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INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

4900 words (20 pages) Essay in Psychology

10/05/17 Psychology Reference this

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By 1992, more than 1,000 articles had been published on aspects of sport personality (Ruffer, 1976; Vealey, 1989, 2002). This voluminous research demonstrates how important researches and practitioners consider the role of personality to be in sports. With that in mind, this research attempted to determine if there is a relationship between types of personalities and sports preferences. Athletes from different sports and non-athletes will play a part in this particular study. The primary interest of this study is to examine their personalities and make a comparison. There are lots of concerns on does personality of an individual give way to the types of sport chosen to be played. This would trigger questions such as, is there a relationship between personality type and sport preference? How do people choose the sport they participate in? Would it be a matter of personality preference? Are certain personality types more attracted to certain sports, like in careers? Why some people prefer individual sports over team sports? What do team players have in common?

It seems reasonable to propose the idea that people will perform more to their potential if they understand themselves better and what drives their motivation. Most people do not know what they are capable of achieving. The reason is that they do not know themselves well enough. To know who we are and what we are able to do is especially important in sports. If a person knows more of his or her potentials and what they are able to accomplish, there will be a much greater chance for that person to find success. Therefore, more research should be done in this area in order to be able to help athletes and people in general to decide which sport would be best for them. This is especially relevant for young people, because they are trying to decide which sport they might play and they might even have an inspiration to turn professional later in life. This could relate to a quote by Paul Harris, which states, ‘Personality has power to uplift, power to depress, power to curse, and power to bless.’

Understanding the personality of athletes also prove to be beneficial to achieve a greater achievement and success in their range of sports participation. According to Cristina Bortoni Versari (2008), her research on basketball team indicated that teams exhibit a predictable personality profile and that by understanding the psyche of the athlete, performance and team productivity can be enhanced. Interpersonal communication amongst players and coaching staff can improve; players can take advantage of their personal preferences and strengths and work on developing other areas identified in the assessment process. Optimal communication and performance can be achieved by identifying the athlete’s preferred learning and personality styles. Personality types are attracted to and succeed in certain sports just like they do in certain occupations. The more athletes and coaches understand about their personalities and the team profile, the more productive they can be.

In their review of the relationship between sport and personality, Eysenck, Nias and Cox (1982) list a number of important conclusions. Based on the three well defined dimensions of personality, extraversion, neuroticism and psychotism, a number of findings are apparent: both average and superior sports person tend to be extraverted and tend to be lower on neuroticism but high on psychotism. On the other hand, extraverts are likely to be at a disadvantage in sports which the emphasis is on accuracy, such as rifle shooting and archery which call for calm, slow and deliberate preparation as researched by Davies (1989). By the same token, participants who are more extroverted might choose a team sport and where there is body contact and more aggressiveness. People who are introverted might be prone to an individual sport and a sport where there is no personal contact. Participants who involve themselves in an individual sport will be more egoistic.

Nearly all researchers and reviewers in the area have pointed out the serious methodological shortcomings in this area. Essentially, two reasons clearly exist for this disappointing research. Most such research is weak in both conception and design. In fact, it would be surprising if the result weren’t contradictory and confusing. With this in mind, the researcher will conduct surveys utilizing the examination of athletes, non-athletes, gender, extroversion, neuroticism, sensation seeking, calmness, and other variables. The researchers will then compare findings and interpret the data gathered among different types of sport, and between athletes and non-athletes. All participants will have to complete a demographic questionnaire that assess gender, age, college major, sport they participate in (only for athletes) and GPA. Personality test will be conducted inclusive of Eysenck Personality Inventory (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975), “Global 5” (2008) and Scale from the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire (Zuckerman, 2002).

1.1 Statement of the problem

This study is concerned with correlations between measures of personality and different sport involvement within sport participation. One focus of interest is to ascertain what personality is the best for a particular sport, enabling the athletes and non athletes to find more success and interest with the least effort. Most people do not know what they are capable of achieving. The reason is that they do not know themselves well enough. To know who we are and what we are able to do is especially important in sports. If a person knows more of his or her potentials and what they are able to accomplish, there will be a much greater chance for that person to find success. This is especially relevant for young people, because they are trying to decide which sport they might play and they might even have an inspiration to turn professional later in life.

Researchers have asked for example, what causes one student to be excited about physical education class whereas others don’t even bother to dress out. Researched have questioned why some exercisers stay with their fitness program whereas others lose motivation and drop out. All the lack of interest and drop outs of fitness programs could give way to greater problem for a normal average person because they may not get involved in sports anymore. This situation may have caused the alarming raise of obesity cases in Malaysians aged 18 and above, whereby the statistics showed that obesity cases had increased by 3 times from 4.4% in year 1996 to 11.6 % in year 2006. With the huge increment in obesity cases, it is rather sad to see only a slight increment of 3% for the same years taken, for Malaysians involving in sports. Therefore, the study on personality could give an indicator for a person to select the sport that best suit their behavior and with that, they could stick the regime to improve the quality of their life.

Understanding the personality of athletes also prove to be beneficial to achieve a greater achievement and success in their range of sports participation. According to Cristina Bortoni Versari (2008), her research on basketball team indicated that teams exhibit a predictable personality profile and that by understanding the psyche of the athlete, performance and team productivity can be enhanced. Interpersonal communication amongst players and coaching staff can improve; players can take advantage of their personal preferences and strengths and work on developing other areas identified in the assessment process. Optimal communication and performance can be achieved by identifying the athlete’s preferred learning and personality styles. Personality types are attracted to and succeed in certain sports just like they do in certain occupations. The more athletes and coaches understand about their personalities and the team profile, the more productive they can be.

1.2 Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between types of personalities and sport preferences. The primary interest of this study is to examine the personalities of athletes from different sports and non athletes to be made comparison between them. Therefore, the objectives of this research are as follows:

To compare personality characteristics between athletes and non-athletes, verifying similarities and differences between groups.

To perform comparisons of the personality characteristics between athletes (individual and team sports, men and women) and non-athletes subgroups (men and women).

1.3 Research hypothesis

The study focuses on the following hypothesis which is expressed in the null form:

There will not be any relationship between personality type and sport preferences.

1.4 Significance of the study

This study is apparently the early attempt to study the relationship between personality type and sport preferences in Malaysia. The focus of interest in to ascertain the type of personality best suited for a particular sport, enabling athletes to find more success with the least effort. Besides that, it is easier to encourage non athletes to pick up certain physical activities or sports after their type of personality being known. This collides with the human nature whereby, whenever a person knows of his or her potential, they will further gain interest and develop deeper involvement and passion in it.

This study could also provide useful feedback to coaches in better knowing their athletes. Once the personality of athletes being understood, it would be easier for the coaches to plan strategies in order to achieve greater success.

1.5 Delimitation of the study

The following delimitations are placed on this study:

This study was delimited to athletes and non athletes among students in MARA University of Technology Shah Alam, Malaysia.

Personality test is conducted using Eysenck’s Personality Inventory Test, Global 5 Test and Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire.

1.6 Definition of terms

To avoid different interpretation, given below are some operational definitions as they are used in the study:

Athlete – somebody with the abilities to participate in physical exercise, especially in competitive games and races (MSN Encarta Online, 2009). Operationally it is somebody with athletic ability.

Non-athlete – not a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina (Webster’s Online Dictionary, 2009). Operationally it is person not trained to compete in sports.

Personality – an individual’s characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, together with the psychological mechanisms – hidden or not – behind those patterns (Funder, 2001). Operationally it is the characteristics or blend of characteristics that make a person unique.

Sport – all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, aims at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competitions at all levels (The Council of Europe’s Sports Charter, 1992). Operationally it is an active diversion requiring physical exertion and competition.

Preferences – the selecting of someone or something over another or others (American Heritage Online Dictionary, 2009). Operationally it is the right or chance to so choose.

CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.0 Introduction

Individual differences are obvious. One youth soccer player relishes center stage while a teammate shuns the limelight; one person goes on a long, daily runs while a neighbor socializes and exercises at the fitness center. From the examples, it is noticeable that every person is different in terms of behavior and personality, or in simple manner it is called unique. In order to understand personalities and sports preferred, going to basic theories and previous research done are utmost important. Therefore, the review in this research is aimed to provide general personality theories and measures and focus on the sport and exercise psychology research on personality characteristics and behavior.

2.1 Definition of personality

The concept of personality is so broad that it is difficult to define precisely. Many theorist have attempted to define personality and they agree on one aspect; uniqueness. In essence, personality refers to the characteristics that make a person unique.

Personality is the sum of the characteristics that make a person unique (Hollander, 1971). Pervin (1993) offered a simple working definition of personality; Personality represents those characteristics of a person that account for consistent pattern of behavior.

To Erving Goffman, personality is nothing more than a series of roles or personae which we present to the world, yet to Raymond Cattell there is a stable core to our personality. To George Kelly (1955), above all we are unique, yet to Hans Eysenck we all comprise a finite numbers of personality traits.

2.2 The structure of personality

Hollander (1971) has outlines a personality structure and later was adapted by Martens (1975). The structure is as shown in Figure 2.0.

Figure 2.0 Personality Structure

Personality can be divided into three separate but related levels. There are psychological cores, typical responses and role related behaviors. As could be observed from the figure, role related behaviors are most susceptible to the environment, while the psychological core is somewhat insulated from the environment.

2.2.1 The psychological core

This core of an individual holds that person’s image of what he or she is really like. It includes the individual’s self concept. The psychological core represents the center piece of a person’s personality; it includes basic attitudes, values, interest and motives.

2.2.2 Typical responses

It represents the usual manner in which we respond to environmental situations. Typical responses are learned mode of dealing with the environment. Unless a person is playacting or has an unstable personality, typical responses will be a valid indicator of a person’s psychological core.

2.2.3 Role related behavior

It represents the most superficial aspect of our personality. We engage in role related behavior to fit our perception of our environment. Consequently, as the environment or our perception of it changes, our behavior changes too. There are certainly not valid indicators of the psychological core. In getting to know a person, we want to get the real person or in other terms called psychological core.

2.3 Theories of personality

Due to the broad nature of personality psychology, numerous theories have been proposed. These theories could be categorized into psychodynamic theory, social learning theory, trait theory approach, and interactional approach.

2.3.1 Psychodynamic Theory

This theory was originated by Sigmund Freud in 1933; with a number of psychoanalytic theorists have proposed modifications to the original theory, namely Carl Jung, Erich Fromm and Erik Erickson (Mischel, 1986). This theory is based primarily upon self analysis and extensive clinical observation of neurotics. However, this theory has had little direct impact on sport personality research, due to their clinical and psychological focus. In Freud’s view, the id, ego and superego form the tripartite structure of personality; in a sense the id is the pleasure seeking mechanism. In contrast, the ego represents the conscious, logical, reality oriented aspect of the personality. The superego represents the conscience of the individual; it is the internalized moral standards of societies impressed upon the person by parental control and the process of socialization.

2.3.2 Social Learning Theory

From the view of social learning theory, human behavior is a function of social learning and the strength of the situation. An individual behaves according to how he or she has learned to behave, consistent with environmental constraints. The origin of social learning theory can be traced to Clark Hull’s 1943 Theory of Learning. Hull’s stimulus response theory says that an individual’s behavior in any given situation is a function of his or her learned experiences. According to Bandura in the year 1977, behavior is best explained as a function of observational learning. A considerable amount of research in sport psychology has utilized the social learning approach.

2.3.3 Trait Theories

The basic position or factory theory is that personality can be described in terms of traits possessed by individuals. Traits are considered to be stable, enduring and consistent across a variety of differing situations. Individuals differ in each trait due to genetic differences. Among the most ardent advocates of trait psychology are psychologists such as Alport, Cattell and Eysenck. The great strength of this theory is that it allows for the easy and objective measurement of personality through the use of inventories. Conversely, the weakness of the trait approach is that it may fail to consider the whole person, since personality according to this approach is represented by a collection of specific traits.

2.3.3.1 Eysenck’s Theory

Hans Eysenck (1955) proposed that there are a number of traits which we all have, but to varying degrees. Some of these can be grouped together. Eysenck called these two dimensions extrovert- introvert (E) dimension and stable-neurotic dimension (N). These two dimensions could be measured by a personality test called the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI). Some items from the EPI are as shown in Table 2.0.

No.

Items

Yes

No

1

Do you often long for excitement?

2

Do you often need understanding friends to cheer you up?

3

Are you usually carefree?

4

Do you find it very hard to take no for an answer?

5

Do you stop and think things over before doing anything?

Table 2.0 Items from the Eysenck’s Personality Inventory

Referring to Table 2.0, it can be seen that Question 1, 3 and 5 are part of the Extroversion (E) scale, while Question 2 and 4 are part of the neuroticism (N) scale. The E and N scales are each marked out of 24. A high score on the E scale would indicate that you are very extrovert while a low score would indicate that you are very introvert. A high score on the N scale could indicate that you are very neurotic whereas a very low score would indicate that you are very stable. The scale is shown in Table 2.1.

The major strength of Eysenck’s model was to provide detailed theory of the causes of personality. For example, Eysenck proposed that extraversion was caused by variability in cortical arousal; “introverts are characterized by higher levels of activity than extraverts and so are chronically more cortically aroused than extraverts” (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985). While it seems counterintuitive to suppose that introverts are more aroused than extraverts, the putative effect this has on behavior is such that the introvert seeks lower levels of stimulation. Conversely, the extravert seeks to heighten their arousal to a more optimal level (as predicted by the Yerkes-Dodson Law) by increased activity, social engagement and other stimulation-seeking behaviors.

Eysenck (1975) added a third personality trait – psychoticism – a measure of how tender or tough minded an individual is. This factor is incorporated into a third scale in Eynseck’s later personality test, the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ). Eysenck (1996) explained extroversion and neuroticism as being primarily determined by the nature of the individual’s nervous system. Introverts are more easily aroused by events than extroverts, therefore they require less stimulation to be comfortable. Introverts tend to seek out situation where there is relatively little stimulation, appearing quiet and solitary. Extroverts, who require more stimulations to achieve a comfortable level of arousal, respond by seeking out situations where there is more stimulation to be had. Their behavior tends to be more lively and sociable.

Eysenck saw neuroticism as being a result of the response of the individual’s nervous system to stress. Those who score highly in neuroticism are thus whose nervous system responds strongly to stress and is slow to recover. Stable people would be those whose nervous system responded less strongly to stress and then recovered more quickly.

Eysenck discovered in his studies that distance runners were more likely to gravitate to the E dimension introverts whilst team game, action orientated activities attracted extroverts. He also claimed that athletes tended to be placed closer to the stable end of the N dimension. Athletes who appeared to be more neurotic already had a high arousal level and could not cope with over arousal as they compete, resulting in a decrease in performance.

2.3.3.2 Cattel’s Theory

Cattell (1965) disagreed with Eysenck’s view that personality could be understood by looking only at three dimensions of behavior. Instead he argued that it was necessary to look at much higher number of traits in order to get a complete picture of someone’s personality.

Cattell believed that personality consists of traits (or personality factors) and he devised the 16PF questionnaire to measure how much of each trait a person shows. He claims that this questionnaire provides more detailed information and takes into account changes in scores each time an individual completes one. He takes into consideration the subject’s mood, motivation and any situational factors. The identified sixteen factors are as listed in Table 2.2.

Reserved outgoing

Unintelligent intelligent

Stable unstable

Humble assertive

Sober happy go lucky

Expedient conscientious

Shy adventurous

Tough minded tender minded

Trusting suspicious

Practical imaginative

Forthright shrewd

Placid apprehensive

Conservative experimenting

Group dependent self sufficient

Undisciplined controlled

Relaxed tense

Table 2.2 Cattell’s Sixteen Personality factors

2.3.3.3 Narrow Band Theory

Narrow band theories are more modest theories that have looked at specific aspects of personality. Two narrow band theories are sensation seeking and telic dominance. However, this review will only touch on the theory of sensation seeking by Zuckerman, 1979.

Zuckerman (1979) identified sensation seeking as an aspect of personality. Sensation seeking reflects the amount of stimulation a person will seek. Zuckerman identified four separate factors that make up sensation seeking. These are seeking of thrills and adventure, tendency to act on impulse, seeking of new experiences and vulnerability to boredom.

Studies have found that sensation seeking, as measured by Zuckerman’s scale, is positively related to drug taking, sexual experimentation and volunteering for high risk sports. Clearly, the latter is of interest to sport psychologist, who are interested in who chooses to participate in risky sports.

2.3.3.4 Big Five Personality Theory

The Big Five ‘super traits’ have been researched and validated by many different psychologists (WT Norman 1963, McCrae & Costa 1987, Brand & Egan 1989, LR Goldman 1990 and P Sinclair 1992) and are at the core of many other personality questionnaires.

Psychologist continues to explore and debate the structure of personality, but the literature suggest consensus. Most personality psychologists accept the Big Five Model with its five major dimensions. The dimensions are as listed in Table 2.3.

Neuroticism (N)

Nervousness, anxiety, depression, anger versus emotional stability.

Extraversion (E)

Enthusiasm, sociability, assertiveness, high activity level versus introversion.

Openness to experience (O)

Originality, need for variety, curiosity, artistic sensitivity.

Agreeableness (A)

Amiability, altruism, modesty, trust versus egocentrism, narcissism and skepticism.

Conscientiousness (C)

Constraint, achievement striving, self discipline.

Table 2.3 Big Five Personality Dimension

Eynseck’s early three factor model of Extraversion, Neuroticism and Psychoticism served as the basis for much of the five factor model.

2.3.4 The Interactional Approach

This approach suggests that personality is formed by personal factors (traits) and the interaction with the environment (social learning). Taking an interactional approach can allow coaches / teachers to assess an athlete’s personality and levels of anxiety in a number of situations. For example a coach can determine the situations the athlete may find most anxious and plan strategies to improve this accordingly.

Lewin expressed the following three theories as a formula,

Trait theory B = F (P)

Interactional theory B = F (PE)

Social Learning theory B = F (E)

B = BEHAVIOUR

F = FUNCTION OF PERSONALITY TRAITS

P = PERSONALITY TRAITS

E = ENVIRONMENT

2.3.5 Applying trait theories in sports

Of all the approaches to personality, most research in sport psychology has involved the trait approach. Attempts have been made to distinguish athletes from non athletes and successful performers from less successful performers. Sport psychologists have also looked at whether personality factors are associated with choice of sport.

2.3.6 Athletes and non-athletes

Numerous attempts have been made to find out whether there is a fundamental difference in the personality of athletes and non athletes. According to Geron, Furst and Rotstein (1986), athletes differ from non-athletes on many personality traits. Cooper (1969), describes the athletes as being more self-confident, competitive and socially outgoing than the non-athletes. This is agreeable to Morgan’s (1980) and Kane’s (1976) conclusion that athletes is basically an extrovert and low in anxiety.

In addition, Eysenck (1982) proposed that people scoring high on the extroversion and psychoticism scales of the EPQ are more likely to take up sport. This has not however been supported by research (Kremer and Scully, 1994). Schurr (1977) tested 1,500 American students with the 16PF, relating this to participation in sport, choice of sport and level of success. They found that athletes differ from non athletes on three scale of the 16PF, being more independent and objective, and less anxious than non-athletes. Overall, the research equivocal and different writers have reached different conclusions about whether athletes and non-athletes have different personalities.

2.3.7 Gender

Biographical variables (for example ethnic origin and socio-economic class) do not feature significantly in the sport psychology literature, except as examples of factors which may influence sport participation rate (Greendorfer, 1987). The only biographical variable which has generated interest is gender. William (1980), in a review of existing material, found little evidence to suggest significant differences based on biological sex. Biology of sex does not refer to sex role orientation whereby it means the social psychology of sex roles, which has been outlined by BEM (1974) and later taken up by Spence and Helmreich (1978). Their questionnaire scale measures two personality characteristics, masculinity and feminity. In the past scores from these scales have been used to categorize both men and women as either masculine (low feminine and high masculine score), feminine (high masculine and low feminine score), androgynous (high feminine, high masculine score) or undifferentiated (low feminine, low masculine scores).

The research done by Wrisberg (1988), Helmreich and Spence (1977) and Anderson and Williams (1987) demonstrated that those who succeeded in sports tended to endorse masculine or androgynous trait, and that feminine trait were often associated with poor motivation in sport and high levels of competitive anxiety.

On other note, William (1980) concluded that the normative female differs in personality profile from the successful female athlete. Specifically, the female athletes is found to exhibit personality traits much like the normative male and male athletes (assertive, achievement oriented, dominant, self-sufficient, independent, aggressive, intelligent and reserved). For example, in comparison with available norms, female body builders were observed to be more extroverted, vigorous, less anxious, less neurotic, less depressed, less angry and less confused (Freedson, Mihevic, Loucks and Girandola, 1983). On the other hand, the normative female tends towards passiveness, submissiveness, dependence, emotionality, sociability, low aggression and low need of achievement.

As with the male athlete, female athlete from one sport is likely to differ to some degree from female athletes from other sport in terms of their personality profiles.

2.3.8 Personality and choice of sport

This has proved another more fruitful area of study and some important differences between the personalities of successful athletes in different sports have emerged. This is hardly surprising when you consider the different demands of sport. In the Schurr (1977) study, although relatively few differences emerged between athletes and non-athletes, considerable differences were found between team and individual players. Team players emerged as more anxious, dependent, extroverted and alert objective; but less sensitive-imaginative than individual players. Direct sport athletes (basketball, football, soccer, etc.) were observed to be more independent and to have less ego strength than parallel sport athletes (volleyball, baseball, etc.). Clingman and Hilliard (1987) found that super adherers, for example those who excelled at endurance sports such as triathlon were unusually high in achievement motivation, autonomy, dominance and harm avoidance. McGill (1986) looked at rock climbers and found that they were particularly high on sensation seeking and low on anxiety. Kroll and Crenshaw (1970) reported a study which highly skilled football, wrestling, gymnastics and karate athletes were compared on the basis of Cattell’s 16PF. The results showed that when the football players and wrestlers were contrasted with the gymnasts and karate participants. Significantly different personality profiles emerged. The wrestlers and football players had similar profiles, while the gymnasts and karate athletes differed from each other as well as from the wrestlers and football players

Similarly, Singer (1969) observed that collegiate baseball players (a team sports) differed significantly from tennis players (an individual sport) in several personality variables. Specifically, tennis player scored higher than the baseball player on achievement, autonomy, intraception, dominance and aggression but lower on abasement.

The literature shows that athletes in one sport often differ in personality type and profile from the athletes in other sport. It is reasonable to expect football player to be more aggressive, anxious ad to have a greater pain tolerance than a golfer or a tennis player.

2.3.9 Personality measures

Cofer and Johnson (1960) i

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