2013. Vol.4, No.3A, 309-317
Published Online March 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 309
The Role of Simultaneous Pursuing of Academic and Athletic
Activities over Youth in Personality Development
Iryna Arshava1, Dina Nosenko1, Ganna Nosenko2, Anton Sayevich2
1Department of General and Medical Psychology, Dnipropetrovsk National University, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
2Projects Managements, Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institute of Public Administration, the National Academy of
Public Administration of Ukraine, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
Received December 30th, 2012; revised January 27th, 2013; accepted February 26th, 2013
In search of approaches to defining the psychological life history of an individual the contemporary per-
sonality psychologists address the individual differences in behavior reflecting the interplay of the spe-
cific real life situations and the new dynamic contextualized trait constructs which can cast light on the
within-person causal dynamics. The participants of the research—thirty University-level student-athletes
and 109 secondary college-level students, simultaneously pursuing the academic and athletic activities,
were shown to display different levels of personality self-evolution under this specific situation depending
on the sporting achievements attained. Clustering the samples (K-means algorithm) into the two groups
each, which significantly differed on the personality variables, indicative of the self-evolution dynamics,
showed that the higher was the level of sporting achievements the more significantly the participants ap-
peared to differ on the patterns of coping strategies preferred, the emotional intelligence abilities, hardi-
ness and dispositional resources of self-evolution acquired. Equally high levels of internal locus of control
and the mental health continuum measures in both clusters of the university-level student-athletes can also
be regarded as favorable outcomes of combining two significant life activities for stimulating the person-
ality development.
Keywords: Sporting and Academic Activities; Levels of Achievements; Personality Development
The concept of personality development, operationalized in
terms of the qualitative changes in the consciousness and be-
havior of the personality, which are determined by the ontoge-
netic and situational factors, is a key issue of the research of
individual differences in the real life settings. In the mainstream
personality theories those differences are ascribed to the inter-
play of a relatively small number of stable dispositional traits
and situational factors, while contemporary personality psy-
chologists argue that it is necessary to “push out the frontiers”
in search of a realistic answer to Gordon Allport’s defining
question for the personality “How shall a psychological life
history of an individual be written?” (Campbell, 2008).
Some promising answers to that rhetoric question have been
suggested by the contributors of the latest SAGE Handbook of
Personality Theory and Assessment (Boyle, Matthews, & Sak-
lofske, 2008), who claim that the individual specificity of be-
havior in the real-life settings is better explained not by the
global trait features, but by the so-called explanatory models of
personality (Cervone et al., 2006) by “specific adaptations”
(Parker et al., 2004); new dynamic trait constructs (Austin, Sak-
lofske, & Egan, 2005) and the like.
The applied project described in this paper is specifically
concerned with providing an illustrative example of the rele-
vance of seeking alternative strategies for personality science
by investigating personality constructs on the borderline be-
tween abilities and personality (like emotional intelligence);
self-regulation and personality (like individually preferred
coping strategies); values-in-action and personality (like char-
acter strengths), recently identified by positive psychologists
(Peterson & Seligman,2004). This research also illustrates the
significance of tracing dispositional stability and change of the
personality not across everyday life situations, but across func-
tionality equivalent specific situations. As Cervone (2008) rea-
sonably argued, the Big Five model, for one, addresses only
between-person differences and cannot cast any light on the
within-person casual dynamics, which lets itself for observation
under specific functionally equivalent situations or capture the
qualities of any individual person.
A Framework of Investigating Personality
Development in a Real-Life Specific Context
The uniqueness of the situation of simultaneous pursuing of
two equally significant activities for the personality develop-
ment and self-determination, chosen in this paper to illustrate
an adequate approach to studying some defining features of the
personality, has not yet been, to our knowledge, analyzed in
this capacity earlier, though there is a sufficient amount of re-
search findings which demonstrate the impact of athletic and
academic activities, viewed separately, on some important as-
pects of personality development. For example, it was reported
that mental health toughness and hardiness characterized mem-
bers of the Rugby League (Golby & Sheard, 2004), determined
success in basketball (Maadi & Hess, 1992). Thanks to the mo-
derating role of commitment in achieving the academic study
success, the latter was also found out to be related to hardiness
(Sheard, 2007). Athletic activities appeared to enhance emo-
tional stability of the person (Chebykin & Abolin, 1984); the
high-achievers in tennis were shown to display preference to
choosing problem-focused copying strategy in dealing with
stressful sporting situations, while non-achievers resorted more
frequently to the emotion-focused coping style (Arshava, No-
senko, & Ponomareva, 2010).
The programs, stimulating student-athletes to go in for sports
in a big way in the course of pursuing academic activity in the
areas of concentration, not necessarily related to sports, are
financed in some countries, like the USA, probably not only for
the sake of helping young people keep physically fit, but for
their character formation as well. The idea of examining the
role of a unique situation of the simultaneous pursuing of the
academic and athletic activities as a real-life model of personal-
ity development occurred to the two authors of this project who
had an opportunity to be a part of the National Collegiate Ath-
letic Association while getting their Bachelor’s degrees in psy-
chology and political sciences in the USA (Wake Forest Uni-
versity from 2008 to 2012). The two activities under the condi-
tions, described above, became interdependent and the partici-
pants of such programs had to share their attention and efforts
equally between those activities to succeed in both and meet the
program requirements.
As Eysenk, M. et al. (2007) claim, according to the Atten-
tion Control Theory, shifting attention between the simultane-
ously performed equally significant activities is likely to cause
anxiety in the emotionally vulnerable individuals or make them
activate their personality resources to succeed in attending to
each of the two activities simultaneously. Being a student-ath-
lete is both demanding and rewarding and leads to the acquisi-
tion of a number of character strengths, extends social contacts
considerably and provides opportunities to experience a rare
emotional state of the flow (Csikzentmihalyi & Csikzentmiha-
lyi, 2006)—the peak satisfaction with oneself at the moments of
sporting triumph, equally as at the moments of academic suc-
cess. This type of emotional experience qualitatively changes
the personality attitude to oneself, others, the world at large.
The specific situation, described above, in our opinion, belongs
to the class of those situations, about which Baumeister (1999)
argued as of the instances where the personality and social
psychologists can and must collaborate in exploring person by
situation interaction as the only defensible model of human
We think that the situation chosen in this research provides a
realistic opportunity not only to stimulate personality develop-
ment over youth but to make a young person become an agent
of self-evolution. In this respect, we agree with J. Campbell’s
(2008) assessment of Kelly’s analogy for understanding human
behavior as that of the scientist (Kelly, 1955). His “man as a
scientist” assumption stated that people behave in their lives as
scientists do in their labs: they formulate hypotheses about what
will happen if they act a certain way, and the outcome provides
data that support or disconfirm the prediction. A good scientist,
as Campbell reasoned, would revise hypotheses that were not
supported, as would a healthy person do. A neurotic person, on
the contrary, is like a bad scientist whose predictions are not
validated but who is unwilling or unable to change them (Cam-
pbell, 2008).
Rotter (1954) also stated in his cognitive-social-learning the-
ory of personality that a person would engage in a particular
behavior in a particular situation when a given reinforce is
available. He conceptualized that probability as a function of
two factors: the person’s expectancy that the behavior will lead
to a particular reinforce, and the reinforcement value for that
reinforce. In the situation chosen in our research project as a
means of stimulating personality development there is a strong
reinforce for both simultaneously pursued behaviors: academic
and athletic activities and the reinforcement values of both
activities are high. The situation is different, in our opinion,
from that when the athletic activity is performed just for pleas-
ure, recreation or for the sake of keeping fit. The person in-
volved into the former type of a situation really begins to act as
a scientist, performing a conscious reflective activity of ap-
praising at each stage of the two interrelated activities their
necessary outcomes, estimating the efforts required to achieve
the rewarded goal and enhancing the self-regulative strategies.
Mischel, Shoda & Mendoza-Denton (2002) described situa-
tion behavior profiles as a locus of consistency in personality
that account for “if then” signatures of the personality. They
claimed that cognitive-affective units include the person’s rep-
resentations of the self, people, and situations, goals, expecta-
tions-beliefs and feeling states. Mischel’s CAPS model, along
with the similar knowledge-and-appraisal personality architect-
ture (Cervone, 2008) make possible to move toward integrative
personality theories. The goals set by the key personality re-
searchers are formulated as bringing specific findings back to
the person.
The major objective of our exploratory study was to demon-
strate that the qualitative changes that occurred in the personal-
ity dispositions of the academic athletes, involved into our re-
search, accounted for their complex histories of winning the
highest athletic titles despite injuries in the period of the suc-
cessful reading toward their academic degrees.
The Present Study
To fully investigate the claimed qualitative changes that are
likely to occur in the personality self-efficacy characteristics of
the young people thanks to the simultaneous pursuing of the
academic and athletic activities we involved into this research
two natural groups of participants who have had a real-life ex-
perience of being exposed to the specific life situations of shar-
ing attention between equally significant life tasks and had
differences in sporting achievements.
The conceptual hypothesis of the research was formulated as
follows: going in for sports in the course of acquiring education
stimulates the personality self-efficacy dynamics that can be
tapped by comparing the differences in personality characteris-
tics of the participants with different levels of achievements in
sports. We expected that the hypothesis will be proved if the
higher level achievers statistically significantly differ in the
majority of characteristics, indicative of the personality self-
evolution. The main goals of this project were two-fold. The
first goal was to identify personality variables indicative of the
personality development stimulated by the simultaneous pursu-
ing for a sufficiently long period of time of the academic and
athletic activities. The second goal was to examine differences
in the predictive expediency of various personality variables
including a recently developed by a Ukrainian psychologist (as
a part of her Ph.D. thesis) a new Inventory for assessing dispo-
sitional personality resources of becoming an agent of ones
personality self-evolution (personality growth).
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Two samples of research participants included: 30 univer-
sity-level student-athletes, aged 18 to 24 (mean age 21.6), un-
dergraduate and graduate students of different universities of
Ukraine (Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, & others), members
of the Ukrainian National team, as well as 109 student-athletes
of the younger age (16 - 18 years, mean age 17.5), studying at
Dnipropetrovsk secondary level College of Physical and Sports
Culture. The participants of the first group were recruited to
take part in the research during their training period at a sport-
ing base where the national Ukrainian track and field team un-
derwent training. In the first sample there were 16 males and 14
females. Among participants there were International Masters
of Sports, Distinguished Masters of Sports, Masters of Sports
and Candidates to the title of the Master of Sports, so they dif-
fered in their sporting experience and achievements, the lowest
level of achievements being that of the Candidate to the title of
the Master of Sports. The participants of the younger age group
included equal numbers of males and females. Their college
instructors provided to the authors of this research descriptions
of their achievements in sports and studies. The second sample
participants represented athletes with different levels of achieve-
ments: some of them were awarded by regional and national-
level certificates of sporting achievements, while others had
lower level of experience and achievements in sports.
Six groups of personality variables were assessed. The first
group included coping strategies, measured by CISS (Endler
and Parker, 1999 adapted to the Ukrainian culture in 2004 by
Krukova). Reliability and validity estimates for the Ukrainian
adaptation of CISS provide support for internal consistency of
all the scales. Cronbach α = .876 for the whole inventory; α
= .853 for the problem-focused coping; α = .877 for emotion
focused coping and α = .814 for the avoidance coping. The
Inventory comprised 46 items, rated on a 7-point Likert scale
ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). By
choosing this measure of personality we expected to examine
the assumption that the individuals who have achieved a higher
self-regulation level will demonstrate the preferred tendency to
cope with stress by resorting to the problem-focused strategy
rather than to emotion-focused and avoidance strategies. This
will indicate that the more experienced and higher qualified
athletes (Distinguished masters of sports and Master of sports)
have developed in the course of frequent exposure to stressful
situations, presenting failure threat, the ability to cope with
We have also chosen the measure of Emotional Intelligence
which is now conceptualized as a new dynamic trait. It was
assessed with the help of the Emotional Intelligence Inventory
(EmIn), designed by Russian researcher D.V. Lusin (2006).
This inventory consists of 2 measures of the Intra-individual
Emotional Intelligence (IEI) and Inter- individual (or Social)
Emotional Intelligence (SEI).
IEI is represented, in its turn, by two variables: awareness of
one’s own emotions and control of emotions. The Social EI is
represented by 3 variables: understanding emotions of other
people, the ability to control other people’s emotions, and regu-
lation of one’s own emotional expression.
Psychometric characteristics of all the scales and subscales of
EmIn are characterized by sufficiently high internal consistency:
values of Cronbach α are within the range .79 to .69. The
choice of the Emotional Intelligence Inventory was determined
by the considerations that in the course of sporting activities
sportsmen are exposed very frequently to various types of emo-
tional experience, both positive and negative, and observe other
people’s emotions which are usually expressed quite vividly
and intensively. This stimulates the formation of the high level
of EI.
Since we considered that combining sporting activities with
the academic ones sets high demands to the abilities of the in-
dividuals to assume responsibility for the success and failure of
the significant and highly rewarded activities, they would de-
velop in the course of the simultaneous pursuing of the athletic
and academic activities the internal locus of control. This will
be a lawful consequential outcome of comprehending one’s
own responsibility for the success or failure of the significant
activities, the success being a desirable and highly valued out-
come. So, we chose the Rotter’s Locus of Control Scale (1966),
widely-used in adaptations for studying sporting activities.
Cronbach α for the adaptation of Rotter’s Locus of control
Scale was .68. According to Rotter, locus of control is a unidi-
mensional generalized measure of personal control and people
with internal locus of control believe that by their own skills
and efforts they can control their destiny. We chose three sub-
scales scores to be included into the set of variables for cluster
analysis: Internality in Appraising Success; Internality in Ap-
praising Failure; and Internality in the main (professional) ac-
tivity of the individual.
The above described measures represented the characteristic
features of the psychological resources of our research partici-
pants, which are developed under the influence of the specific
To assess the level of the authenticity the individuals ac-
quired thanks to the simultaneous pursuing of the academic and
athletic activities, we assessed changes in their consciousness
that were claimed to reflect the personality self- evolution. As a
measure of the growing authenticity we used the scores of the
Maddi and Kobassa “Hardiness Inventory”, (adapted by D. A.
Leont’yev and E. I. Raskasova to the Russian sample in 2006).
Reliability estimates found in the published studies, in which
various versions of Kobassa’s instrument have been used, pro-
vide support for internal consistency of both the total hardi-
ness scores and those of the subscales within the range: α = .72
to .77. It includes 3 subscale measures: commitment, control,
challenge. S. Maddi defines authenticity as a qualitative per-
sonality characteristic feature. The authentic personality is
characterized by the high level of social and personal reflection;
inner discipline and autonomy; the ability to maintain favorable
relations with other people. Authenticity is interpreted by the
author as an integral moral property, which manifests itself in
hardiness (Maddi, 2004; Maddi & Koshaba, 2004).
To assess another important aspect of the change in con-
sciousness manifested by the individual’s awareness of oneself
as an agent of self-evolution, we used a new Ukrainian thought-
out Inventory “Dispositional characteristics of the personality
self-evolution” (Kusikova, 2012). The Inventory consists of 30
statements rated on a five-point Likert Scale (with 5 “very
much like me” and 1 “not like me at all”). The statements are
formulated like: “I believe in my potential abilities and strive to
self-actualization”; “I enjoy doing things that require maximum
commitment and efforts”; or “In my life I am guided by the
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 311
ideals of the truthfulness, goodness and beauty” etc. The in-
ventory has 3 scales. The meaning of the first scale “Need of
self-evolution” is summed up by the author (Kusikova, 2012)
as the awareness of the individual in the necessity of self-
growth, reflected self-evolution; openness to changes, interest
in the events of the surrounding world; interest in one’s own
inner world and that of other people; exuberance of life, need in
expanding one’s inner world.
The meaning of the second scale “Conditions of self-evolu-
tion” is defined in terms of: autonomy, positive self-perception,
strength and maturity of the self-image; awareness of one’s
goals, active living strategies (activity in searching the new
information, readiness for self-perception; tolerance of the am-
The meaning of the third scale: “Mechanisms (functional
means) of self-evolution” is defined in terms of self-compre-
hension (strive to authenticity); self-reflection (self-analysis);
awareness of the discrepancies between the real and the ideal
self; sensitivity to the feed-back from other people, ability of
self-regulation and self-determination. The author reports the
acceptable internal consistency of the scales α > .70.
We expected that if our hypothesis of the role of the simul-
taneous pursuing of the two significant activities in the charac-
ter formation is valid, the participants with higher sporting and
academic achievements will be characterized by the higher
levels of their personality evolution, operationalized in terms of
the qualitative characteristics in their personalities described
There was one more measure chosen—Mental Health Con-
tinuum. It was assessed by MHC-SF, designed by (Keyes,
2006). This short-form (14-item) scale provides measures of
subjective well-being, psychological well-being and social well-
being, claimed to be indicative of the mental health of the indi-
viduals. We do not describe this scale in more detail, as we
used it in our own translation into the Ukrainian language with-
out adaptation (as it is allowed by the author, if the scale is used
for research). The short form has shown good internal consis-
tency (Cronbach α = .80) and discriminatory validity. Test-
retest reliability estimates range from .57 to .82 for the total
scale (Keyes, 2007) The three-factor structure of the short form
—emotional, psychological, and social well-being—has been
confirmed in American representative samples (Keyes 2005,
All the variables were selected to characterize the partici-
pants’ self-efficacy status achieved, their ability to motivate
themselves to achievement, to overcome more successfully the
bitterness of failures and motivate themselves to continue striv-
ing for success.
Internality in the Locus of control was also expected to be an
important factor of the self-reliance acquisition in the course of
pursuing two equally significant activities simultaneously.
The mental health continuum variables, including the subjec-
tive, psychological and social well-being components, are con-
sidered to be indicant of human stability, belief in one’s self-
efficacy. And, finally, the choice of the Hardiness variables,
and those of the dispositional self-actualization tendencies were
considered to be the most probable consequential outcomes of
character development. Hardiness variables have been reported
by other authors to be pertinent to the athletes in kinds of sports
where competition is tough and personal courage is required to
cope with obstacles.
Thus, all the personality variables chosen, in fact character-
ized the dynamic integrated personality resources, necessary for
coping with difficulties, regulating emotions and displaying
The participants of the first group filled in the suggested
questionnaires individually and provided their demographic and
sporting achievement details to the three authors of this project,
who took part in the athletic activities together with them.
Since the research reported in this paper is in progress, the
participants of the second group filled in only three question-
naires: Emotional Intelligence, Hardiness and Mental Health
Continuum. Like the participants of the first group, they were
also split into two opposite clusters on their personality vari-
ables in order to test the hypothesis of the research.
As shown in Figure 1 and Table 1, we have identified using
the method of cluster analysis two comparable clusters of par-
ticipants in group 1, whose personality variables differ signifi-
cantly on all the hypothesized self-efficacy characteristics.
There are evident inter-cluster differences between the means
of all the coping strategies. The participants of 1st cluster as-
sumed to have a higher level of self-efficacy resources, ap-
peared to display a specific pattern of coping strategies opposite
to that of the 2nd cluster participants: higher level of problem
focused coping, lower level of emotion-focused and avoidance
coping as well as the lower level of seeking social support. The
participants of the 2nd cluster display an almost symmetrical
opposite pattern of the coping strategies combination.
As shown in Table 1, the differences between the means of
all the coping strategies variables are significantly different at p
< .001 for the avoidance coping, p < .015 for the prob-
lem-focused coping and p < .012 for seeking social support
The statistically significant differences by t-test are Regis-
tered for all the variables reflecting different aspects of emo-
tional intelligence (see Figure 1 and Table 1). As the test of
emotional intelligence designed by Russian scholar D. Lyusin
(2006, 2009) is a standardized one, it was possible to define
that the participants of both clusters have high and very high
leve1s of emotional intelligence. The integral mean values of
emotional intelligence for both clusters are within the range of
high values (integral level of EI for the cluster 1 is 109.21 and
for cluster 2 = 96.18). The EI data reveal inter-cluster differ-
ences in the majority of this variable, except control of one’s
own emotions and interpersonal EI.
Regarding the dispositional resources of self-evolution meas-
ures the hypothesized differences appeared valid for the “con-
ditions” and “mechanisms” variables, while there were no dif-
ferences for the “need” variable (see Table 2).
The locus of control appeared to be equally high in both
clusters of participants and the differences in the absolute
means did not reach the level of significance.
As to the results of the hardiness measures there appeared a
pattern of inter-cluster differences similar to those of the dispo-
sitional resources of self-evolution measures. While there were
no differences between the means of the second and first clus-
ters on the “commitment” variable, the differences between the
control” and “challenge” variables were found out to be sig-
nificant at p < .009 and p < .049, respectively.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 313
Seeking social support
M e chan isms
Co m m itm en t
Su ccess
Professional occupation
Awareness of one's own emotions
Control of one's own emotions
Control of expression
Interpersonal EI
Intrapersonal EI
Understanding one's own and others emotions
Control of one's and others emotions
Integral EI score
Subjective well-being
Social well-being
Psychological well-being
CopingDispositional self-
evolution resources
HardinessLocus of controlEmotional IntelligenceMental Health
Co n tin uum
Figure 1.
The results of clusterization (k-means algorithm) of 30 university-level student-athletes on the personality variables.
Table 1.
Inter-cluster differences (K-means algorithm) in coping strategies and Emotional Intelligence scores of the group 1 participants (N = 30).
Cluster 1 Cluster 2
Mean SD Mean SD
Problem-focused 64.062 8.020 56.142 8.751 2.586*
Emotion-focused 35.625 8.868 44.357 14.489 2.019
Avoidance 42.063 10.195 53.143 6.188 3.533**
Seeking social support 15.500 3.651 18.857 3.110 2.690*
Emotional Inte ll ig e nc e
Awareness of one’s own emotions 23.786 2.887 27.688 2.301 6.434**
Control of one’s own emotions 14.429 1.697 14.500 1.673 .116
Control of expression 16.929 3.990 12.063 1.569 4.506**
Interpersonal EI 50.071 3.892 47.938 4.389 1.400
Intrapersonal EI 59.143 5.333 48.250 3.890 6.448**
Understanding one’s own and others emotions 51.643 5.017 45.125 3.612 4.121**
Control of one’s and others emotions 57.571 5.653 51.063 4.464 3.521**
Integral EI score 109.214 7.827 96.188 6.431 5.004**
Note: *p < .05, **p < .001.
Table 2.
Inter-cluster differences (K-means algorithm) in the personality variables.
Cluster 1 Cluster 2
Mean SD Mean SD
Dispositional self-evolution resources
Need 35.438 4.516 35.286 5.622 .082
Condition 40.438 5.501 37.786 3.239 1.578
Mechanisms 35.000 4.705 31.786 2.607 2.267*
Locus of control
Success 20.786 4.543 19.750 4.405 .633
Failure 20.643 4.254 19.063 3.820 1.072
Professional occupation 16.571 3.155 17.125 4.617 .378
Commitment 40.429 6.722 37.333 6.787 1.165
Control 34.857 5.869 28.250 6.032 2.826**
Challenge 19.214 4.475 15.583 4.400 2.078*
Mental Health Co ntinuum
Subjective well-being 11.313 2.798 11.500 2.410 .195
Social well-being 12.938 5.323 13.643 4.465 .390
Psychological well-being 21.750 5.859 20.500 5.585 .596
Note: *p < .05, **p < .01.
No differences were found between the measures of the
mental health continuum, the participants of both clusters hav-
ing high levels of emotional, social and psychological well-being
and above medium levels of social and subjective well-being.
Tables 3 and 4 report the descriptive statistics of the demo-
graphic data in group 1 (university-level students). Inspection
of the tables indicates that the two clusters, into which the par-
ticipants were split by the cluster analysis, appeared to be seg-
regated on the gender and sporting qualification variables. In
cluster 1 there are 75% of males, in cluster 2—respectively—
28.6% (see Table 3).
The clusters also differ in the number of participants having
different sporting titles—cluster 1 includes 93.8% of the Dis-
tinguished Masters of Sports and Masters of Sports (see Table
4), while cluster 2 includes 57.1% of the athletes of higher
sporting qualification.
The results of EI measures in group 2 (younger student-ath-
letes) show that participants of cluster 1 display high level of
emotional intelligence: their data lie within the standardized
values of the high-level range (98 - 104). The participants of
cluster 2 have the integral value of EI on the borderline be-
tween the medium and low ranges of the standardized tests. All
the inter-cluster differences of EI measures are statistically
In group 2 the Hardiness measures in clusters 1 and 2 are sta-
tistically significant (see Table 5). The same regularity is ob-
served for the MHC results.
In the sample of the group 2 participants the similar picture is
observed. Cluster 2 with the lower level of the self-efficacy
resources (lower EI and Hardiness scores) is made up of the
student-athletes who have not yet distinguished themselves in
sports. Cluster 1 which has statistically higher EI and Hardiness
scores includes 80% of the participants who have higher sport-
ing achievements. MHC inter-cluster differences are also statis-
tically significant in this group of participants (see Table 5).
Discussion and Conclusion
In the present study an attempt was made to theoretically
substantiate and empirically test the hypothesis that personality
differences manifest themselves most vividly through the inter-
play of the specific life situations and the new contextualized
trait constructs that are formed at the borderlines of abilities and
personality, cognition and personality, values and personality
On two samples of participants—30 university-level student-
athletes and 109 secondary-college student athletes, it was de-
monstrated that the individuals who possess higher levels of
personality resources to cope with stressful situations, emo-
tional intelligence, hardiness manage to successfully cope with
shifting attention between two equally-significant life-tasks: si-
multaneously pursuing sporting and academic activities.
Though the scope of the exploratory empirical research was
limited, the sample of thirty university-level student-athletes
appeared to be clustered (K-means algorithm) on their person-
ality variables, indicative of the level of personality self-evolu-
tion attained, into comparable groups of sixteen and fourteen
participants. The results showed that the participants of the 1st
cluster comprised of the athletes with higher sporting titles
statistically differed on the coping strategies patterns. It allows
to claim that coping strategies can be viewed as an integral
conceptualized dynamic personality trait referred to, using Par-
ker’s and Wood’s terminology, as “specific adaptations”.
Our empirical data also seem to support the possibility of as-
cribing to emotional intelligence the status of a new contextu-
alied integral dynamic trait. The fact that all the participants of z
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 3.
Inter-cluster gender differences.
Males Females
Participants clustered (K-means algorithm) on the personality variables
N % N %
Total number participants
Cluster 1 1275% 4 25% 16
Cluster 2 4 28.6% 1061.4% 14
Note: φ*e = 2.641, sig. p < .0067.
Table 4.
Inter-cluster differences in the percentage of participants with the highest (Distinguished Masters and Masters of sports) and the lowest (Candidates
to the Masters of sports) sporting titles.
Participants with the highest titles
(Distinguished Masters and Masters of Sports)
Participants with the lower titles
(Candidates to the Masters of Sports)
Participants clustered
(K-means algorithm)
on the personality variables N % N %
Total number of
Cluster 1 15 93.8% 1 6.2% 16
Cluster 2 8 57.1% 6 42.9% 14
Note: φ*emp = 2.520, sig. p < .01.
Table 5.
Inter-cluster differences (K-means algorithm) in the personality variables of 109 secondary level students of College of Phisical Education.
Cluster 1 Cluster 2
Mean SD Mean SD
Emotional Inte ll ig e nc e
Awareness of one’s own emotions 21,021 3,685 15,887 2.463 8.704*
Control of one’s own emotions 17,148 2,718 12,935 3.258 7.170*
Control of expression 12,744 3,280 10,419 3.419 3.578*
Interpersonal EI 46,744 6,693 38,596 5.460 6.996*
Intrapersonal EI 50,914 6,810 39,241 6.585 9.031*
Understanding one’s own and others emotions 46,404 6,138 36,258 4.998 9.508*
Control of one’s and others emotions 51,255 6,019 41,580 6.318 8.079*
Integral EI score 97,659 10,428 77,838 8.604 10.866*
Commitment 37.001 2.404 34.048 2.138 6.763*
Control 35.002 2.386 32.080 2.137 6.715*
Challenge 15.553 1.599 13.548 1.752 6.140*
Mental Health Co ntinuum
Subjective well-being 10.085 1.529 8.338 1.085 6.970*
Social well-being 19.978 1.594 18.016 1.674 6.185*
Psychological well-being 23.744 1.607 22.693 1.421 3.613*
Note: *p < .001.
our study (in both groups of 30 and 109 student-athletes) dem-
onstrate the same regularity, namely: the higher is the level of
achievements in sports, the higher is the level of emotional
intelligence attained, speaks in favor of the personality-evolu-
tion potential of the simultaneous pursuing of academic and
athletic activities. The explanation of the role of sporting activi-
ties in the development of EI is prompted by the Laws of Emo-
tions (Frijda, 2006). The thing is there exists “the Law of Mo-
mentum” according to which the intense emotions make a deep
impact on the personality growth. The significant events in life
(like failures in achieving worthy goals and moments of tri-
umph in winning recognition when the person distinguishes
oneself), stimulate the personality evolution. Our empirical
results supports the hypothesis that the specific life situation of
simultaneously pursuing two equally significant activities does
stimulate personality evolution and results in the acquisition of
the new dynamic personality traits (like those of “specific ad-
aptations” and “Emotional intelligence”).
Our empirical data also suggest that this life situations find
reflection in the consciousness of the individuals.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 315
The fact that the participants, belonging to cluster 1 (with
higher level of the personality self-efficacy resources) who in
sample 1 (university-level students) do not differ from the par-
ticipants of cluster 2 in “commitment” (measured by Hardiness
Inventory), but do differ on the scales of “control” and “chal-
lenge”, speaks in favor of our claim that this type of life ex-
perience stimulates the personality evolution.
Equally high levels of the Mental Health Continuum of our
research participants in sample 1 and higher levels in cluster 1
of sample 2 (younger sportsmen with high levels of sporting
achievements) can be interpreted as a favorable consequential
outcome of combining athletic and academic activities over
youth for the personality self-evolution.
Further prospects of this promising research presuppose ex-
tending the sample and continue testing the major hypothesis
on the samples of sportsmen and non-sportsmen, as well as on
the sportsmen going in for the so called collective types of
sports. Our research participants represented an individual type
of sporting activities. We have observed higher levels of intra-
individual emotional intelligence pertinent to them as compared
to the social intelligence. The very fact is an argument in favor
of the hypothesis of this study and may be made an aspect of a
special study on the role of different kinds of sports.
The authors thank Professor Eleonora Nosenko of Dnipro-
petrovsk National University for help in structuring the material
of this research and for language editing of the manuscript.
Financial disclosures: the authors have no conflict of interest to
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