Sport identity and motivation for sport participation: a comparison between Austria, the Czech Republic, and the USA (FWF-project)


This project (funded by the Austrian Science Fund) is an inter-cultural study, comparing identity and motivation of top athletes in Austria, the Czech Republic and the USA.

Our hypotheses are drawn from symbolic interactionist theory, and we define sport motivation as the reasons that people give for participating in sport. The results indicate that sport is an excellent platform for satisfying the human need for identity reinforcement or social recognition, and that the opportunities to confirm one’s identity in sport are differently developed in different cultures, societies, and even in different types of sport. Motivation for sport participation is likely to be influenced by the values of the sport organisation as well as the sport and gender identities of the participant.