternatives).Results:In Analysis 1, only scores for support and constraints relating to each social source were entered into simultaneous regression models for functional (R2 = .11, p < .01) and obligatory commitment (R2 = .39, p < .001), separately. Critical social influence variables were identified, advanced to Analysis 2, and entered simultaneously with 4 non-social determinants into regression models for each commitment type. Enjoyment (β = .42), personal investments (.28), social constraints from own children (.15), and investment alternatives (−.12) (all ps < .05) predicted functional commitment (R2 = .57, p < .001). Involvement opportunities (β = .23), involvement alternatives (.23), social constraints from spouse (.24), own children (.19), and training partners (.13), and social support from health professionals (−.15) (all ps ≤ .05) explained obligatory commitment (R2 = .47, p < .001).Conclusion:When designing interventions to sustain participation, subsets of Masters athletes reporting a broad social network would benefit from a focus on reducing pressures from spouse, children, and training mates, while heightening support from health practitioners.

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