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Title: Social comparison in physical education : motives, frames of reference and consequences
Author: Barnes, Jemima S.
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2013
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social comparison ; Frame of reference ; Physical education ; Physical self-concept ; Engagement ; Disaffection ; Behavioural regulation ; Motivational climate ; Self-efficacy ; Affect