Open Access
Kaye, Miranda
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
August 21, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Robert Scott Kretchmar, Dissertation Advisor
  • Robert Scott Kretchmar, Committee Chair
  • Linda L Caldwell, Committee Member
  • Danielle Symons Downs, Committee Member
  • Steriani Elavsky, Committee Member
  • sportspersonship
  • sport ethics
  • measurement
  • scale development
This dissertation investigates aspects of ethics in sport and develops a new, integrative measure to assess unsportspersonlike behavior. In chapter two, I review previous research examining sport ethics. Based on the limitations identified, including the inconsistent use of theoretical and operational definitions, reliability and validity issues in the measurement of moral behavior in sport, and the limited range of behaviors examined, unsportspersonlike behavior is reconceptualized as an interpersonal construct defined from its core aspects of harm, injustice, and violations of others’ rights. Chapter three establishes the basis for classifying behaviors as unsportspersonlike or interpersonal. Drawing on philosophic theorizing and Interpersonal Theory, I detail three main points: (1) morality is interpersonal in nature; (2) sport competition is an interpersonal and a moral domain; and (3) unsportspersonlike behavior is interpersonal in nature and is inherently moral in nature. Through this, a variety of unsportspersonlike behaviors are organized around the major interpersonal characteristics of agency and communion. Chapter four examines the structure, validity, and interpersonal nature of the newly developed Scale of Unsportspersonlike Behavior (SUB). The underlying eight factor model with higher order factors representing interpersonal unsportspersonlike behavior is confirmed. Evidence of internal, convergent, concurrent, and discriminant validity is provided. Participant-based characteristics influenced the type of interpersonal unsportspersonlike behavior athletes engaged in. Men participating in sports with high levels of contact and athletes having longer sport experience reported more hostile-dominant behaviors. Women participating in non-contact sports, and competitors having limited sport experience reported more submissive behaviors. Chapter reconfirms the structure and content validity of the SUB with an independent sample. Similar participant-related differences in hostile-dominant and hostile-submissive behaviors were also evident. These findings are discussed in relation to theory, past research, and their practical application.