Gender Differences in the Relationship between Competitiveness and Adjustment among Athletically Identified College Students
Michele M. Carter, Carol S. Weissbrod
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2011.22014   PDF    HTML     8,489 Downloads   16,361 Views   Citations


This study explored the relationship between gender and enjoyment of competition and various indicators of mental health and adjustment in a sample of college students who report that they highly value athletics. One hundred and thirty-seven students completed the Sports Anxiety Scale, Multi-perfectionism Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Trait), Beck Depression Inventory, and Perception of Competition Scale. Results indicated that among women, enjoyment of competition was associated with decreased levels of athletic anxiety and a positive correlation between positive self-perception when winning and self-and socially oriented perfectionism, and between negative perception when losing and self-and socially oriented perfectionism. Among males, enjoyment of competition was related to decreased levels of general anxiety and depression, but not athletic anxiety. Furthermore, among men there was a positive correlation between enjoying competition and self-oriented perfectionism and between negative self-perception when losing and socially-oriented perfectionism. These data indicate gender differentially impacts the benefit of valuing athletics on measures of athletic anxiety and general measures of psychological well being.

Share and Cite:

Carter, M. & Weissbrod, C. (2011). Gender Differences in the Relationship between Competitiveness and Adjustment among Athletically Identified College Students. Psychology, 2, 85-90. doi: 10.4236/psych.2011.22014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] American College Health Association. (2007). National College Health Assessment web summary. Available at
[2] Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469-480. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469
[3] Arnett, J. J. (2007). Adolescence and emerging adulthood: A cultural approach (3rd Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
[4] Beck A. T., & Steer, R. (1987). Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory. San Antonio, Tex: Psychological Corporation.
[5] Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Garbin, M. G. (1988). Psychometric prop- erties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 8, 77-100. doi:10.1016/0272-7358(88)90050-5
[6] Blankstein, K. R., & Dunkley, D. M. (2002). Evaluative concerns, self-critical, and personal standards perfectionism: A structural equa- tion modeling strategy. In G. L. Flett & P. L. Hewitt, (Eds.). Perfec- tionism: Theory, Research and Treatment (pp. 285-315). Washing- ton, DC: American Psychological Association.
[7] Carodine, K., Almond, K. F., & Gratto, K. K. (2001). College student athlete success both in and out of the classroom. New Directions for Student Services, 93, 19-33. doi:10.1002/ss.2
[8] Corbin, C. B. (1981). Sex of subject, sex of opponent, and opponent ability as factors affecting self-confidence in a competitive situation. Journal of Sports Psychology, 4, 265-270.
[9] Crocker, J., Karpinski, A., Quinn, D. M., & Chase, S. (2003). When grades determine self-worth: Consequences of contingent self-worth for male and female engineering and psychology majors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 507-516. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.507
[10] Crocker, J., Sommers, S. R., & Luhtanen, R. K. (2002). Hopes dashed and dreams fulfilled: Contingencies of self-worth and admissions to graduate school. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1275-1286. doi:10.1177/01461672022812012
[11] Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1982). The Value of Sports. In John T. Parington, Terry Orlicke, & John H. Salmela (Eds.). Sports in Perspective. Ot- tawa, Ontario, Canada: Coaching Association of Canada.
[12] Eccles, J. S. & Harold, R. D. (1991). Gender differences in sport in- volvement: Applying the Eccles’ expectancy-value model, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 3, 7-35. doi:10.1080/10413209108406432
[13] Eccles, J.,Wigfield, A., Harold, R., & Blumenfeld, P. (1993). Age and gender differences in children’s self and task perceptions during elementary school. Child Development, 64, 830-847. doi:10.2307/1131221
[14] Fletcher, T. B., Benshoff, J. M., & Richburg, M. J. (2003). A systems approach to understanding and counseling college student-athletes. Journal of College Counseling, 6, 35-45.
[15] Flett, G. L., & Hewitt, P. L. (2002a). Perfectionism and maladjustment: An overview of theoretical, definitional, and treatment issues. In Flett, G. L., and Hewitt, P. L. (Eds), Perfectionism: Theory, Research and Assessment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Associa- tion.
[16] Flett, G. L., & Hewitt, P. L. (2002b). Perfectionism Theory, Research and Assesment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Associa- tion.
[17] Flynn, J. F., Hollenstein, T., & Mackey, A. (2010). The effect of sup- pressing and not accepting emotions on depressive symptoms: Is suppression different for men and women? Personality and Individ- ual Differences, 49, 582-586. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.05.022
[18] Fredricks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2005). Family socialization, gender, and sport motivation and involvement. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 27, 3-31.
[19] Gill, D. L. (2001). Sports and athletics. In J. Worell (senior Ed.), Encyclopedia of Women and Gender (pp.1091-1100). San Diego: Academic Press.
[20] Heilman, M. E., & Haynes, M. C. (2005). No credit where credit is due: Attributional rationalization of women’s success in male-female teams. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 905-916. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.5.905
[21] Hewitt, P., & Flett, G. (1989). The Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale: Development and validation. Canadian Psychology, 30, 339.
[22] Hewitt, P. L. & Flett, G. L. (1991). Perfectionism in the self and social contexts: Conceptualization, assessment, and association with psycho-pathology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 456-470. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.60.3.456
[23] Knight, R. G., Waal-Manning, H. J., & Spears, G. F. (1983). Some norms and reliability data for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 22, 245-249.
[24] Lorimer, R. (2006). The relationship between self-presentational concerns and competitive anxiety: The influence of gender. International Journal of Sports Psychology, 37, 317-329.
[25] Melendez, M. C. (2006). The influence of athletic participation on the college adjustment of freshman and sophomore student athletes. College Student Retention, 8, 39-55. doi:10.2190/8GLY-G974-V7FM-E1YD
[26] Montgomery, M. J., & C?té, J. E. (2003). College as a transition to adulthood. In G. R. Adams & M. D. Berzonsky (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of adolescence (pp. 149-172). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
[27] Parker, S. K., & Griffin, M. A. (2002). What is so bad about a little name-calling? Negative consequences of gender harassment for overperformance demands and distress. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 7, 195-210. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.7.3.195
[28] Ryckman, R. M., Libby, C. R., van den Borne, B., Gold, J. A., & Lind- ner, M. A. (1997). Values of hypercompetitive and personal devel- opment competitive individuals. Journal of Personality Assessment, 69, 271-283. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa6902_2
[29] Ryckman, R. M., Hammer, M., Kaczor, L. M., & Gold, J. A. (1996). Construction of a personal development competitive attitude scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66, 374-385. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa6602_15
[30] Ryckman, R. M., Thornton, B., & Butler, J. C. (1994). Personality correlates of the hypercompetitive attitude scale: Validity test of Horney’s theory of neurosis. Journal of Personality Assessment, 62, 84-94. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa6201_8
[31] Smith, R. E., Cumming, S. P., & Smoll, F. L. (2006). Factorial integrity of the Sport Anxiety Scale: A methodological note and revised scor- ing recommendations. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 28, 109-112.
[32] Smith, R. E., Smoll, F. L., & Schutz, R. W. (1990). Measurement and correlates of sport-specific cognitive and somatic trait anxiety: The Sport Anxiety Scale. Anxiety Research, 2, 263-280.
[33] Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., & Lushene. R. E. (1970). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
[34] Steiner, H., McQuivey, R. W., Pavelski, R., Pitts, T., & Kraemer, H. (2000). Adolscents and sports: Risk or benefit? Clinical Pediatrics, 39, 161-166. doi:10.1177/000992280003900304
[35] Weiss, K. (2004, November), “Framework for performance measurement”, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Invitational Meeting on Performance Measurement, Data Aggregation, and Reporting, available at:,.
[36] Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., Yoon, K. S., Harold, R., Arbreton, A., Freedman-Doan, C., & Blumenfeld, P. C. (1997). Changes in child- ren’s competence beliefs and subjective task values across the elementary school years: A three-year study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 451-469. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.89.3.451
[37] Wong, E., Lox, C., & Clark, S. (1993). Relation between sport context, competitive trait anxeity, perceived ability, and self-presentation confidence. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 76, 847-850.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.