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Title: The relationship between personality, sensation seeking, reaction time and sport participation : evidence from drag racers, sport science students and archers
Author: Cohen, Rhonda
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 5556
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examined for the first time psychological variables namely, personality traits and reaction time amongst elite and amateur drag racers, archers and a sample of university sport science students. In study 1, using Eysenck and Eysenck’s Personality Inventory (1982) 144 drag racers (mean age 31, SD =12.27) 108 male, 36 female were compared with a control group of 82 university sport science students (mean age 22.9, SD = 2.99) 44 male, 38 female. There was a significant difference between the participants on neuroticism only. Drag racers scored lower on this scale than students who scored higher on neuroticism. In study 2, using Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS-V) (Zuckerman, 1994) data from the above 144 drag racers were compared with a control group of 82 university sport Science students. The results indicated that there were no significant differences between drag racers and university sport science students on measures of sensation seeking. Level of performance (elite versus amateur) did not distinguished drag racers from the comparison group. A significant difference in gender was found only on the subscale of disinhibition (DIS). Study 3 included archers as an appropriate group involved in a non-extreme sport. Forty-five archers (mean age 37.2, SD = 11.68) 30 male and 15 female were included in this study. The results on personality tests (EPI and SSS), whilst employing controls for age, gender and level of performance indicated that there was a significant difference between the 3 sporting groups (as well as in comparison to university sport science students) in sensation seeking, thrill and adventure seeking and disinhibition. Level of performance was shown to be a significant variable on sensation seeking and thrill and adventure seeking. Gender was a highly significant variable only on a measure of neuroticism. In study 4, an experiment was conducted on the relationship between personality traits and reaction times as a function of sporting performance. There were 29 male drag racers (mean age = 45.82, SD = 8.56), 11 female drag racers mean age (42.72, SD = 8.33), 26 male archers (mean age 35.53, SD = 11.93), 13 female archers (mean age 38.92 , SD = 11.68), 34 male students (mean age = 22.82, SD = 2.62) and 25 female students (mean age = 23.08, SD = 3.36). The issue examined was whether drag racers, archers and students differ on tests of simple (non sport specific i.e. dots on a screen) and task specific (sport related- series of lights) reaction time. These tests were designed on SuperLab specifically for drag racers. The results demonstrated that there was a significant difference between the participants (i.e. drag racers and students) in accuracy. Overall, there was a significant correlation between extraversion and accuracy on a sport specific task. With archers, there was a relationship between extraversion and accuracy and for both elite and amateurs, which was highly significant for female archers. With amateur drag racers there was an inverse relationship between sensation seeking measures and accuracy. This demonstrates the importance of level of performance as a moderating factor. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available