The task values for school and sports among sports upper secondary school students are strongly related to each other. In other words, students with high motivation for school also have high motivation for sports. On the other hand, students with lower motivation for school struggle to maintain their motivation for sports. Published in a recent research article, these are the findings of a study on adolescent athletes’ task values for school and sports across the upper secondary school years. The study was carried out by Professor Jaana Viljaranta and a group of researchers. The study was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture and led by Adjunct Professor Tatiana V. Ryba from the University of Jyväskylä.
The European Union has issued guidelines on dual careers of athletes to policy makers in the Member States for the formulation and adoption of national dual career guidelines. Sufficient policy actions are needed in support of combining elite sports with academic education. The aim of Viljaranta’s study was to examine the opportunities to integrate high performance sports with education from the motivational perspective.
“In this study, we focused especially on potential gender differences. Females are generally expected to have higher motivation for an academic career than males, whereas in sports, gender role stereotypes often exert an impact on the importance attached to masculine characteristics. It has been suggested that, from the motivational perspective, such a masculine performance narrative directs males more easily towards dedication to sports."
The results of this study showed that the males’ school-related task values were lower than the females’ task values at the beginning of sports 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.
“These findings indicate to us that females may be more committed to integrating elite sports and education than males.”
To support the processes of dual career construction for males, special attention should be paid to developing their motivation for school.
“Awareness of the gender differences shown in this study could help better understand what kind of support students need in sports upper secondary school to guarantee them the possibility of a dual career.”
Viljaranta, J., Aunola, K., Tolvanen, A., & Ryba, T. V. (2022). The development of school and sports task values among adolescent athletes: The role of gender. Curr Psychol. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-022-02880-y