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Aggression, Sports, and the Moral Development of Italian Adolescents Franco Zengaro Middle Tennessee State University Sally Zengaro University of Alabama.

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Presentation on theme: "Aggression, Sports, and the Moral Development of Italian Adolescents Franco Zengaro Middle Tennessee State University Sally Zengaro University of Alabama."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aggression, Sports, and the Moral Development of Italian Adolescents Franco Zengaro Middle Tennessee State University Sally Zengaro University of Alabama Marcello Malfi ICT, Castrolibero, Italy

2 Fan Violence—Catania-Palermo

3 Team Violence—Inter

4 World Cup: Argentina-Germany

5 Banned Substances

6 Rugby

7 Rioting after Univ. of MN Hockey game

8 Research Problem Cox (2002) wrote that part of the problem surrounding sports and moral behavior is that many sports, particularly high contact sports, often seem to encourage aggressive behavior that would normally be unacceptable outside of the sports context. Cox (2002) wrote that part of the problem surrounding sports and moral behavior is that many sports, particularly high contact sports, often seem to encourage aggressive behavior that would normally be unacceptable outside of the sports context.

9 Bracketed Morality Sports legitimize acts of aggression that would normally be considered against one’s moral standards. Sports legitimize acts of aggression that would normally be considered against one’s moral standards. In order to participate in sports competitions, athletes must suspend the level of morality that they would normally use in every day life (Bredemeier, 1994; Cox, 2002). In order to participate in sports competitions, athletes must suspend the level of morality that they would normally use in every day life (Bredemeier, 1994; Cox, 2002).

10 Question How does aggression in sports influence the moral development of youth? How does aggression in sports influence the moral development of youth?

11 Purpose of the Study The purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship between sports participation and the moral development of Italian adolescents. The purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship between sports participation and the moral development of Italian adolescents.

12 Literature Bredemeier (1983, 1985) has linked aggressive tendencies in sport participants to lower levels of moral reasoning. Bredemeier (1983, 1985) has linked aggressive tendencies in sport participants to lower levels of moral reasoning. Bredemeier (1994) found that children who had higher levels of moral reasoning showed lower levels of aggression in response to conflict. Bredemeier (1994) found that children who had higher levels of moral reasoning showed lower levels of aggression in response to conflict.

13 Literature Telama & Liukkonen (1999) found that boys who played organized sports were more prone to aggression than boys who didn’t. Telama & Liukkonen (1999) found that boys who played organized sports were more prone to aggression than boys who didn’t. Segrave, Hastad, and colleagues have found a negative relationship between sports participation and acts of delinquency. Segrave, Hastad, and colleagues have found a negative relationship between sports participation and acts of delinquency.

14 Sports and Ethical Conduct Silva (1983) Females—those who hadn’t played sports and those who had played more than 11 years approved of more fouls. Males—those who had participated in sports in high school or college approved of more fouls than those who hadn’t played sports or who played in only youth sports. Kavussanu and Roberts (2001) A relationship between ego orientation and moral judgments about of fouls and cheating in sport. Ommundsen, Roberts, Lemyre, and Treasure (2003) A performance orientation was associated with lower levels of moral functioning, lower sportspersonship, and a higher rate of approval of inappropriate sports behavior. Kavussanu and Ntoumanis (2003) An ego orientation mediated the relationship between sports participation and moral functioning.

15 Romand, Pantaleon, and Cabagno (2009) While moral reasoning increased with age, soccer players also became more approving of inappropriate behavior. Proios and Doganis (2006) Moral reasoning increased steadily across age groups. Education plays a significant role in moral reasoning development. Long, Pantaleon, and Bruant (2008) Organized sports players felt a greater responsibility toward their team and obedience to their coach. Self-organized players expressed a moral responsibility for each others’ safety and the need for a mature attitude.

16 Theoretical Framework Kohlberg’s stages of moral development: Kohlberg’s stages of moral development: Pre-Conventional, Conventional, Post- Conventional thinking Cognitive-Developmental Framework: Cognitive-Developmental Framework: Maturity is dependent on physiological, cognitive and affective development. Maturity is dependent on physiological, cognitive and affective development. Moral Disengagement, based on social cognitive theory, as motivation for moral decisions. People who behave inhumanely have found a way to disengage their morals. Moral Disengagement, based on social cognitive theory, as motivation for moral decisions. People who behave inhumanely have found a way to disengage their morals.

17 Research Questions 1) Do younger adolescents report a difference in the acceptance of cheating or of sportspersonship than older adolescents? 1) Do younger adolescents report a difference in the acceptance of cheating or of sportspersonship than older adolescents? 2) Is there a difference in the way older vs. younger participants report an ability to keep winning in proportion? 2) Is there a difference in the way older vs. younger participants report an ability to keep winning in proportion? 3) Does an acceptance of cheating or sportspersonship or keeping winning in proportion have a relationship to prosocial behavior? 3) Does an acceptance of cheating or sportspersonship or keeping winning in proportion have a relationship to prosocial behavior? 4) Does an acceptance of cheating or sportspersonship or keeping winning in proportion have a relationship to moral disengagement? 4) Does an acceptance of cheating or sportspersonship or keeping winning in proportion have a relationship to moral disengagement?

18 Definitions Aggression—cheating, sportspersonship, and the inability to keep winning in proportion. Aggression—cheating, sportspersonship, and the inability to keep winning in proportion. Sportspersonship—actions that aren’t against the rules but violate the spirit of fair play Sportspersonship—actions that aren’t against the rules but violate the spirit of fair play Keeping winning in proportion—winning at all costs vs. accepting winning and losing as a part of life. Keeping winning in proportion—winning at all costs vs. accepting winning and losing as a part of life.

19 Method Participants: 314 adolescents ages attending high school in southern Italy. 117 females and 197 males. Participants: 314 adolescents ages attending high school in southern Italy. 117 females and 197 males.

20 Participants Ages-n Years Playing-n

21 Data Collection The participants completed demographic data, the Attitudes about Moral Decision- making in Youth Sport Questionnaire (AMDYSQ), a Questionnaire on Prosocial Behavior, and a Questionnaire on Moral Disengagement. The participants completed demographic data, the Attitudes about Moral Decision- making in Youth Sport Questionnaire (AMDYSQ), a Questionnaire on Prosocial Behavior, and a Questionnaire on Moral Disengagement.

22 Data Analysis 2 (gender) x 4 (age) x 5 (participation) MANOVA and Pearson correlation 2 (gender) x 4 (age) x 5 (participation) MANOVA and Pearson correlation

23 Results Significant positive correlations were found between moral disengagement and the acceptance of cheating (r=.395, p=.01) Significant positive correlations were found between moral disengagement and the acceptance of cheating (r=.395, p=.01) Moral disengagement and the acceptance of sportspersonship (r=.351, p=.01) Moral disengagement and the acceptance of sportspersonship (r=.351, p=.01) Prosocial behavior and keeping winning in proportion (r=.276, p=.01) Prosocial behavior and keeping winning in proportion (r=.276, p=.01) Cheating and sportspersonship (r=.481, p=.01) Cheating and sportspersonship (r=.481, p=.01)

24 Significant Negative Correlations Prosocial behavior and cheating (r=-.137, p=.05) Prosocial behavior and cheating (r=-.137, p=.05) Prosocial behavior and sportspersonship (r=-.193, p=.01) Prosocial behavior and sportspersonship (r=-.193, p=.01) Age and sportspersonship (r=-.121, p=.05) Age and sportspersonship (r=-.121, p=.05) Moral disengagement and keeping winning in proportion (r=-.15, p=.01) Moral disengagement and keeping winning in proportion (r=-.15, p=.01) Cheating and keeping winning in proportion (r=-.262, p=.01) Cheating and keeping winning in proportion (r=-.262, p=.01)

25 MANOVA Significant interaction with all 3 independent variables, F (60, ) = 1.578, p =.004 Significant interaction with all 3 independent variables, F (60, ) = 1.578, p =.004 Cheating, F (39)=1.879, p=.002 Cheating, F (39)=1.879, p=.002 Sportspersonship, F (39) = 1.721, p =.007) Sportspersonship, F (39) = 1.721, p =.007) Age x sportspersonship, F (3)=3.128, p=.026 Age x sportspersonship, F (3)=3.128, p=.026 Years playing x gender x sportspersonship, F (4) = 2.556, p =.039 Years playing x gender x sportspersonship, F (4) = 2.556, p =.039

26 Research Question 1 Overall, younger adolescents were less accepting of cheating than older adolescents. Younger females are less accepting of sportspersonship than older females. Overall, younger adolescents were less accepting of cheating than older adolescents. Younger females are less accepting of sportspersonship than older females.

27 Graph 1—Acceptance of Cheating

28 Graph 2—Acceptance of Rule- Bending

29 Acceptance of Sportspersonship by gender and years playing sports

30 It appears that playing sports moderates the relationship between age and gender and acceptance of sportspersonship. Age and gender alone do not have a significant relationship with sportspersonship. It appears that playing sports moderates the relationship between age and gender and acceptance of sportspersonship. Age and gender alone do not have a significant relationship with sportspersonship.

31 Research Question 2 There was no significant difference in keeping winning in proportion across age groups. There was no significant difference in keeping winning in proportion across age groups.

32 Graph 3—Keeping Winning in Proportion

33 Research Question 3 Negative and significant correlation between cheating and prosocial behavior. Negative and significant correlation between cheating and prosocial behavior. Negative and significant correlation between sportspersonship and prosocial behavior. Negative and significant correlation between sportspersonship and prosocial behavior. There was a positive and significant relationship between keeping winning in proportion and prosocial behavior. There was a positive and significant relationship between keeping winning in proportion and prosocial behavior.

34 Graph 4—Prosocial Behavior

35 Research Question 4 There was a positive and significant relationship between cheating and moral disengagement. There was a positive and significant relationship between cheating and moral disengagement. There was a positive and significant relationship between sportspersonship and moral disengagement. There was a positive and significant relationship between sportspersonship and moral disengagement. There was a negative and significant relationship between moral disengagement and keeping winning in proportion. There was a negative and significant relationship between moral disengagement and keeping winning in proportion.

36 Graph 5—Moral Disengagement

37 Discussion From the interaction of age, gender, and sports participation, we can see there is a complex relationship between moral development and sports. From the interaction of age, gender, and sports participation, we can see there is a complex relationship between moral development and sports. While past research has found that older adolescents score higher on moral disengagement, this study did not. While past research has found that older adolescents score higher on moral disengagement, this study did not. Past research has also found that prosocial scores were higher in females than males, but this study did not. Past research has also found that prosocial scores were higher in females than males, but this study did not.

38 Males who play sports seem to be less accepting of cheating and rule-bending the older they are and the more they play sports. Males who play sports seem to be less accepting of cheating and rule-bending the older they are and the more they play sports. Females who are older and those who don’t play sports seem to be the most accepting of rule-breaking and rule- bending as well as females who play the most sports. Females who are older and those who don’t play sports seem to be the most accepting of rule-breaking and rule- bending as well as females who play the most sports year-olds are the most accepting of aggression year-olds are the most accepting of aggression.

39 Questions for Discussion What is different between males’ and females’ experiences with sports? What is different between males’ and females’ experiences with sports? Are female adolescents coached differently than males? Are female adolescents coached differently than males? What is the qualitative difference in playing some sports and playing many years of sports? What is the qualitative difference in playing some sports and playing many years of sports?

40 Future Directions for Research Examining the role of identity formation in adolescents—How does identity influence sports participation? How does identity influence adolescents’ views of the world for those who don’t play sports, especially for females? Examining the role of identity formation in adolescents—How does identity influence sports participation? How does identity influence adolescents’ views of the world for those who don’t play sports, especially for females? When girls do not develop an adequate sense of identity, they become more cynical towards life, themselves and others, and they put a greater emphasis on pleasing others rather than themselves (Hamacheck, 1988). When girls do not develop an adequate sense of identity, they become more cynical towards life, themselves and others, and they put a greater emphasis on pleasing others rather than themselves (Hamacheck, 1988).


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