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Does Involement In Sports Begt Better Character Development?

795 words - 3 pages

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 inadequacies (e.g., misjudgments and attributing blame), physiological changes, and behavioral tendencies. There are is a multitude of external events (e.g., threatening language from another aggressor or poor officiating) and internal events (e.g., negative description of self, related to poor performance and memories of past defeat) that will elicit an anger response. Anger often begets aggressive acts, but is not necessarily a must. High levels of anger and aggressiveness are associated with an increased tendency for aggressive behavior in nonathletes (Farrington, 1978) and athletes (Maxwell and Moores, 2007; Visek et al., 2009). Athletic identity is also acknowledged to be as an indicator of aggression levels. Brewer et al (1993) defines athletic identity as ‘‘the degree to which an individual identifies with the athlete role’’ (p 237). The Athletic Identity Maintenance Model (Visek et al., 2009) states that people who are...

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