Date of Award

Fall 11-14-1999

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Program

Sports and Athletics Administration

Department

School of Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Richard A. Young

Abstract

Athletes as Role Models for Adolescents: This study examines the reasons adolescents turn to athletes as role models It is clear that children need role models m their life but why not choose a parent, teacher or coach. Why not a figurehead who plays a role in the child's life, who has direct contact with the chlld. Is it because they want to one day become professional athletes themselves, is it the amount of money they make or is it because it is a desirable profession? These are all contributing factors to why children look up to athletes Although some athletes say they are not role models, the fact is they are. It is up to the athlete to choose to be a good role model or a bad role model.

This study was broken down into two sections Surveys were the first section of the study. The survey's aim was to discover the mindset of the children toward athletes. Observations were the second section of the study. These observations studied at influences in the children's behavior. The surveys and observations took place in the Pompano Beach area and were done to explore the premise that children mimic athletes in hopes to be like them on the playing surface.

The study expected to reveal, to a greater extent, how the children mimicked the athlete, from posing after shots, taunting, to arguing with coaches and officials. What was revealed in this study through the surveys, was that children do look to athletes as role models However, as far as observing the children, the only discernible imitation that took place by these young children was posing after shooting a basketball or hitting golf balls; not taunting or arguing. The children seemed to play sports for the pure enjoyment of the game, not for the business of the sport.

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