Original Articles

A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Motivational Factors in Kenyan and Danish Middle and Long Distance Elite Runners

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 20, issue 3, 2010 , pages: 421–427
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2010.10820394
Author(s): Anne-Marie ElbeUniversity of Copenhagen,, Christian MadsenUniversity of Copenhagen,, Julie MidtgaardCopenhagen University Hospital,


This study examined similarities and differences in motivational factors and reasons for running between Kenyan and Danish elite runners. Participants were elite middle and long distance runners (distances from 800m to marathon) from Kenya (n = 139, males = 114, females = 25) and Denmark (n = 96, males =69, females = 27) aged 14–42 years, (Mean age = 24.3, SD = 5.6 years). They completed the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (Duda & Nicholls, 1992 in Duda, 1992) and the Achievement Motives Scale-Sport (Elbe & Wenhold, 2005). Participants also answered open-ended questions about their reasons for running. Descriptive statistics indicate that both samples show higher hope for success than fear of failure, and higher task than ego orientation. MANOVA analyses indicate that Kenyan runners scored significantly higher than Danish runners on task orientation and fear of failure. Additionally, Kenyan runners show more extrinsic reasons for running than the Danish runners. In conclusion, the present study documents cultural similarities and differences in motivational orientation among elite Danish and Kenyan runners. These results underscore the importance of cultural sensitivity in sports psychology studies.

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