M. Mann

Texas Woman's University (UNITED STATES)
Data was collected with a USA Paralympic Team in the Summer of 2015. All members of the team (23) were invited to voluntarily participate in the study. Results were collected prior to a practice with paper and pencil results collected and then tabulated. The data from the NCAA Division I Team was collected in a previous study (Bean, 2014) and used for the purpose of comparison in this study.

An independent-samples t-test was conducted to compare motivation scores for USA Paralympic Athletes and NCAA Division 1 Athletes on Six Key Types of Motivation as defined by the Self-Determination Theory of Motivation. The data was collected using the 7-point likert scale of the Sport Motivation Scale-II (SMS-II). The athletes motivation types are categorized as either having a positive or negative impact on long term motivation. In a positive light, higher scores on the Intrinsic, Integrated, and identified Motivation Scales are seen as positively effecting athlete motivation. In a negative light, Higher scores on the Introjected, External, and Amotivation types are seen as negatively effecting athlete motivation. In this particular study, there was a significant difference on the scores for the USA Paralympic Athletes (M=6.03, SD=1.24) and the NCAA Division I Athletes (M=5.3, SD=1.39) on the Intrinsic Motivation Scores from the Sport Motivation Scale- II; t (132)=2.47, p = 0.015. Also significant were the differences in scores on the External Motivation, and Amotivation Scales. Because these types of motivation are not productive or conducive to continued participation and improvement. The scores on these measures is better when lower. The results of the External Motivation Scale for the USA Paralympic Athletes (M=1.75, SD=1.01) and the NCAA Division I Athletes (M=3.20, SD=1.46) on the External Motivation Scores from the Sport Motivation Scale- II were; t (131)=-5.72, p = 0.0000001. The results for the Amotivation scale for the USA Paralympic Athletes (M=1.39, SD=0.90) and the NCAA Division I Athletes (M=2.3, SD=1.39) on the External Motivation Scores from the Sport Motivation Scale- II were; t (134)=-3.98, p = 0.0001.

These results of the study suggest that Paralympic Athletes have a higher motivational level than typical University NCAA Division 1 Athletes, and that, given the ideal motivational climate, the paralympic athletes will be relatively autonomous in their pursuit of their athletic goals. Specifically, our results suggest that USA Paralympians are highly motivated to perform and participate in competitive athletics at a motivational level that is significant in terms of both positive motivation (Intrinsic Motivation) and a minimization of negative motivation (External Motivation and Amotivation) when contrasted with the motivational levels of typical NCAA D1 Athletes. Although a comprehensive literature review shows that amotivation can be detrimental to disabled athletes' long term participation in competitive sport, this study demonstrates that high levels of motivation are present among USA Paralympians, and are, thus, quite possible for other populations in disability sport as well.