Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Master's Thesis Award - Second Place.

To go to the Graduate Student Award Recipients collection page, click here.


Open Access Thesis


Gymnastics for girls; Participation; Parents--Attitudes;


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between parents' and gymnasts' perceptions on sport commitment constructs. The sport commitment model developed by Scanlan et al. (1993) provides a theoretical framework in which to explain why athletes participate. Two constructs in the sport commitment model, social constraints and support, represent the social influence factors which can be perceived as supportive or pressuring and may come from a variety of sources such as: parents, coaches, teachers, and peers. Parents tend to play an important role in their child's sport experiences (M.R. Weiss & Ferrer-Caja, 2002), and may influence an athletes' level of sport commitment. The majority of research exploring social influence and sport commitment has examined the athletes' perceptions of social influence ( e.g., Carpenter & Coleman, 1998; W. M. Weiss & Weiss, 2007), with no studies examining both parent and athletes' perceptions of sport commitment model constructs.

A total of 283 female gymnasts and their parents participated in this study. Results indicated weak to moderately weak relationships between parents' and gymnasts' perceptions of sport commitment constructs. Multiple regression analyses revealed that parent perceptions of social constraints and benefits were significant predictors of the gymnasts' level of sport commitment. Parent perceptions of different types of social support did not predict gymnasts' level of sport commitment. Competitive level differences were also explored, with parents of gymnasts competing in levels 8 - 10 perceiving higher costs compared to parents of gymnasts competing in levels 4 - 5 and 6 - 7. Parents of gymnasts competing in higher levels ( 6 - 7 & 8 - I 0) perceived higher utility value than did parents of gymnasts competing in lower levels ( 4 - 5), and parents of gymnasts in lower levels perceived higher parent intimacy and companionship compared to parents of higher level gymnasts. Future research should continue to explore the influence of parental perceptions on athletes' commitment in sport.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

2009 Award

Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Windee M. Weiss, Chair, Thesis Committee


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit an email request to scholarworks@uni.edu. Include your name and clearly identify the thesis by full title and author as shown on the work.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 118 pages)



File Format