Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name





Dr. Meredith Meyer

First Committee Member

Dr. Meredith Meyer

Second Committee Member

Dr. Michele Acker


sport participation, sport specialization, youth, sport psychology

Subject Categories

Applied Behavior Analysis | Health Psychology


This study investigated the factors that go into youth athletes deciding to drop out of a sport versus staying in the sport. To test this, current Otterbein University athletes and non-athletes took an online questionnaire that asked specific questions pertaining to their experience in sport participation. We tested the hypotheses that (1) those who began specializing in sports at a younger age will be less likely to continue participation, (2) parental pressure would be a reason for dropout and parental support would influence the athletes to stay in, and (3) those who continued participation in sports would perceive a healthy lifestyle to be more important than those who are not currently involved. Results indicated partial support for these hypotheses. Supporting Hypothesis 1, specializing during younger vs. older years was associated with dropping out. Counter to Hypothesis 2, those who continued in their sport indicated having higher parental pressure than those who dropped out. In support of Hypothesis 2, however, those who continued participation indicated having higher parental support than those who dropped out. Finally, in support of Hypothesis 3, those who continued also indicated having increased perceptions of the value of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.