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Participants in four different adult sport and exercise programs (running club, exercise classes, cardiac rehabilitation program, senior games) completed measures of competitive orientation and participation motivation. Our samples were older and more diverse than samples of previous research, and their competitive orientations and motives were similarly diverse. Multivariate analyses revealed gender and sample differences. Males were higher than females on competitiveness and win orientation, and runners were less win-oriented than other groups, but overall, all groups were similar to previous college-age samples in competitive orientation. Groups varied on specific motives, with females rating fitness, flexibility, affiliation, and appearance higher than males did. Generally, participants were diverse in orientations and motives, and positive about their participation. Research and conceptual models of sport orientation must extend beyond achievement motives to capture the diversity of adult participants. Program directors and instructors who offer activities and approaches to match this diversity will encourage wider participation and provide a more satisfying experience for more participants.


Exercise Science | Health Psychology | Sports Sciences | Sports Studies


This is a reconstructed and formatted version of an article originally published in Journal of Sport Behavior, 19(4), 1996, 307-318. Paging renumbered for this copy. Copyright © 1996 Journal of Sport Behavior, University of South Alabama. Archived by permission.