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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 101-105

Personality characteristics, sports types, and demographics of Kano-State professional athletes

1 Department of Clinical Services, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Kware, Sokoto, Nigeria
2 Medical Services Unit, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Barnawa, Kaduna, Nigeria
3 Department of Psychiatry, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication13-Apr-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Tajudeen Abiola
Medical Services Unit, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Barnawa, Kaduna
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.180151

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Background: Personality traits do influence the type of games that professional athletes participate in. Specific studies on this phenomenon are scare in Nigeria. Purpose of Study: This study examined the personality characteristics that influence some Nigerian professional athletes in their choice of games as individual or team sportsmen. It also relates significant personality traits with participants' sociodemographic characteristics to identify any influence that may exist. Methods: Personality characteristics of 250 Kano-State professional athletes were assessed using the 100-item International Personality Item Pool. Information was also collected on participants' sociodemographics, psychoactive substance using status, and game types. Results: Significant differences (P < 0.05) were noted in some personality traits between individual sport athletes and team sportsmen. Specifically, individual athletes were more extraverted and lower in conscientiousness (CO) compared to team sportsmen. Sociodemographic distributions based on significant personality traits of extraversion (EX) and CO show female gender to significantly contribute more to EX and less to CO. Other demographics significantly influencing higher EX is playing as professionals for <6 years. That associated with higher CO is to have <13 years of Western education. Conclusion: The study indicated that professional athletes' choice of sports types were influenced by specific personality dimensions and that some demographic variables do play some roles in this.

  Abstract in Arabic 

لخصائص الشخصية، وأنواع الرياضة، والتركيبة السكانية من الرياضيين المحترفين في ولاية كانو / نيجيريا
خلفية البحث: السمات الشخصية تؤثر في بعض أنواع الألعاب التي يشارك فيها الرياضيون المحترفون. و قدأجريت دراسات محددة بشأن هذه الظاهرة في نيجيريا.
الغرض من الدراسة: تناولت هذه الدراسة الخصائص الشخصية التي تؤثر على بعض الرياضيين المحترفين النيجيرين عند اختيارهم للألعاب فرادى أو ضمن فريق. اذ أنها تتعلق أيضا بالسمات الشخصية المهمة بالاضافة الى خصائص المشاركين الاجتماعية والديموغرافية حتى يتم تحديد أي تأثير عند اختيارهم نوع ما من الرياضة.
الوسائل: تم تقييم الخصائص الشخصية لدى 250 من الرياضيين المحترفين في ولاية كانو باستخدام 100 من البنود الدولية. وتم جمع المعلومات عن الخصائص الشحصية حسب التوزيع السكانبي للمشاركين، لتحديد اي نأثير قد يحدث عند اختيارهم أنواع اللعبة.
النتائج: لوحظت فروق جوهرية (P<0.05) في بعض سمات الشخصية بين رياضيي الرياضة الفردية ورياضيي الفريق. وعلى وجه التحديد، كانت الرياضيين الفرادى أكثر انفتاحا ووعيا مقارنة مع رياضيي الفرق. بما فى ذلك التوزيعات الاجتماعية والديموغرافية والسمات الشخصية الهامة مثل الانبساط (EX) والانفتاح والتى ظهرت بشكل أكبر لدى الجنس الأنثوي. اماالتركيبات السكانية الأخرى فقد كان لها اثركبير في ارتفاع الانفتاح خاصة لدى المحترفين لفترة تزيد اكثر من 6 سنوات. أما ارتفاع العى كان اكبر ظهورا عند الذين لديهم التعليم الغربي لاكثر من 13 عاما.
الخلاصة: أشارت الدراسة إلى أن اختيار الرياضيين المحترفين لأنواع الرياضة تتأثرت بالأبعاد الشخصية المحددة، وأن بعض المتغيرات الديموغرافية لا تلعب لا تلعب دورا بارزا في هذا المجال.

Keywords: Kano professional athletes, personality traits, related demographics, sports types

How to cite this article:
Yunusa S, Abiola T, Udofia O. Personality characteristics, sports types, and demographics of Kano-State professional athletes. Saudi J Sports Med 2016;16:101-5

How to cite this URL:
Yunusa S, Abiola T, Udofia O. Personality characteristics, sports types, and demographics of Kano-State professional athletes. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Oct 1];16:101-5. Available from: https://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2016/16/2/101/180151

  Introduction Top

Comparing the personality profiles of professional athletes with recreational athletes or nonathletes had been the focus of several studies. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] Three abilities of physical stamina, skill sets, and mental preparedness had been described to make the difference between professional athletes compared to recreational athletes. [4] Top athletic performances among the professionals were hinged more on their mental variables of personality and other psychological traits. This helped to focus researches on professionals' personality variables based on the game types as individual or team sports players.

Studies on professional athletes showed that personality traits differ among game types as either team-based or individualized. Conscientiousness (CO) seemed to be consistently higher in individual sportsmen compared to team athletes. [4],[5] One study found agreeableness (AG) to be significantly higher among team athletes compared to individual sportsmen. [5] Otherwise, traits of neuroticism, openness to experience (OE), extraversion (EX), and AG seemed not to be consistently represented like CO as individual athletes were compared to team sportsmen.

Previous Nigerian studies on athletes were centered more on comparison between professional and recreational athletes' personality profile and less on professional sportsmen's personality traits influencing the choice of sport participation. [6],[7] First, this study emphasized the latter by investigating what personality characteristics influence the choice of professional games as individual or team sports. Second, the significant personality traits' outcome based on the sports' type were related by their mean scores with the participants' sociodemographic characteristics to identify any influence that may exist.

  Materials and Methods Top

Study participants and procedure

Ethical clearance for the study was obtained from the Ethical Committee of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano-Nigeria. Personality characteristics of 250 professional athletes who represented Kano-State in the 2008 annual sports festival were assessed using the 100-item International Personality Item Pool (IPIP-100) after obtaining informed consent from them. All participants filled the study instruments with the aid of research assistants. Information on the type of game as individual (i.e., track and field, boxing, judo, swimming, shot-put, javelin, long jump, and weightlifting) or team (i.e., football, volleyball, and basketball) sports; use of psychoactive substances; and sociodemographics were also collected.

The 100-item International Personality Item Pool

The IPIP Big-Five factor markers by Goldberg et al. [8] consists of a 50- and 100-item version and are available free on the IPIP website. The current study utilized the 100-item version consisting of 20 items for each of the Big-Five personality factors: Extraversion (EX), Agreeableness (AG), Conscientiousness (CO), Emotional Stability (ES), and Intellect/Openness to experience (IN/OE). Each item was scored on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (very inaccurate) to 5 (very accurate). [8] These markers had been translated into more than 10 languages, [9] with good internal consistency and relate strongly to major dimensions of personality assessed by the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised (EPQ-R), and the Big Five Inventory (BFI). [8],[10] The 100-item IPIP had been validated for use in Nigeria. [11]

Data analysis

Data collected were analyzed using IBM SPSS version 21, 2012 (IBM Corp in Armonk, New York). Frequency distributions were used to describe the sociodemographic variables of age, gender, marital status, level of education, type of sport engaged in (i.e., individual vs. team), and psychoactive substance using status. T-test was used to determine the significant personality dimensions between the two groups of sportsmen (i.e., individual vs. team), as well as the sociodemographic distribution of significant personality traits. Significant level was set at P < 0.05, two-tailed.

  Results Top

[Table 1] shows the sociodemographic characteristics of the participants. Over four-fifth (i.e., 82.8%) of the participants are <30 years in age with 90% males and 73.6% not married. More than two-third (i.e., 72.8%) play individual games, 54.0% have been playing as professionals for more than 6 years, 61.2% practiced for <4 h/day, and 79.6% trained for more than 4 days in a week. Close to 8 in 10 (i.e., 76.4%) participants have no knowledge of other teammate doping to enhance performance and 6.8% admits to doping self. Majority (i.e., 82.4%) has an aspiration to play at foreign and 47.6% has more than 12 years of Western education.
Table 1: Sociodemographics of participants

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As shown in [Table 2], significant differences (P < 0.05) were noted in the EX and CO dimensions in terms of sport types. Individual sport athletes are more extroverted and lower in CO when compared with those playing team games. No significant difference was noted in the AG, ES, and IN between individual and team sportspersons.
Table 2: Relation of individual sports athletes' personality traits compared to team sportsmen

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Results shown in [Table 3] are the distribution of the sociodemographic variables according to the significant personality traits of EX and CO. Gender is the only demographics significantly contributing to both of these personality dimensions. Specifically, female gender contributed more to EX and less to CO. Other demographics significantly influencing being higher on EX is to have been playing as professionals for <6 years compared to those with 6 years and more experience. That associated with higher CO is to have <13 years of Western education compared to those with 13 years and more educational years.
Table 3: Sociodemographics distribution of the mean scores of significant personality traits from individual and team sports

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  Discussion Top

In this investigation, we reported that EX is significantly higher among the individual sportspersons compared to team sport athletes. This implies that individual athletes are extra assertive, more passionate, and have higher activity level when compared to team sportspersons. [12] This might be related to why individual athletes draw more attention to self (i.e., more self-obligated) and focused routinely on games excitements. [4] Nonetheless, the overall extrovertedness of our study participants (mean = 57.76; standard deviation [SD] = 5.21) is quite lower compared to that of hospital-related persons (mean = 64.52; SD = 6.32) from a previous study in the same environment, [11] apparently showing the preponderant verbosity of persons learning and delivering hospital-related activity.

Individual sportsmen are also significantly different from team sportsmen by their lower score on CO. Team sport athletes being more on CO are expected to be extra industrious, totally focused, highly organized, and well dependable sportspersons. [12] This is contrary to the findings of two Iranian studies in which individual athletes score higher on CO than team athletes. [4],[5] However, we posited that higher degree of CO is what makes team game athletes to be able to play as a group despite their diffused responsibilities. This may also be related to the higher score of team athletes on AG compared to individual sportsmen, even though this is not a significant difference. Interestingly also, we found that participants in this study had overall relatively higher degree of CO (mean = 79.64; SD = 9.72) than nonsporting adults (mean = 72.72; SD = 1.20) from an earlier study from the same environment. [11] This may be reflecting the extra focus needed by the sportspersons to remain in the professional league.

Sociodemographics significantly influencing sportspersons being more extroverted is belonging to the female gender and to have been playing professional league for <6 years. These both reflected variables influencing the ways of acting in professional sporting scenes to gain more acceptance and subsequent stay. CO domain, on the other hand, is significantly influenced by belonging to the male gender and having <13 years of formal education. We posited that both of these variables carry the zeal of wanting to succeed in sports so as to be able to provide for self and dependents. Overall, gender provides an example of nonmodifiable variable of significant sociodemographics, influencing personality trait and years of training with educational levels as modifiable variables.

A snag in this study despite the moderate sample size is that the results lack generalization to other professional athletes in other parts of Nigeria. Specifically, this may be due to the multiethnicity of Nigeria and its diverse environmental conditions.

  Conclusion Top

The study reported that specific personality dimensions of EX and CO significantly influence sports' types and that some unique demographic characteristics of Kano professional athletes are related. These variables are significant and determine several factors on their professionalism and in the choice of sports' types.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Fortier MS, Vallerand RJ, Briere NM, Provencher PJ. Competitive and recreational sport structures and gender: A test of their relationship with sport motivation. Int J Sport Psychol 1995;26:24-39.  Back to cited text no. 1
Watson AE, Pulford BD. Personality differences in high risk sports amateurs and instructors. Percept Mot Skills 2004;99:83-94.  Back to cited text no. 2
Filho MG, Ribeiro LC, Garcia FG. Comparison of personality characteristics between high-level Brazilian athletes and non-athletes. Rev Bras Med Esporte 2005;11:114-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ilyas G, Salehian MH. Comparison of personality traits between individual and team athletes. Middle East J Sci Res 2011;9:527-30.  Back to cited text no. 4
Nia ME, Besharat MA. Comparison of athletes′ personality characteristics in individual and team sports. J Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2010;5:808-12.  Back to cited text no. 5
Vipene J, Ojoko S. A study of the personality characteristics of Nigerian swimmers. Afr J Agric Teacher Educ 2002;11:159-64.  Back to cited text no. 6
Vipene JB. Personality profile of Nigerian male athletes in selected sports. Asian J Manag Sci Educ 2013;2:177-86.  Back to cited text no. 7
Goldberg LR, Johnson JA, Eber HW, Hogan R, Ashton MC, Cloninger CR, et al. The International Personality Item Pool and the future of public-domain personality measures. J Res Pers 2006;40:84-96.  Back to cited text no. 8
Gow AJ, Whiteman MC, Pattie A, Deary IJ. Goldberg′s "IPIP" Big-Five factor markers: Internal consistency and concurrent validation in Scotland. Pers Individ Dif 2005;39:317-29.  Back to cited text no. 9
Goldberg LR, Rosolack TK. The Big Five factor structure as an integrative framework: An empirical comparison with Eysenck′s P-E-N model. In: Halverson CF, Kohnstamm GA, Artin RP, editors. The Developing Structure of Temperament and Personality from Infancy to Adulthood. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 1994.  Back to cited text no. 10
Abiola T, Udofia O, Shehu Y. Reliability and concurrent validity of the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) Big-Five factor markers in Nigeria. Niger J Psychiatry 2012;10:35-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Goldberg LR. The structure of phenotypic personality traits. Am Psychol 1993;48:26-34.  Back to cited text no. 12


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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