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Title: Social comparison in physical education: motives, frames of reference and consequences
Authors: Barnes, Jemima S.
Keywords: Social comparison
Frame of reference
Physical education
Physical self-concept
Behavioural regulation
Motivational climate
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: © Jemima Barnes
Abstract: Grounded in Festinger s (1954) theory of social comparison processes, this thesis aims to examine three aspects of this theory in the physical education context, where ability is the characteristic under comparison: adolescent motives for comparison; frames of reference; and consequences of comparison. Although there is a growing evidence base investigating social comparison processes in academic subjects, there remains a dearth of knowledge concerning the role that comparison can play in determining outcomes in physical education. Furthermore, there is very little research within psychology in general that examines young peoples motives for and outcomes of comparison. This thesis begins to address this lack of knowledge by providing an in-depth exploration of social comparison processes (Study 1) which is followed by an examination of the role that two frames of reference (the class and a chosen individual) and motives for comparison (evaluation, improvement, enhancement) play in determining: physical self-concept; engagement; disaffection; self-efficacy, positive affect and negative affect (Studies 2-4). Additionally, the moderating role of behavioural regulations, motivational climate and perceived autonomy support are also investigated. Across the four studies, comparative evaluations with the class are influential in determining both positive and negative outcomes whilst the role of individual comparisons varies according to the dependent variable under investigation. Evidence for both the moderating and direct role of motives for comparison is presented as well as support for the moderating role of motivational climate and behavioural regulations. The findings highlight the need to investigate multiple aspects of social comparison processes simultaneously in addition to investigating moderators of comparative evaluations in order that a more comprehensive understanding of social comparison processes is achieved.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/13611
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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