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An Exploratory Study of Youth Soccer Players’ Participation Motivation and Health-Related Behaviors

Zhenhao Zeng, Wen-Yan Meng, Peng Sun, Li Sheng Xie


Using the Adapted Questionnaire of Soccer Athlete’s Motivation and Health Related Behaviors-Chinese Version (AQSAMHRB), this study examined essential factors that motivate youth athletes to participate in soccer practices and competitions. Participants included 98 male soccer athletes (aged 14–15) from 10 middle schools of Jiangsu province, China. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and a 2 (Supporting: By Parents or By School) × 2 (Goal-Setting: For Professional or For Non-Professional) MANOVA. The top three scores from the 18 motivation factors (MFs) in the AQSAMHRB included MF1, high technical content and unique value, M = 4.73; MF4, to meet friends, M = 4.42; and MF2, for fun, M = 4.34. The 2 × 2 MANOVA revealed no significant difference in Supporting, p > .32, Λ = .79, F = 1.16, but a significant difference in Goal-Setting, p < .00, Λ = .03, F = 143.61. The follow-up MANOVA discovered that 12 of the 18 MF comparisons in Goal-Setting showed significant difference at p < .05, with For Professional scoring higher than For Non-Professional (e.g., MF6, to contest winners; MF7, to shape the body; MF9, to become a professional; and MF17, to become a coach). In brief, intrinsic and extrinsic MFs significantly affected these soccer athletes’ motivations. It did not matter who supported their participation, but it was their Goal-Setting on becoming a Professional or Non-Professional athlete that mattered. On the other hand, for the 27 health-related behaviors in the AQSAMHRB, frequency and percentage data were analyzed and summarized. Findings from this aspect provide firsthand information about the youth soccer athletes’ eating habits, nutrition knowledge and status, risk behaviors, and hygiene behaviors. A meaningful discussion from an educational perspective has also been provided.

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youth athlete; soccer; motivation; practices; competition; health-related behaviors

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