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J Sport Behav. 2009;32(1):69-91.

Sport-Related Identities and the "Toxic Jock"

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University at Buffalo.


Little attention has been paid to the multidimensional nature of athletic involvement, which includes identity formation as well as participation in sports activities. Five hundred eighty-one sport-involved undergraduate students completed a questionnaire assessing their sport-related identities, goal orientations, primary sport ratings, and conformity to masculine norms. F-tested mean comparisons and hierarchical linear regressions were used to explore the characteristics associated with two distinct sport-related identities ("athletes" and "jocks"). Jock identity was associated with an ego-oriented approach to sports (men only), whereas athlete identity was associated with a task-oriented approach (both genders). Jock identity was positively associated with conformity to masculine norms, particularly for men, whereas athlete identity was positively associated with some masculine norms (i.e., Winning) and negatively associated with others (i.e., Playboy). These findings help to identify the correlates of a "toxic Jock" identity that may signal elevated risk for health-compromising behavior.

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