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Sport participation: differences in motivation and actual participation due to gender typing.

Sport(1) participation on a regular basis has been shown to have positive effects on physical health (Dishman, 1988; Martin & Dubbert, 1982; Paffenberger & Hyde, 1988; Paffenberger, Hyde, Wing, & Hsieh, 1986; Siscovick, LaPorte, & Newman, 1985; Stephens, Jacobs, & White, 1985), psychological enhancement, stress reactivity, and mental well-being, such as reduced depression, anxiety, tension and stress, and increased vigor and clear-mindedness (Bahrke & Morgan, 1978; Berger, Friedman, & Eaton, 1988; Berger & Owen, 1983; Blumenthal, Williams, Needels, & Wallace, 1982; Folkins & Sime, 1981; McCann & Holmes, 1984; Morgan & Goldston, 1987; Prakasa, & Overman, 1986; Raglin & Morgan, 1987; Senkfor & Williams, 1995; Snyder & Kivlin, 1975; Thayer, 1987; Wilson, Berger, & Bird, 1981). Also, physical exercise has been suggested to have a positive impact on body-image, self-concept and to enhance self-esteem (Brown, Morrow, & Livingston, 1982; Clough, Shepherd, & Maughan; 1989; Frederick & Ryan, 1993; Jasnoski, Holmes, Oloman, & Agular, 1981; Parent, & Whall, 1984; Prakasa, & Overman, 1986;). See also a review by Leith and Taylor (1990).

Thus, with all this material demonstrating the benefits of habitual participation in sports, one might believe that most people take part regularly in some form of sport, but discouragingly enough this is not the case. A large number of studies and surveys show that the percentage of individuals participating in sport is low and has even been declining during recent years, and also that the decline is larger among women than men. Furthermore, about 50% or more of both those who undertake supervised physical exercise programs and those who begin exercise programs on their own, drop out within three months (Dishman, 1988; Engstrom, 1989; Franklin, 1978; Gill & Overdoff, 1994; Martin & Dubbert, 1982; Powell, Spain, Christenson, & Mollenkamp, 1986; Robinson & Godbey, 1993; Stephens, Jacobs, & White, 1985). It seems like physical and psychological health and well-being are not strong enough reasons for regular physical exercise by everyone who has the capacity to participate.

While some research has attempted to elaborate the theories of sport behavior, including several factors that might possibly explain sport participation, other research has been focused on studying one of the factors more specifically, namely motivation to participate. The motivational theories put forward range from being of a mechanistic nature viewing humans as passive and driven by psychological drives, to cognitive theories viewing humans as actively processing and interpreting the achievement context and initiating action (Roberts, 1992). The motivational theories ask why the particular behavior is activated and could also be used to explain what motivates individuals to exercise. One aspect for study when trying to explain why humans participate in sport is the reasons given explicitly by the individuals for why they participate. The reasons given for sport participation might not solely be what really motivates the individuals to participate, but could explain some of the variance in behavior.

Several studies have demonstrated that the motives given for sport participation, i.e. the perceived benefits, are not only the physical health aspects, but a number of other ones, such as weight control and appearance, stress and mood management, competition and enjoyment, fun and excitement (Cash, Novy, & Grant, 1994; Dwyer, 1992; Flood & Hellstedt, 1991; Frederick & Ryan, 1993; Gill & Overdorf; 1994; Silberstein, Striegel-Moore, Timko, & Rodin, 1988). Thus, there are differences between individuals in perceived benefits, which might explain some of the differences in sport participation. These perceptions of benefits, or motives to participate, are expected to be influenced by several factors, such as, for example, age and gender (e.g., Duda & Tappe, 1989; Gill & Overdorf, 1994; Markland & Hardy, 1993; Mathes & Battista, 1985).

If an experience of sport participation is perceived to be meaningful, a person will be more motivated to participate in such activities (Gill & Overdorf, 1994), but what is perceived as meaningful by one individual might not be perceived as such by another. In addition, motives to sport participation differ not only in what they are, but also how strong or important they are. For example, older adults and females seem to value competition less than younger adults and males. Also, social incentives are valued less by younger adults and by males compared to older adults and females respectively (Duda & Tappe, 1989; Flood & Hellstedt, 1991; Gill, 1986; Gill & Overdorf, 1994; Gill, Williams, Dowd, Beaudoin, et al., 1996; Markland & Hardy, 1993; Mathes & Battista, 1985). Weight control and appearance are strong participation motives for women, and especially younger women (Cash, Novy, & Grant, 1994; Frederick & Ryan, 1993; Clough, Shepherd, & Maughan, 1989; Gill & Overdoff, 1994; Gill et al., 1996; Markland & Hardy, 1993; Silberstein et al., 1988).

The gender differences that have been found in earlier studies, for example that body-related and social factors are stronger motives for women, and that competition and competence motives are more valued by men, are likely to have emerged due to expectations of society of proper behavior for men and women. Men are expected to be competitive, and women are expected to be yielding and concerned about, not competing with others (Bem, 1974, 1981a). Although physical appearance concerns both men and women, it is more important to women, and compared to men there is also a much stronger pressure on women to have a youthful appearance and to be slim (Garner, Garfinkel, Schwartz, & Thompson, 1980; Henley, 1977; Willis & Campbell, 1992). In the 1980s, the ideal female body shape had developed from the thinness of the 1960s ideal, to a combination of thinness and muscularity (Willis & Campbell, 1992).

Furthermore, sports has been and is still regarded as a male domain (Birrel, 1983; Hallinan, Snyder, Drowatzky, & Ashby, 1990; Martin & Martin, 1995; Matteo, 1986; Messner, 1988, 1990; Pedersen & Kono, 1990; Snyder & Spreitzer, 1993), clearly visible for example in the statement made by Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games (quoted in Cohen, 1993): "The Olympic Games must be reserved for men ... we must continue to try to achieve the following definition: the solemn and periodic exaltation of male athleticism, with internationalism as a base, loyalty as a means, art for its setting, and female applause as its reward" (p. 169). The notion of sport as a very masculine activity probably influences quite strongly the way in which men and women view sport also with regard to motives to participate, the expected outcomes of participation, and the time spent participating (e.g., Koivula, 1995; Matteo, 1986, 1988; Salminen, 1990).

As there are differences in how strongly individuals internalize the standards of society for desirable and appropriate behavior (Bem, 1981a), one might expect differences, not only between men and women in the motives given explicitly for sport participation, but also between individuals depending on gender typing.

The theoretical propositions advanced by Bem (1974, 1977, 1981a) suggests that individuals can be identified as gender-typed or nongender-typed using a self-report instrument consisting of instrumental and expressive traits stereotypically associated with males and females respectively, also suggesting that individuals who are gender typed in their Bern Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) scores are more likely to exhibit other age- and gender-appropriate characteristics and behaviors, to use gender schemata when organizing information about themselves and the external world, and to adopt traditional gender ideologies. Although some criticism has been directed toward the use of the BSRI as a measure of global gender constructs, suggesting that the trait dimensions tapped by the BSRI only covers one class of gender-related variables (Spence, 1993; Spence & Hall, 1996), the use of the BSRI as a means of identifying gender-typed individuals, has found support in several other studies (e.g., Carlsson & Magnusson, 1980; Frable, 1989; Frable & Bem, 1985; Gadreau, 1977; Schmitt & Millard, 1988). Eventhough the BSRI only measures one dimension of the construct of gender gender-related instrumental and expressive traits it might be helpful in trying to understand one part of the heterogeneous collection of self-perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors that distinguish between females and males, without assuming that this automatically gives information about all other dimensions of gender.

Based on the aforementioned considerations, several aims can be identified in the present study. One aim was to examine possible differences in motives for sport participation due to gender typing. Another aim of the study was to explore whether and how variations in ratings of the importance of motives correlate with actual participating time and whether these correlations vary with gender typing.



A total of 440 participants completed the questionnaires, but, 30 of them did not report themselves as presently or previously participating in any physical activity and were therefore excluded from further analysis. Participants included in the present study consisted of 202 women and 208 men, students at Stockholm University or the Royal Institute of Technology. The mean age was 25.5 years (SD 5.7) for the entire sample. The mean age for men was 24.9 (SD 4.5), and for women, 26.0 (SD 6.7). The students of psychology participated as part of their course requirements. Students at the Royal Institute of Technology participated without any compensation whatsoever. Other participating students were offered coffee/tea and cinnamon buns/biscuits for their participation. Out of these 410 participants, 124 women and 148 men were participating in sports at the time of the study.

Procedure and Material

The participants in the study were attracted by notices displayed at the department of psychology and elsewhere on the university campus, or by random e-mailing in the case of the students at the Royal Institute of Technology. Before answering the questionnaires, the participants were only told that the study was about leisure-time activities, opinions regarding these activities, and also about personality. They also were informed that they were to answer the questionnaires anonymously.

The participants first answered a questionnaire regarding sex, age and physical exercise habits, both present and previous, as to type, number of occasions per week, amount of time per occasion, level of participation and age when participating. Then all participants who were currently exercising and/or had previously participated in physical exercise completed three questionnaires regarding motivation for sport and exercise participation (see further below), in a randomized order for each participant. Those participants neither currently participating nor having ever participated in physical exercise answered a questionnaire on reasons for not exercising.

In order to discriminate between gender-typed and non-gender-typed individuals, the BSRI was used. The BSRI is a questionnaire in which the respondent is requested to indicate on a seven-point scale from 1 (Never or almost never true) to 7 (Always or almost always true), the extent to which each of the 60 personality attributes describes her/himself. The original scale consists of two 20-item subscales, covering attributes traditionally seen as masculine and feminine respectively, and 20 items measuring 'Social desirability' (Bem, 1974). A shorter version has been developed later, however, which has been suggested to be more favorable in the measurement of gender-typing (e.g., Bem, 1979, 1981b; Walkup & Abbott, 1978). For information and discussions regarding reliability and validity of the long and short versions of the BSRI, also see for example Blanchard-Fields, Suhrer-Roussel, and Hertzog (1994), Martin and Martin (1995) and Walkup and Abbott (1978).

In the present study the participants completed the original BSRI, but a shorter version was used for the categorization. To classify the participants into the fourfold typology, i.e., as gender-typed, cross-gender-typed, androgynous or undifferentiated, the exact Principal Component Model (PCM) operationalization was used (Yarnold, 1990, 1994).

To measure sport and exercise participation motivation, three different questionnaires were used. The three questionnaires comprise somewhat different factors, and it was desirable to incorporate several factors from all three of them in the further analyses. The three questionnaires used were: The Reasons For Exercise Inventory (Cash, Novy, & Novy, 1994); The Participation Motivation Questionnaire (Dwyer, 1992); and The Motivation for Physical Activities Measure (Frederick & Ryan, 1993) as described below.

(1) The Reasons For Exercise Inventory is a 25-item questionnaire in which participants were asked to rate the importance of each motive for their exercise on a seven-point scale. Originally, the questionnaire consisted of 24 items, which were divided into seven subscales (Silberstein et al., 1988), but was then developed into the 25-item questionnaire. Cronbach [Alpha] coefficients for these scales ranged from 0.67 to 0.81. In a study by Cash, Novy, and Grant (1994) using the 25-item version, a factor analysis was performed and resulted in only four factors, which were called fitness/health management, appearance/weight management, stress/mood management and socializing, Cronbach [Alpha] coefficients ranging from 0.73 to 0.91. Two of the 25 items did not load sufficiently or uniquely on any single factor. The 25-item version was used in the present study.

(2) The Participation Motivation Questionnaire, which is an inventory consisting of 30 items. The participant is requested to indicate the extent to which each reason is important for sport and exercise participation on a five-point scale. The scale was originally used with a three-point scale, and had an internal structure consisting of eight factors (Gill, Gross, & Huddleston, 1983). Later, it was developed to contain a five-point scale for the ratings (Dwyer, 1992). In the study by Dwyer (1992), a factor analysis resulted in a six-factor solution, with the factors being labeled team orientation, achievement/status, fitness, friendship, skill development, and fun/excitement/challenge, respectively, with Cronbach [Alpha] coefficients ranging from 0.63 to 0.91.

(3) The Motivation for Physical Activities Measure (MPAM) is a 23-item questionnaire in which participants are asked to indicate on a five-point scale the degree to which each motive is personally true for them. In a study in which this scale was subjected to a factor analysis resulted in a three-factor solution with a competence factor composed of seven items, a body-related factor composed of ten items and an interest/enjoyment factor composed of six items. Cronbach [Alpha] coefficients for the three factors were .91, .90, .91 (Frederick & Ryan, 1993).

In the present study, the participants rated importance on seven-point scales on all three questionnaires in order to facilitate rating by not using too many different types. Also, a new scale comprising items from all three scales could be developed more easily using the same scale type.

Calculations and Statistical Analyses

The participants, both men and women, were classified as sex-typed, cross-gender-typed, androgynous or undifferentiated, consequently resulting in eight different groups. This was done by calculating two scores for every participant; the androgyny and the gender-typing scores. If the androgyny score had the greatest absolute value, the individual was classified as androgynous if the score was more than 0 (zero), or as undifferentiated if otherwise. If the gender-typing score had the largest absolute value, men were classified as "gender-typed" if the score was less than 0, or as "cross-gender-typed" if otherwise. Women were categorized as "gender-typed" if the score was more than 0, or as "cross-gender-typed" otherwise (Yarnold, 1990).

In the sample of 410 participants, who were currently participating and/or had previously been participating in physical exercise, the three motivation inventory scales together, with a total of 78 items, were subjected to a principal component analysis, using an oblique rotation (based on the primary pattern matrix). The numbers of factors extracted was based on the requirement that a factor's eigenvalue be greater than 1, and also on the use of a Scree-Test and the Criterion of Substantive Importance. Item loadings of 0.40 or higher on a rotated factor was considered sufficient. Items were regarded as non-unique if loading at this level on more than one factor. The procedure of principal component analysis described above was repeated for men and women respectively, resulting in patterns similar to those of the total sample. The internal consistency of the nine subscales was examined using Cronbach's alpha. Mean ratings were then calculated for the variables on every factor obtained for each participant for further analyses. Further analyses included only participants who reported being physically active at the time of the study.

A one-way multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) was performed to test gender/BSRI-group differences on the mean ratings of the reasons given for exercising on the nine extracted factors (dependent variables) obtained using the principal components analysis, for the participants currently physically active (n = 272) excluding participants with prior but no current sport participation. Univariate ANOVAs were then used to detect significant differences revealed by the MANOVA. To control for Type-I errors when performing multiple ANOVAs, the Bonferroni method was used to determine the significance level alpha: [Alpha]/c = 0.006.

A one-way ANOVA, with the gender/BSRI-grouping as the independent variable with eight levels (groups), and time (min/week) spent on physical activities as the dependent variable, was performed in order to identify differences regarding actual participation. Pearson correlation coefficients also were calculated for the eight gender/BSRI-groups in order to detect possible correlations between scores on the nine extracted factors and the total amount of time spent participating in physical activities per week. In order to detect possible age differences between men and women and between the different BSRI groups, a two-way ANOVA was performed.


BSRI Categorization

The percentage of men in the total sample classified as gender-typed, cross-gender-typed, androgynous and undifferentiated were 30.8, 23.6, 22.1 and 23.6, respectively. The percentage of women classified likewise were, respectively, 37.1, 20.3, 27.2 and 15.3 (rounding-off errors might result in a total percentage slightly larger or less than 100). The numbers and percentages of physically active participants categorized into the groups using the BSRI, are given in Table I. The percentage of physically active men is somewhat higher than that of women, except for the undifferentiated men. The percentage of physically active women is the highest for the androgynous women, and lowest for the gender-typed and undifferentiated women, as shown in Table I.

As can be seen in Table 1, both age and Body Mass Index (BMI) were relatively uniform for all groups. The two-way ANOVA, with gender and BSRI-grouping as independent variables, did not detect any significant differences in age or BMI. The BMI of all groups of both men and women were within the normal ranges, which for Swedish populations of men and women are 20.0 - 25.0 kg/[m.sup.2] and 19.0 - 24.0 kg/[m.sup.2], respectively. A BMI [greater than or equal to] 30.1 kg/[m.sup.2] for men and a BMI [greater than or equal to] 29.1 kg/[m.sup.2] for women is regarded as obesity.

Principal Components Analysis of the Three Motivation Inventories Combined

The principal components analysis performed on the three motivation inventories with a total of 78 items in the sample of 410 participants resulted in sixteen factors with eigenvalues [greater than] 1.00 accounting for 71.9% of the variance. However, an examination of the factor structure, using a Scree-Test and the Criterion of Substantive Importance (the criterion of minimum contribution by a factor set at 2.0%), revealed 9 clearly distinct set of items with a total of 56 items (22 items did not load sufficiently on the emerged 9 factors, out of which 11 items did not load sufficiently on any factor). Moreover, it has been suggested that there should be at least three variables for each factor (Thurstone, 1947), this requirement being fulfilled only by the first nine factors and by factors 12 and 15. Two items were regarded as non-unique, loading ([greater than].40) on more than one factor (making them ambiguous) and were therefore excluded together with those which had low factor loadings. Hence, the number of items was reduced to 54.

The nine extracted factor based scales were labeled (1) Competition/Excitement, (2) Appearance, (3) Physical Health Improvement, (4) Fun/Enjoyment, (5) Socializing, (6) Mood and Stress coping, (7) Competence/Skill, (8). Weight Management, and (9) Muscle Improvement. The internal consistencies of the factors were calculated using Cronbach's alpha (Cronbach, 1951), and ranged between 0.93 and 0.98 for the nine extracted scales.
Table 1.

Number of Physically Active/Total Number of Participants in Each
BSRI Group. Also, Means and Standard Deviations (SD) for Men and
Women, for the BSRI Groups Regarding Age, and Body Mass-Index (BMI),
Including Only Those Physically Active at the Time of the Study.

 Age BMI(a)

Men n = 148/208 (71.2%)
Gender-typed n = 48/64 (75.0%) 24.7 (4.6) 23.5 (2.6)
Cross-gender-typed n = 37/49 (75.5%) 24.1 (3.1) 22.7 (2.3)
Androgynous n = 34/46 (73.9%) 25.1 (5.3) 23.0 (3.4)
Undifferentiated n = 29/49 (59.2%) 25.3 (4.5) 22.5 (2.1)
Women n = 124/202 (61.4%)
Gender-typed n = 43/75 (57.3%) 24.7 (6.0) 21.0 (2.0)
Cross-gender-typed n = 26/41 (63.4%) 25.7 (5.1) 21.3 (2.8)
Androgynous n = 37/55 (67.3%) 25.2 (6.8) 22.0 (2.6)
Undifferentiated n = 18/31 (58.1%) 24.8 (5.4) 21.2 (2.0)
Total n = 272/410 (66.3%)

Note: a: BM-index = weight in kilogram/[length.sup.2] in meters

Gender and Motivation for Sport and Exercise Participation

Table 3 shows the mean scores on the nine extracted scales for men and women who were physically active at the time of the study, also with regard to the BSRI group. The one-way MANOVA, including only those currently participating in physical exercise (n = 272), indicated that there was an effect of gender/BSRI grouping, Pillai-Bartlett trace = .59, F(63,1834) = 2.69, p [less than] .001.

Follow-up univariate one-way ANOVAs, conducted for each scale in order to target differences detected by the MANOVA, revealed several significant effects using the Bonferroni method of controlling the error rate [Alpha]/9 = 0.006 (effects not accounted for were not significant).

Significant differences were revealed for scale 1 (Competition/Excitement), F(7,264) = 8.55, p [less than] .001; post hoc tests (Tukey) showed that androgynous men scored higher than gender-typed, androgynous and undifferentiated women, and also higher than cross-gender-typed and undifferentiated men. Also, gender-typed men scored significantly higher than all [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 2 OMITTED] other groups except androgynous men. The highest scores were found in the group of gender-typed men and the lowest scores were found in the group of gender-typed women.

For scale 2 (Appearance), there was an effect of gender/BSRI grouping, F(7,264) = 4.50, p [less than] .001), and post hoc tests (Tukey) revealed that cross-gender-typed men scored lower than gender-typed women, and that undifferentiated men scored lower than all other groups except cross-gender-typed men and undifferentiated women. Gender-typed women had the highest scores and undifferentiated men the lowest.

A significant difference between the groups was found for scale 3 (Physical Health Improvement), F(7,264) = 3.57, p [less than] .002). Post hoc tests (Tukey) indicated that undifferentiated men scored significantly lower than gender-typed men and women and lower than androgynous women. The highest and lowest-scoring groups were androgynous women and undifferentiated men, respectively.

Scales 4 and 5 showed no significant differences between the gender/BSRI groups. However, scores on scales 6, F(7,204) = 3.88, p [less than] .001) and 7, F(7,264) = 3.79, p [less than] .002), differed significantly between the groups. Post hoc tests (Tukey) showed that on scale 6 (Mood and Stress Coping), androgynous women scored higher than all four groups of men and that undifferentiated men also scored significantly lower than gender-typed women. On scale 7 (Competence/Skill), the post hoc tests revealed that gender-typed men scored higher than cross-gender-typed and undifferentiated men, and androgynous men scored higher than undifferentiated men.

The groups also scored differently on scale 8, F(7,264) = 6.38, p [less than] .001), and on scale 9, F(7,264) = 3.23, p [less than] .003). On scale 8 (Weight Management), gender-typed, cross-gender-typed [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 3 OMITTED] and androgynous women scored higher than gender-typed, cross-gender-typed and undifferentiated men. On scale 9 (Muscle Improvement), undifferentiated men scored lower than cross-gender-typed and androgynous women, and also lower than gender-typed and androgynous men.

Gender, Motives for Participating, and Actual Participation Time

The average time spent participating in physical activities for men and women, and for the eight gender/BSRI groups, is shown in Table 4. A one-way ANOVA displayed differences between gender/BSRI groups regarding active time per week, F(7,264) = 4.51, p [less than] .0001), gender-typed, androgynous and undifferentiated women and undifferentiated and cross-gender-typed men (ps[less than].05) spending significantly less time than gender-typed men. Pearson's coefficients of correlation were calculated between the mean ratings on each of the nine scales and the mean amount of time participating in physical activities each week. Table 4 shows the calculated correlations for the eight gender/BSRI groups separately and, as can be seen, the nine factors correlate differently for the eight gender/BSRI groups.


Principal Components Analysis of the Three Motivation Inventories Combined

The nine factor based scales obtained using the principal component analysis were labeled (1) Competition/Challenge, consisting of items like "I like to compete;" (2) Appearance, with items like "I want to be attractive to others;" (3) Physical Health Improvement, with items like "To improve my overall health;" (4) Fun/Enjoyment, with items like "To have fun;" (5) Socializing, consisting of items such as "To socialize with friends;" (6) Mood and Stress Coping, containing items like "To cope with stress, anxiety;" (7) Weight Management, including items such as "To be slim;" (8) Competence/Skill, with items such as "I want to improve existing skills;" and (9) Muscle Improvement, with items like "To improve my strength."

The factor structures obtained in the present study were based on the total sample. The principal components analysis performed based on men and women separately, resulted in patterns similar to those for the total sample, which is in line with an earlier study by Markland and Hardy (1993), where an inspection of factor structures for men and women separately did not show any large discrepancies between genders.

Gender, Motives for Sport and Exercise Participation and Actual Participation Time

In general, regardless of gender or BSRI group, physical health and fun and enjoyment were rated as the most important reasons for sport participation. Socializing was rated by many [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 4 OMITTED] of the participants as one of the least important motives for participation in sports. These findings are consistent with earlier results (see Dwyer, 1992; Flood & Hellstedt, 1991; Gill, Gross, & Huddleston, 1983; Gill & Overdorf, 1994; Raugh & Wall, 1987).

An examination of the influence of gender typing (as measured by the BSRI) on the reasons given for participation in sports showed several interesting results. Some were expected, for example the gender differences regarding scales (a) Competition/Excitement and (b) Appearance, where men rated competition as a more important motive for participation than the women, whereas women rated appearance as more important than the men did. These results have been found elsewhere as well (see Biddle & Bailey, 1985; Flood & Hellstedt, 1991; Frederick & Ryan, 1993; Gill, 1988; Gill et al., 1996; Johnsgard, 1985; Markland & Hardy, 1993).

Competitiveness, traditionally regarded as a"masculine" trait (e.g., Bem, 974, 1981a), as a motive for sport participation, is correlated with higher scoring on the BSRI instrumentality scale, especially for gender-typed men, in the present study. Among women, androgynous and cross-gender-typed participants rated competition higher than the gender-typed and the undifferentiated participants, although not as high as the gender-typed and the androgynous men. Cross-gender-typed and undifferentiated men had ratings more similar to the ratings of women, regarding factor i, which was also expected since these men have rated themselves as having fewer traits traditionally regarded as masculine. This difference between men and women could also explain why men have been found to report more competitive sport activity and more experience with competitive sports than women (e.g., Gill, 1988).

Furthermore, the correlations between ratings on the Competition/Excitement scale and actual participation time are the strongest for gender-typed and androgynous men and for cross-gender-typed and androgynous women. It seems that the competitive motives for participation are not only rated as being more important by the above-mentioned group than by the other groups, but the ratings of the importance also are significant with regard to the amount of time devoted to physical exercise.

Appearance-related motives for sport and exercise participation were rated as being more important by women than by men, and these results are well in line with some earlier findings (e.g., Frederick & Ryan, 1993), but not with others (Markland & Hardy, 1993). However, a closer examination of the differences between the BSRI groups reveals that the results are not quite as expected. The findings anticipated were that the gender-typed women would rate appearance as a more important motive for participation, than others. The gender-typed women did have the highest mean rating on the Appearance scale, but this was only significantly higher than cross-gender-typed and undifferentiated men. One possible explanation of this unexpected result could be that individuals high in gender-typing have been found to endorse socially desirable traits and behaviors to a larger extent than non-gender-typed individuals (Bem, 1974, 1981a). This also could he true regarding sport participation and reasons explicitly given for participation. Perhaps some individuals feel that it is more socially acceptable to participate for physical health reasons than for mere appearance motives.

Furthermore, the correlation coefficients for the Appearance scale and time spent participating in sports revealed only one significant, rather low, positive correlation for the androgynous women. It seems that the given motives relating to appearance did not have an extensive influence on how much time was spent participating. It might, however, have an influence on what particular activity is chosen, but this has not been analyzed in the present study.

The Fun/Enjoyment scale showed no significant differences between the BSRI groups; all groups rated fun and enjoyment as the most, or second most, important motive for participating in physical exercise. Enjoyment of sport participation has been found earlier on to have considerable effects on adherence (Wankel, 1993), and on examining the correlations between ratings on the Fun/Enjoyment scale and participation time, the correlation coefficients were found to be significant for most groups. Only the motivation ratings of men rating high on the BSRI instrumentality scale, i.e. gender-typed and androgynous men, did not correlate significantly with participation time.

For the scale labeled Socializing, there were some differences between men and women, men giving higher ratings. These results are not consistent with earlier findings suggesting that with regard to participation in physical exercise, socializing factors are more important to women (e.g., Biddle & Bailey, 1985; Flood & Hellstedt, 1991). This might be explained by the fact that the men in the present sample were involved to a larger extent than women in team sports, such as soccer. Women, on the other hand, were involved in individual sports (running, for example) to a higher degree. This also could be connected with the ratings of the second factor concerning appearance. The individual sports that women often take part in, such as running and aerobics, are regarded as fitness activities, for which the motives for participation are often related to physical health, appearance, and muscle improvement (Frederick & Ryan, 1993).

Differences were found among the physically active participants regarding mood enhancement and stress coping/reduction. Women, and especially androgynous women, scored higher than men. These findings are consistent with those of Biddle and Bailey (1985), who found that women were more prone to rate release of tension as an important motive for exercising, which could be regarded as comparable to stress reducement and mood enhancement.

On examining the scores on the Competence/Skill Development scale, the ratings of men and women were found to be very similar, which is in line with earlier findings. For example, contrary to their expectations, Frederick and Ryan (1993) did not find any gender differences for competence motives, but did so for type of activity; participants in such sports as golf, fencing and tennis scored higher than those in other sports. However, in the present study, gender-typed men scored higher than other groups on this factor which might be explained by their choice of activity. Differences in what activities members of the eight gender/BSRI-groups do participate in have not been studied however.

Ratings of importance on scale 8 (Weight Management) clearly differed between men and women, women scoring higher than men. These results have been reported before in many studies (e.g., Markland & Hardy, 1993; Silberstein, Striegel-Moore, Timko, & Rodin, 1988). However, in order to buffer its effects on self-esteem, weight dissatisfaction has come to be regarded by many women as being of a normative nature (Silberstein, Striegel-Moore, Timko, & Rodin, 1988). This could be an explanation for why the gender-typed women do not report weight management to be significantly more important for sport and exercise participation than other women, as could be expected.


The possible modifying effect of gender typing, as measured by the BSRI, on motivations for exercise and actual participation has been examined. In the present study, gender and gender-based information processing has been shown to be correlated with both motives for participating in, and the time spent on, physical activities. The study of motives is of interest to understand exercise behavior, as it has been shown that the reasons for participating or not influence exercise adherence. However, as Table 4 indicates, not only do motives differ between individuals, but also the degree to which they are related to actual participation.

The findings of the present study suggest that gender and gender-based processing correlate with the reasons given for participation in sports, some of which have been demonstrated in the present study, as well as earlier ones, to correlate with both frequency and the amount of time spent participating. It is therefore of interest to include these variables when generating and elaborating theoretical models to explain sport behavior.

Hence, according to the findings of the present study, there are some differences regarding the motives given for participation, reported participation time and correlations between ratings of the importance of motives and participation time, due to differences in gender typing. Boys and girls are socialized unequally from birth into categories of physical activity, which results in men and women having different experiences with sports (e.g., Frish, 1977; Greendorfer, 1993; Ignicio & Mead, 1990; Koivula, 1995; Matteo, 1986). Men and women have different motives for participation and therefore often partake in different types of physical activities. The whole process of differential socialization and experience with sport can be interpreted as a part of the social construction of female-male relations which works to maintain, strengthen and naturalize gender differences.


1 Although many different definitions for the term sport have been suggested and used, and some cultures and languages use distinct terms for different types of physical activity, the position statement of the European Federation of Sport Psychology (FEPSAC) uses the term sport "as an umbrella term that includes all kinds of exercise, sport, and physically active pursuits" (p. 221, The Sport Psychologist, 1996). In the present article, the term sport is used accordingly to the position statement made by FEPSAC. Further, in the Swedish language there are words equivalent to the terms sport and exercise, but the word "idrott" referring to all kinds of exercise and sport, is more commonly used and was also the term used in the present study.


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Author:Koivula, Nathalie
Publication:Journal of Sport Behavior
Date:Sep 1, 1999
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