Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Competitive sport and self-concept in adolescent

Cristiana D'Anna, Laura Rio, Filippo Gómez Paloma



Self-esteem is the degree to which an individual values himself or herself globally. Several studies have shown that the self-esteem level is a key indicator of positive mental health and well-being. The belief that physical activity and sport are often associated with the best development of self-esteem in adolescent is a commonly held view. However in literature there aren’t many studies that investigate the self-esteem level in young athletes that practice competitive sport activities. The aim of this study is to assess the self-esteem level comparing athletes who practice individual sport with athletes who play team sports. In last ten years it has become widely accepted that self-esteem is structured hierarchically and therefore on the top of all there is general self-esteem and secondly there are the various interrelated dimensions between them. The sample consisted of seventy-eight individuals, basketball athletes (M= 20, F= 14) and gymnasts (M=19, F=25). All the participants compiled the Multidimensional Self-Esteem Test (TMA, Erickson), a structural questionnaire on the specific domains (interpersonal relationship, competence, emotionality, school, family, body image). The results showed that both females and males who were physically involved in the practice of sports at competitive level (indifferently whether individual or team sport) have considerably highest level of self-esteem. This data confirms that individuals with the a higher self-esteem manage to apply themselves better in the high-level sports and, at same time, that the competition, for the all disciplines of sport, further strengthens self-esteem.


self-concept, well-being, individual sport, team sport


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