This study examined the effects of participation in intercollegiate athletics on leadership development using a multi-institutional, longitudinal sample of students at four-year institutions. Using Astin’s (1993) Input–Environment–Outcome model, we examined whether athletic participation influenced leadership development using the Socially Responsible Leadership Scale while controlling for students’ background and institutional characteristics. Using pretest/posttest data from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, we found participation in certain types of athletics, particularly team sports, inhibit leadership growth. This study contributes to the literature by using longitudinal data, comparing athletes to nonathletes, and classifying athletes based upon team or individual sports as well as by the contact level in their respective sport. Finally, this study has implications for higher education policy, including practical applications for coaches, administrators, faculty, staff, and students.


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pp. 198-214
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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