The influence of sport type and interdependence on the growth experiences of young male athletes
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The purpose of this study was to examine how sport type and interdependence were associated with the growth experiences of select level male basketball players (n = 150) and distance runners (n = 98), aged 14 to 17 years. This study also examined how growth experiences were related to the outcomes of enjoyment and burnout. Athletes completed the Youth Experiences Survey 2.0 (Hansen & Larson, 2005), Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (Raedeke & Smith, 2001), Sources of Enjoyment in Youth Sport Questionnaire (Wiersma, 2001), and a newly developed scale assessing interdependence. Hierarchical multiple regression procedures determined sport type was an independent predictor of teamwork and social skills experiences, and adult networks and social capital experiences. Basketball players reported higher rates of growth experiences promoting adult networks and social capital, and teamwork and social skills, and negative experiences. In terms of interdependence levels, athletes from both sports did not differ. Hierarchical multiple regression determined interdependence was an independent predictor of growth experiences promoting identity exploration, initiative, positive relationships, adult networks and social capital, and teamwork and social skills. Hierarchical multiple regression also determined negative experiences significantly predicted burnout. Although different sports may provide different learning environments for youth, interdependence levels in a sport setting were also related to the learning environment, independent of sport type. From this study, it can be surmised that the learning environments of youth sports may be more strongly influenced by how the people involved interact than by the type of sport.