The Experience of the College Student-Athlete: How Big or Small of a Role Does Height Play?

Paloscio, Stephanie [Browse]
Senior thesis
50 pages


Shelton, Nicole [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year
Summary note
This study examined the association of an athlete’s height with his or her athletic success by assessing how height, self-esteem (measured by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale), social esteem (their report of how others view their value to the team and performance), and compensation behaviors (measured by the amount of particular behavioral focus on hard work, speed, skill, strength, endurance, etc.) may impact their performance. Princeton University student-athletes were sent a survey to complete. Results showed that showed that male athletes had higher self-esteem than female athletes, short males had the highest self-esteem relative to their male peers, and females of average height had the highest self-esteem relative to their female peers. Social esteem results were opposite from those of self-esteem: short males had the lowest social esteem relative to male peers and average height females had the lowest social esteem relative to female peers. Males reported that others thought they the most value to their team the taller they were. There was a significant main effect of height on whether participants thought height played a role in their sport. Shorter male and female athletes reported the highest compensatory behaviors and short males reported the highest average work rate. For males only, height had a positive association with playing time and performance. These results highlight the role that height plays in athletics.

Supplementary Information