Contributions to Global Self-Esteem: Domain Specific Self Perceptions in Athletes Vs. Non-Athletes

*Corresponding author: Jason P. Willow*

Full-Text PDF:

brief research report



The objective of the present study was to examine the influence of social self-concept and physical self-worth on global self-esteem in college athletes compared to their non-competing peers. It was hypothesized that the unique contribution of each variable on self-esteem would be markedly different between the groups.


In a population of 146 undergraduate students, regression analyses revealed significant relationships between the domain-specific self-perceptions and global self-esteem in both groups. It was determined, however, that athletes and non-athletes differed in the distribution of variance explained by the variables. Specifically, the variance in self-esteem in athletes was attributed exclusively to physical self-worth while non-athletes revealed unique contributions from both social self-concept as well as physical self-worth.

Results and Conclusion

The results of the present study may be meaningful from the perspective of athletic identity and retirement from sport. Further investigation is warranted, both qualitatively and quantitatively, that may assist in developing strategies to ease the transition from participating athlete to non-competitive participation. An additional area of interest may be in examining the relationship between the domain-specific self-perceptions and psychological risk for, and impact of, athletic injury.


Self-esteem; Athletes; Social self-concept; Physical self-worth; Non-athletes.