Occupational Decision Factors Associated With The Choice Of Physical Education And Sport-related Occupations

Por: D. Hatziharistos, K. Amoutzas, K. Emmanouel e K. Zounhia.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Research on physical education teacher preparation is dominated by the occupational socialization theory. Lawson [1]
defined occupational socialization as "all kinds of socialization that initially influence persons to enter the field of physical
education and later are responsible for their perceptions and actions as teachers educators and teachers’. He defined three
distinct phases of socialization: acculturation, professional socialization, and organizational socialization [2]. Significant
others and process of decision-making are important factors influencing professional socialization of physical education
students [3]. The purpose of this study was to identify the influence of significant others (family members, friends,
physical education teacher, other teacher, coach) and other occupational decision factors (age of decision, firmness of
decision, long range plans) on the occupational choice of Greek physical education students.

The subjects for this study were 564 3rd and 4th year physical education students. 470 students (225 male and 245 female)
were from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Science of the University of Athens and 94 students (40 male and
54 female) from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Science of the Democritus University of Thrace. The subjects
completed a 22-item questionnaire, which consisted of three parts. The first part of the questionnaire collected information
on personal attributes (age, gender, type of high school, grade point average, information about parents). The second
section of the questionnaire elicited information on significant others’ influences on occupational choice by using 5-point
Likert scale ranging from least influential (1) to most influential (5). In a third section, students were asked to answer when
they chose their occupation, the firmness of their decision, and what they expected to be doing 5 and 10 years after
graduation. The descriptive statistic indexes were calculated. The percentages of occupational decision factors categories’
were compared using chi-squares.

Coaches, parents and friends were the most important significant others who influenced physical education students’
occupational choices. Other school personnel, physical education teachers and siblings were the less significant others
(table 1). More PE students (69.0%, X2=80.8, p<0.001) were early deciders and 40.1% were sure for their choice
(X2=22.2, p<0.001). After 5 years 62.5% of the PE students believe to stay in sport-related occupations, while after 10
years 43.6% of the PE students believe to stay in sport-related occupations.
Table 1. Mean Likert scores (1-5) for Table 2. Percentages and Chi-Squares of PE students for
significant others. occupational decision factors.

The results of this study showed that the significant others slightly affected PE students in their occupational choice, in
comparison to Dodds et al [3], who in a related study, found that the school personnel influenced students much more (School
coach, M=3.6 and PE teacher M=3.5). The majority of Greek PE students are early deciders in occupational choice, nevertheless
the firmness of their decision decreases significantly over time and the percentage that intends to remain in the chosen field also
decreases significantly. Dodds et al [3] found lower percentage of early deciders (46.3%), however they found higher percentage
of students’ firmness of decision (47.2%) and much higher percentage (85.5% after 5 years and 80.1% after 10 years) of students
intending to stay in sport-related occupations. The data of this study revealed the importance of the influences on occupational
choice. It is suggested, in order to explain particularities of decision factors on occupational choices of PE students, that future
studies investigate the above-mentioned variables, in relation to their personal attributes, social-economic status, occupational
attractors, family activity background and high school background.

[1] Lawson, H. A. (1986). Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 5, 107-116.
[2] Lawson, H. A. (1983). Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 2, 3-16.

[3] Dodds P. et al. (1991). Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 161-176.

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