Competitive Physical Activity Participation: Effect on Motivation of International College Students

Dongwook Cho, Steve Beck


During the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of international students enrolled in colleges across the United States. Many of these students are challenged by various constraints to participate in physical activities. This study was conducted to determine the rate of international students’ participation in competitive physical activities. Additionally, this study analyzed the differences in international students’ motivation between students that participate in competitive physical activity and students that do not participate in competitive physical activity. A total of 44 surveys were utilized that were collected from international students attending a university located in the southwest region. Participants completed the Exercise Motivation Inventory – 2 (EMI-2) with activity participation questions. The results indicated about 70 percent of international college students never or rarely participated in competitive physical activity. In addition, there were statistical differences in motivation of affiliation, challenge, and competition between non-competitive and competitive physical activity among international students. Campus recreation and international student program administrators may be able to encourage international students’ participation in competitive physical activity by incorporating strategies to stimulate their motivation.

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