PSYCH  Vol.2 No.2 , April 2011
Gender Differences in the Relationship between Competitiveness and Adjustment among Athletically Identified College Students
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.

Cite this paper
nullCarter, 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.
[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.