Ego Involvement and Influence Research Paper

Ego Involvement and Influence Research Paper

People are often described as being “passionate” about a particular activity. However, relatively little is known about how certain activities can become obsessive and controlling versus more balanced aspects of people’s lives. We posit that the nature of people’s involvement with a particular activity can influence the extent to which that activity becomes a controllable or uncontrollable force in daily life.Ego Involvement and Influence Research Paper As such, this research explores relationships between ego involvement and passion towards competitive sport activities.

Vallerand (2010) indicates that the concept of passion has had many definitions over the years; however he suggests passion reflects a strong liking for an activity, object or concept. Being passionate involves being emotionally charged with, or at the least, being affectively inclined toward the object or activity (Vallerand). Moreover, it is often assumed that passion can bring out the best and the worst in people (Vallerand). Vallerand and colleagues (2003) put forth the Dualistic Model of Passion (DMP).Their model suggests that there are two types of passion: harmonious and obsessive. Specially, harmonious passion occurs when an activity is a welcomed or “nice” addition to one’s life. Conversely, obsessive passion occurs when an activity takes over one’s life. Recently, leisure researchers (e.g., Stenseng, 2008; Stenseng & Phelps, 2013) have found that harmonious passion was positively related to subjective well-being and positive outcomes in life domains (i.e., school, work, relationship with family and friends). By contrast, obsessive passion has been negatively related to subjective well-being and to positive life domain outcomes (Stenseng & Phelps). In summary, researchers have examined outcomes of harmonic and obsessive passion. Scant attention, however, has been paid to what factors might influence or contribute to these two types of passion (i.e., the potential “antecedents of passion).Ego Involvement and Influence Research Paper We believe the construct of ego involvement might provide useful insights in this regard. Indeed, our use of involvement in this way may help challenge the notion that engagement in leisure and sport activities is exclusively conducive to well-being (Stenseng, Rise, & Kraft, 2011).

Ego involvement has been defined as an unobservable state of motivation, arousal or interest toward a recreational activity and/or associated product. Additionally, it is evoked by a particular stimulus or situation and has drive properties (Rothschild, 1984). Within the leisure literature, involvement has usually been treated as a multifaceted construct including attraction, sign, centrality to lifestyle, and risk (Havitz & Dimanche, 1997). More recently, Kyle, Absher, Norman, Hammitt, and Jodice (2007) re-conceptualized the concept, by suggesting that leisure involvement contains five facets: attraction to activity, centrality of activity to lifestyle, social bonding, identity affirmation, and identity expression. Attraction refers to the importance individuals ascribe to an activity and the pleasure derived from the activity. Centrality refers to the degree in which an individual organizes other dimensions of their lives around an activity. Social bonding refers to the social ties that bind participants to an activity. Identity affirmation measures the degree to which leisure provided opportunities to affirm the self to the self, and identity expression examines the extent to which leisure provides opportunities to express the self to others.Ego Involvement and Influence Research Paper The concept of ego involvement has been extensively explored in the leisure literature. Researchers, for example, have explored the influence of ego involvement in a variety of contexts including consumer behaviour (e.g., Havitz & Dimanche, 1990), event sponsorship (Potwarka, McCarville, Johnson Tew, & Kaczynski, 2009), loyalty and commitment to a recreation agency (Iwasaki & Havitz, 2004), and health-related outcomes (Deci & Ryan, 1995).


We believe obsessive and harmonious passion for an activity may be related to the particular facets of leisure involvement described above. To our knowledge however, the construct of leisure involvement has yet to be explored in such a fashion. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to explore associations of the five facets of leisure involvement with passion (i.e., obsessive and harmonious) for competitive physical activities at the intramural and intercollegiate sport levels.


The sample consisted of 587 male and female athletes that participated in competitive (i.e., varsity and intramural) team sports at Ontario Universities. Athletic Departments and coaches at four southern Ontario universities were contacted and asked for permission to survey varsity athletes and intramural participants. Once permission was granted, dates and times were arranged with varsity teams and intramural groups to complete the survey. Participants competed in ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, rugby, field hockey, soccer and football. Participants completed the Passion Scale (Vallerand et al., 2003) and the Modified Involvement Scale (MIS: Kyle et al., 2007).Ego Involvement and Influence Research Paper The passion scale consists of two subscales to measure obsessive and harmonious passion. Each subscale consisted of six items measured on a 7-point Likert scale, from 1= not agree at all, 7= very strongly agree. An example item of an item to measure obsessive passion was “I have the impression that competitive sports control me.” An example of an item to measure harmonious passion was “Competitive sports allow me to live a variety of experiences.”Ego Involvement and Influence Research Paper

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