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Arabic women's participation in sport : barriers and motivation among Egyptian and Kuwaiti athletes

This thesis comprises three related studies. The first study is a qualitative examination of reasons for the lack of participation of Kuwaiti women in international track and field athletics. First-hand experience of the current situation in Kuwait has stimulated my desire to discover the reasons for Kuwaiti women’s lack of participation in international competitions, and to compare their experiences with Egyptian female track and field athletes. In addition to exploring the views of athletes themselves, the views of coaches, sport administrators and parents were investigated using a qualitative methodology. Research on Muslim women competing in international competitions is limited, especially concerning women from Kuwait, which has created a need to explore the reasons women from Kuwait are not given fair opportunities to take part in such competitions. This issue is of great importance to Kuwaiti females who are involved in track and field events, and is also relevant to other Muslim communities where women are not allowed the same opportunities offered to men with regard to attending international tournaments. In Study One the data revealed that there are regional differences between Kuwait and Egypt in the factors that affect female sporting participation. In Kuwait, society, culture and some members of athletes’ families generally do not appreciate female involvement in sport and do not support gender integration in sport. In Egypt, however, society, culture and athletes’ parents are supportive of female participation in sport and encourage gender equality. Both countries are similar in terms of a lack of the pro-women policies and institutions in athletics. In addition, both countries suffer from inefficient and outdated equipment and facilities. Even though Egyptian athletes share some similar challenges to participation in sport with Kuwaiti athletes, they are motivated and able to aspire to take part in international competitions. This leads to the question of how female athletes in Muslim countries like Kuwait can be motivated to engage in in optimal training behaviours that would potentially enable them to compete at higher levels. Therefore the second study tested the applicability of a contemporary theory of motivation that has been widely applied to sport contexts, to female sport engagement in Egypt, namely self-determination theory (SDT: Deci & Ryan, 1985). The aim was to gain insights into the motivational processes involved in female sport in a Muslim country that does encourage female participation that might then be applied in Kuwait. SDT proposes a motivational sequence whereby support from the social environment can enhance the satisfaction of psychological needs, which in turn facilitates more autonomous motivation and optimal behaviours. The sequence was tested by examining the influence of Egyptian female athlete’s perceptions of the support offered by coaches, parents and fellow athletes on perceptions of competence, autonomy and relatedness, the facilitation of autonomous motivation for sport engagement and athletes’ training behaviours. The model was subjected to partial least squares structural equation modelling. Results largely supported the SDT motivational sequence and this is the first study to do so in an Arabic or Muslim context. Given that the principles of SDT were upheld in this cultural context, the third study was designed to investigate whether a SDT-based intervention could be applied within the more culturally and socially constrained context of women’s sport in Kuwait. Specifically, the third study examined the extent to which an SDT intervention could encourage autonomy-supportive behaviours and reduce controlling behaviours among Kuwaiti coaches of female athletes. In a randomized control group design, coaches received either training in the application of SDT or engaged in general discussions about training. Results showed significant decreases in controlling behaviours among SDT-trained coaches but not among the control group coaches, as assessed by behavioural observations, although need-supportive behaviours increased in both groups. The framework produced in the third study could be further developed to enhance the promotion of autonomous motivation among Kuwaiti sporting women and help change the current situation of Kuwaiti female athletes in sport. Furthermore, contrary to some critiques of SDT that suggest that it is only relevant in Western cultural contexts, the findings of both Studies Two and Three add to a growing body of evidence that the theory has universal applicability.
Date January 2014
CreatorsKhalaf, Sanabel Bader Hamad
PublisherBangor University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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