Does Involement in Sports Begt Better Character Development?

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Acts of violence, drug use, promiscuous or aggressive sexual attitudes, and cheating are some common issues on college campuses today. These behaviors things can happen amongwithin athletes and non-athletes alike. HoweverYet, most people perceive sports as being pure, and are regarded as highly instrumental in developing an enhanced morality, a propensity to follow rules and regulations, and a general respect for others, all of which in turn makes them good citizens in everyday life. Conversely, sports psychologists suggest that involvement in sports does not necessarily beget better character development. (Weiss & Smith, 2002) Sports involvement usually requires more aggressive acts that are not normally tolerated in everyday human interactions. Aggression has been defined by Bushman and Anderson (2001) as ‘‘any behavior directed toward another individual that is carried out with the proximate (immediate) intent to cause harm. In addition, the perpetrator must believe that the behavior will harm the target and that the target is motivated to avoid the behavior.’’ (p.274) ThusSo, acts in sports that are instrumental toin the success of that individual or team and acts that are against the rules can both be described as aggressive. For example, tackling below the neck in football is a sanctioned, rule-abiding act of aggression, whereas tripping a base runner in baseball is considered cheating and against the rules. Elevated levels of anger and aggressiveness have been suggested to be acknowledged as important precursors of aggressive behavior. Kassinove and Sukhodolsky (1995) and Novaco (2000) have described anger as a negative emotion associated with specific cognitive and perceptual misrepresentations and inadequaci... ... middle of paper ... .... My hypotheses generally follow the results of the previous research. My first hypothesis is that athletes will generally score higher on the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & Perry, 1992) than non-athletes, meaning that athletes are more aggressive than non-athletes. I further hypothesize that people in the contact sports will have a higher propensity for aggression than non-contact sports because they are taught that expelling aggression physically and inflicting damage to others is beneficial. As for morals, it seems that the general view of a student-athlete is that they are people of good character. I hypothesize that there is no significant difference between athletes and non-athletes. And when it comes to sexual opinion, I hypothesize that athletes will be less tolerant of homosexuality and more liberal in their heterosexual opinions than non-athletes.

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