Participation Motivation of High School Cross Country Runners


Adam O'Hara

Date of Graduation

Summer 2004


Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education in Physical Education



Committee Chair

Gerald Masterson


The primary purpose of this project is to produce a sport-specific study of Missouri high school students' participation motivation in distance running/cross-country, and to determine if gender and/or experience differences exist. This study utilized descriptive data collected through an adapted version of a 30-item survey known as the Participation Motivation Questionnaire (PMQ). Fifty-seven male and forty-one female (N=98) high school distance runners from 10 schools in Missouri participated. Descriptive statistics, factor analysis, and partial correlation statistical techniques were used to analyze the results of the surveys. Factor analysis resulted in the extraction of six factors, labeled: Competition, Fitness, External, Social, Catharsis, and General. Four motives did not load heavily on any factors. Subscale scores, ranging from 1 (not important) to 10 (very important), for the six factors which developed as a result of the factor analysis were found. "I like to have fun" (8.94), the Fitness factor (8.85), "I like the coaches" (8.74), and the Competition factor (8.03) were the motives and factors rated most important for participation in cross country. Partial-correlation tests were used to determine if any significant gender or experience-related differences existed on the factors or motives One significant correlation was found--gender had a significant, positive correlation with the Fitness factor (p<.01). Females tended to rate the Fitness factor as a more important motive than males. Coaches desiring to improve athletes' motivation and keep more athletes involved in cross-country over time should structure their programs to fulfill those motives found as most important while considering the motivation differences that seem to exist between genders.


participation motivation, cross-country, distance running, youth, sport

Subject Categories

Health and Physical Education


© Adam O'Hara