Jean H. Pace

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Scott T. Allison


Past research has shown that individuals seek to establish a positively valued distinctiveness between their own group (ingroup) and other groups (outgroups) to maintain and enhance their self-esteem (Turner, 1981). The purpose of this study was to explore this issue further using intercollegiate student athletes and nonathletes as subjects. Ten athletes and ten nonathletes each generated lists of personality traits that they believed athletes and nonathletes possess. A different group of athletes and nonathletes (N=68) then rated the social desirability of these traits. The results revealed that each group attempted to differentiate itself positively from the other. Athletes and nonathletes tended to describe their own group as more positive than the outgroup, but neither group interpreted as positive those ingroup attributes designated as negative by the outgroup. A factor analysis of the trait ratings provided further support for Turner's model. We discuss the theoretical implications and practical applications of these findings.

Included in

Psychology Commons