Date of Submission



The focus of this study is the Filipino athlete, how they engage with their sport and the influence in this process of their cultural background and the way in which they construct their personal identity as athletes. These aspects are further studied in comparison with a sample of their US American counterparts. Athlete Engagement (AE) is a fairly new concept in sport psychology. It has been developed from the concept of employee engagement in industrial/organizational psychology where it was operationalised with the dimensions of vigour, dedication and absorption (Hakanen, Schaufeli & Aloha, 2008). Similar dimensions were explored in the first two research studies on AE by Lonsdale, Hodge and Raedeke (2007) and Lonsdale, Hodge and Jackson (2007). AE has been found to be “a persistent, positive, cognitive-affective experience in sport characterized by confidence, dedication and vigour” (2007, p.451).

The first study in the present enquiry surveyed 70 Filipino and 62 US American athletes. AE was explored in relation to the athletic identity and the individualism- collectivism cultural behaviours of these athletes. AE was measured through the use of the Athlete Engagement Questionnaire (AEQ); athletic identity was measured through the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale-Plus (AIMS-Plus); and individualism- collectivism cultural behaviours were measured through the Auckland Individualism Collectivism Scale (AICS). No differences were found between the levels of global AE reported for the two national groups (p=.489). However at the level of the subscales the US sample engaged with greater confidence (p=.014) and dedication (p=.001) whereas the Filipino group engaged with more vigor (p=.023) and enthusiasm (p=.044). There was no difference found between the two groups for their individualist behaviours (p=.236) or the strength of their athletic identities (p=.739). It was therefore concluded on the basis of these findings that, regardless of their national cultural background, athletes were primarily individualistic and had high levels of athletic identity.

The second study sought to explore these differences further through the use of qualitative techniques. Following the model applied by Lonsdale, Hodge and Raedeke (2007) with a sample of New Zealand athletes, the Scanlan Collaborative Interview Method was used to gather information from 10 Filipino and 10 US American athletes. It was found that although both samples experienced the same engagement dimensions, their experiences were also strongly influenced by their cultural orientation identified as spirituality' among the Filipinos and 'character' among the US American athletes. Both spirituality and character were initially considered as AE dimensions before being interpreted as moderating variables.

The third study examined differences in the way that athletes engage at two different points in the same season, namely before and after a major competition. Filipino (n=26) and US American athletes (n=l 8) from two university elite soccer teams were the subjects.

Surveys were conducted two weeks before their major tournament and two weeks following. Two-way ANOVA with level of AE as the dependent variable, showed no main effect for time (p=.990) but a significant main effect for nationality (p=.013). The US athletes reported significantly higher levels of engagement both before and after the competition. There were no interactions observed (p=.243). Stepwise regression analysis showed that for the US American athletes a model with AI as a significant variable (p<.001; p=.013) was able to significantly predict AE both at the pre- competition stage (R square = .554) and at the post- competition stage (R square=.559) . For the Filipino samples a model containing both individualism (p=.001) and collectivism (p=.017) strongly predicted engagement at the pre- competition stage (R square=.637), whereas at the post competition stage a model (R square=.585) containing only the variable AI (p<.000) provided the best prediction of engagement. It was concluded that the explanation for these differences lay in the interaction of national cultural characteristics with the specific socio-environmental circumstances experienced by the athletes themselves.

It is concluded from this program of studies that the concept of AI has relevance in enhancing AE even where cultural and socio-economic circumstances might provide obstacles to optimal achievement in sport. As such awareness of this is important for athletes, coaches, trainers and sport psychologists in collectivist cultures as they work together to create and implement training programs for athletes to help them perform at the optimal level.


School of Exercise Science

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


189 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Health Sciences