Sport and migrants' acculturation

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

  • Eleftheria Morela
In the era of globalization, multicultural societies are common-place in most
developed countries. Therefore, new challenges at both national and international
level have come to the fore, and successful acculturation appears to be the key for
maintaining social cohesion and promoting multiculturalism. Sport is considered to be
a vehicle for bringing people together, and recently there has been an increasing
policy interest in the use of sport as a venue for promoting social integration and
intercultural dialogue. Regardless of its political significance, research on the
integrative role of sport is limited and findings seem equivocal. Overall the purpose of
the present study was to investigate whether participation in organized sport can affect
the acculturation process of young adolescents from both minority and majority
populations in Greece, and to explore features ofthe sporting environment that are
likely to associate with positive acculturation outcomes. Fourseparate studies were
conducted. The first study is a systematic review that aims to provide a complete and
exhaustive summary of the current literature relevant to the integrative role of sport,
in order to better understand the acculturation process and to identify factors that may
regulate the acculturation process through sport participation. The second study
focuses on adolescent migrants and aimed at identifying differences in acculturation
attitudes and acculturative stress among young migrants who participate in sports and
those who do not.Furthermore, it investigates the role of the coach-created sporting
environment in the acculturation process within those participating in sport. The
results revealed significant differences regarding the level of acculturative stress with
migrant participants engaging in sports scoring lower on acculturative stress than their
counterparts that did not. In addition, valuable findingsemerged regarding the coach’s
influence on young migrants’ acculturation, where an autonomy supportive coaching
style was positively linked to integrative patterns and negatively related to
acculturative stress. Considering that acculturation is a two-way process involving
both migrant and host populations, the next two studies were conducted with Greek
young adolescents in order to enhance our understanding of the complexity of the
acculturation process. In this regard, the purpose of the third study was to explore the
acculturation attitudes of Greek adolescents as a function of sport participation, and,
for those participating in sport, to investigate the role of the motivationalenvironment.
The results showed that athletes scored higher than non-athletes on attitudes towards
multicultural contact. Furthermore, an empowering motivational environment
characterized by a mastery climate, supportive of the needs of autonomy, competence,
and relatedness, was positively linked to attitudes favoring migrants' maintenance of
their culture and development of interaction with the host culture, whereas a
disempowering motivational environment characterized by a performance climate and
controlling coaching behaviour was negatively linked to such attitudes. Based on the
results of the third study, the final study aimed to provide a preliminary insight into
the socio-moral factors that may explain why an empowering motivational climate is
associated with integrative acculturation attitudes among the host population.
Towards this direction, empathy and altruism were examined as potential mediators of
the relationship between empowering motivational climate and acculturation attitudes.
The results revealed that an empowering motivational environment could predict
empathy and altruism, which in turn predicted positive acculturation attitudes of the
host population towards migrants. Overall, the present dissertation provides valuable
evidence regarding the role of sport as an acculturation agent, with particular
emphasis on the importance of appropriate motivational environment. This evidence
enhances our understanding of how sport can be used as an effective socializing
context and introduces new directions for further investigating acculturation in a
diversifying world.
ForlagDepartment of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen
Antal sider198
StatusUdgivet - 2016

ID: 173532854