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Comparative analysis of the religious orientation and spiritual and character development of Christian student-athletes at a Christian university and a secular university: an exploratory study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Donald Glen Schultz (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Thomas Martinek

Abstract: Program evaluation is an essential part of the ongoing success of any organization. Program evaluations can be done for entire organizations or for any entity within that organization. Christian university athletic programs need to be evaluated frequently to assess whether the organization is fulfilling its goals and objectives. This study sought to find a correlation between a Christian university athletic department’s curriculum for its student-athletes and the spiritual orientations that these student-athletes exhibited as a component of program evaluation. This was done through a two-phase approach which was duplicated on a secular campus for comparative purposes. First, the goals, objectives and outcomes of the university’s spiritual and character development curriculum was assessed through qualitative data received from interviews from key university personnel and from student data collected from demographic forms. Secondly, quantitative data was compiled through the use of the Revised Religious Life Inventory (Hills, Francis and Robbins, 2004). This survey has 24 items and uses a nine point scale for each question. This survey has three subscales that seek to determine a person’s spiritual orientation. The first category would receive the lowest total mean score and is called intrinsic orientation, which refers to people who live their religion; the second category would receive a higher total mean and is called quest, which means that a person is questioning his or her faith; and the third category has the highest total mean and is called extrinsic, which is a person who uses religion. This study also looked for differences in gender results between the two campuses. The N for the Christian university was 322, with 209 men and 113 women; and the N for the secular university was 58, with 41 men and 17 women. The findings of this study from the interviews provided qualitative data that showed a distinct difference between the two universities in the spiritual and character curricula and the ensuing outcomes in the student body responses. Overall the intrinsic qualitative responses in the interviews were 93% and just 7% extrinsic, compared to the secular university which had 67% intrinsic statements and 33% extrinsic. Neither interview group made statements that could be coded in the quest category. The students made two types of qualitative responses on the demographics forms. The first was in relation to how the curricula affected them in their spiritual and character growth, and the second related to their involvement in Christian activities. The percentage of students leaving remarks on the form at the Christian university was 70% versus those leaving remarks at the secular university of 30%. The remarks that students gave were codified as intrinsic, extrinsic and quest. The Christian university remarks were 41% intrinsic, 24% extrinsic and 21% quest. The secular university results were 11% intrinsic, 78% extrinsic, and 2% quest. The findings of this study for the quantitative data also showed a significant difference between the two groups of Christian student-athletes on the respective campuses. A 2 x 2 ANOVA was computed to compare the two schools and gender mean scores. The analysis indicated that there was a significant difference between the two means. Therefore, there is a significant difference between the two universities in terms of spiritual orientation; the Christian university shows greater intrinsic orientation than the secular university. A 2 x 2 ANOVA was computed to compare male and female students and the two universities on the total scores of the Revised Religious Life Inventory. There was a significant difference between the two university means (F = 35.38, p < 0.05). The mean for the Christian university was 4.4 (SD = 0.81) and the mean for the secular university was 1.30 (SD = 1.30). The analysis also indicated that there was a significant difference between the two means for gender (F = 3.61, p < 0.05). There was no interaction effect between gender and school variables (F = 2.80, p > 0.05). A 2 x 2 MANOVA also was computed to compare male and female students and the two universities on the three subsets of the Revised Religious Life Inventory: Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Quest orientations. A significant multivariate F (Wilk’s Lambda)was found for the university variable (F = 36.94, p < 0.001). A non-significant multivariate F (Wilk’s Lambda) was found for the gender variable (F = 1.73, p > 0.10). A significant multivariate F (Wilk’s Lambda) indicated that there was an interaction effect between gender and university variables (F = 2.8, p < 0.05). Because of the interaction effects, interpretation of the findings solely focused on gender differences within each of the university groups. This study concluded that there are significant differences between those student athletes on a Christian university campus compared to a secular university campus in relation to spiritual orientation with those on the Christian campus scoring higher in the area of intrinsic orientation.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Athletic, Gender, Program Evaluation, Religious Orientation, Revised Religious Life Inventory, Student-athletes
Subjects
Universities and colleges $x Religion.
College athletes $z United States $x Attitudes.
Christian education.
College sports.
College athletes $x Religious life $z United States.
Universities and colleges $x Religion.
Christian college students $x Sports.
Christian education.