Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Relative age effect on behavioural regulation, burnout potential and anxiety of sports students

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posted on 2022-05-11, 14:55 authored by Peter O’Donoghue, Richard Neil

 Introduction: Relative age effect in sport is widely recognised due to the volume of research that has 15 found a greater tendency for late born people within cohorts to dropout of sport before becoming adults 16 than for early born people. However, most of the studies in relative age report on broad participation rates 17 of people born at different times of the year. There is little research into potential psychological effects of 18 relative age. Comparing early and late born people using psychological variables could provide valuable 19 information about the mechanisms of dropout. Therefore, the purpose of the current investigation was to 20 compare early and late born university sports students using the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 (SAS-2), the 21 Behavioural Regulation in Sport Questionnaire (BRSQ) and the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ). 22 Early born participants were those born in the first 6 months of the academic year (September to 23 February) and late born participants were born in the second half (March to August). Gender, size of 24 place of birth (< 100,000 inhabitants or >= 100,000 inhabitants) and type of sport (individual or team) 25 were also included as independent variables within the study. 26 27 Materials and Methods: There were 222 students who participated in the study including 119 males and 28 103 females. 29 30 Results: There were no significant differences between the early born and late born students for any of the 31 psychological variables measured. There were also no significant interaction effects of half year of birth 32 and any combination of gender, size of birthplace or type of sport on any of the psychological variables. 33 34 Discussion: Efforts to model pathways for psychological variables based on month of birth cannot be 35 justified based on the findings of the current descriptive study. 


Published in

European Journal of Human Movement


European Journal of Human Movement


  • VoR (Version of Record)


O'Donoghue, P.G. and Neil, R. (2015) 'Relative age effect on behavioural regulation, burnout potential and anxiety of sports students', European Journal of Human Movement, 35, pp. 1-11

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Peter O’Donoghue

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Sports Performance Analysis

Copyright Holder

  • © The Authors


  • en

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