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Sport Psychological Constructs Related To Participation in the 2009 World Masters Games

Authors: Ian Heazlewood, Joe Walsh, Mike Climstein, Stephen Burke, Kent Adams, Mark DeBeliso


Whilst there is growing evidence that activity across the lifespan is beneficial for improved health, there are also many changes involved with the aging process and subsequently the potential for reduced indices of health. The nexus between all forms of health, physical activity and aging is complex and has raised much interest in recent times due to the realization that a multifaceted approached is necessary in order to counteract a growing obesity epidemic. By investigating age based trends within a population adherring to competitive sport at older ages, further insight might be gleaned to assist in understanding one of many factors influencing this relationship. This study evaluated those sport psychological constructs of health, physical fitness, mental health states, and social dimension factors in sport that were associated with factors to participate in sport and physical activity based on responses from the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney. The sample consisted of 7846 athletes who competed at the games and who completed a 56 item sports participation survey using a 7-point Likert response (1 - not important to 7 - very important). Questions focuses on factors thought to promote participation, such as weight control, living longer, improving mental health (self-esteem, mood states), improving physical health and factors related to the athlete-s competitive perspective. The most significant factors related to participation with this cohort of masters athletes were the socializing environment of sport, getting physically fit and improving competitive personal best performances. Strategies to increase participation in masters sport should focus on these factors as other factors such as weight loss, improving mental health and living longer were not identified as important determinates of sports participation at the World Masters level.

Keywords: masters sport, promoting participation, sport psychology.

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