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The foundations laid by democracy engrained in society a responsibility to help fellow citizens. As observed by De Tocqueville in 1831, "by dint of working for one's fellow citizens, the habit and taste for serving them is at length acquired." Community service has been studied from many perspectives throughout time, but the unique situation of an athlete engaging in community service, has received little attention. From extrapolation of literature in psychology and marketing, the instance of an athlete performing community service has the potential to create a triad of benefits. Research suggests benefits can be experienced by the athletes themselves, the community in which they are serving, and the institution, or organization the athletes represent. The current research sought to examine three particular benefits (social responsibility, attitude toward oneself, and future intentions to volunteer) which might be experienced by the athletes themselves, and the particular circumstances under which the benefits may be experienced. Eight student-athletes from a large Division I-A institution were interviewed, some of whom had participated in social cause community service, and some of whom had participated in standard community service. The student-athletes who participated in social cause community service reported feelings of civic duty and social responsibility, and had formulated plans for future service beyond college. The student-athletes who participated in standard community service reported feelings of obligation toward service, and did not have clear plans for continued service upon graduation. Both groups felt positive about their experiences, and attributed positive feelings toward their own abilities after participating. The current case study suggests student-athletes feel these benefits to a larger degree if the community service is social cause oriented rather than promotional in nature. Future research could study this notion further, and examine the other sides of the benefits triad.
Student-Athletes Community Service College Athletics
Date of Defense
April 13, 2005.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Sport Management, Recreation Management, and Physical Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Jeffrey James, Professor Directing Thesis; Aubrey Kent, Committee Member; Michael Mondello, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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