The following is excerpted from an online article posted by ScienceDaily.
Adolescent athletes with high motivation for school also have high motivation for sports. Male students tend to be less interested in school than their female peers, a new study from Finland shows.
Successfully integrating elite sports with education requires motivation to commit oneself to both domains. In Europe, the EU has instructed its Member States to formulate and adopt national guidelines on dual careers of athletes. Sufficient policy actions are needed in support of combining elite sports with academic education. In Finland, for example, talented and elite adolescent athletes have the opportunity to complete their upper secondary education in special sports upper secondary schools, which offer equal competitive sports opportunities for both genders and often specialize in multiple sports.
A new study conducted among nearly 400 adolescent athletes in Finland examined the development of, and gender differences in, their task values for school and sports across the upper secondary school years. The students were aged 15-16 at the beginning of the study, and they were all completing their upper secondary education in a sports upper secondary school. They were followed four times during their upper secondary school years.
The researchers found that the task values for school and sports among the students were strongly related to each other. Students with high motivation for school also had high motivation for sports. On the other hand, students with lower motivation for school struggled to maintain their motivation for sports, too.
The results showed that male students’ school-related task values were lower than female students’ task values at the beginning of upper secondary school and that the gender differences remained across the school years. However, no gender differences were found in the students’ motivation for an athletic career.
The study was supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and led by Adjunct Professor Tatiana V. Ryba at the University of Jyväskylä.