Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Major Professor

Leslee A. Fisher

Committee Members

Lars Dzikus, Jennifer Ann Morrow, Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Abstract

The construct of running identity has been explored in both the sport psychology (e.g., Busanich, McGannon, & Schinke, 2012) and sport sociology literature (e.g., Allen-Collinson & Hockey, 2007). In comparison to other athletes, runners are typically more susceptible to exercise addiction (Coen & Ogles, 1993; Sachs, 1981), eating disorders (Wheeler, Wall, Belcastro, Conger, & Cumming, 1986), and preoccupation with leanness (Allen-Collinson & Hockey, 2007; Busanich et al., 2015). While instruments such as the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS; Brewer, Van Raalte, & Linder, 1993) and the Public-Private Athletic Identity Scale (PPAIS; Webb & Nasco, 2006) measure athletic identity, there are no instruments to date that assess the psychosocial nuances of running identity, or the degree to which one identifies with the runner role. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to develop a reliable and valid scale that assesses running identity. Items were created based on a literature review and a modified Delphi technique (Hsu & Sandford, 2007). Four hundred thirty-seven high-level U.S. runners completed 30 preliminary items in addition to the AIMS, PPAIS, demographic items, and three open-ended questions about running identity. An exploratory factor analysis with principal axis factoring and direct oblimin rotation was utilized to analyze the psychometric properties of the instrument. The resulting solution comprised 11 items and three factors: (a) Running Performance (alpha = .82); (b) Running Exclusivity (alpha = .81); and (c) Running Self-Identity (alpha = .67). The Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient for the overall scale was .85. Running Identity Scale scores were positively correlated with both AIMS (r = .69, p < .01) and PPAIS scores (r = .56, p < .01), which demonstrated convergent validity. Implications and future directions are also discussed.

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