The self-concept and perceived importance of athletic competition of winners and losers in special olympics Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zc77ss45g

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  • Special Olympics International, an organization committed to providing sport opportunities for children and adults with mental retardation, has been a major advocate in promoting competitive experiences for the mentally retarded. Few studies have focused on the effects of participation in competitive athletics on individuals who are mentally retarded. The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-concept of winners, non-winners, and losers after participation in a Special Olympics competitive meet. The study also examined the attitude of mentally retarded participants toward competition and the perceived importance of competing in the event. The subjects for this investigation were participants from the Texas Special Olympics State Swimming Meet. The study included 95 males and 56 females. Comparisons were made among athletes placing first, second, and last in races at the swim meet. Following competition, subjects were administered a sub-scale of the Piers Harris Self Concept Scale (PHSCS) and asked questions relative to attitudes toward competition. A followup interview was conducted eight to twelve weeks following the swimming meet to determine the importance of having competed in the Special Olympics State Swimming Meet. No significant differences in self-concept levels existed among winners, non-winners, and losers immediately following competition. While all three groups expressed positive feelings toward participation in Special Olympics, the last place finishers were slightly more negative about swimming in the race when interviewed immediately following their participation. Also, immediately following the race, more second place finishers preferred to swim when racing other people than did winners and last place finishers. In a followup interview eight to twelve weeks after participation, no significant differences were found among groups regarding their attitude toward competing in the Special Olympics Swim Meet. Also, the perceived importance of the Texas Special Olympics State Swim Meet was not significantly different for winners, non-winners, and losers, as measured by responses to the followup interview.
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