Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Criminal Justice and Criminology

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Stephen E. Brown

Committee Members

Marian H. Whitson, Larry S. Miller


Athletics has been regarded as a means of encouraging youth to build character, discipline, and develop healthy habits. However, literature has emerged that asserts athletics do not prevent deviant behaviors, but instead, influence one to commit deviant acts. As such, this research examined effects of athletics on the commission of deviant behaviors via learning and techniques of neutralization theories.

Subjects for this project included 325 college students from a southern regional university. Data were generated through the use of a self-report questionnaire, which measured variables pertaining to self-reported deviant behaviors including perceptions of peer deviance, neutralizing indicators, and sports participation.

The findings suggest some support for each theoretical model, differential association and techniques of neutralization. Both theoretical models were supported, in general, with learning theory having the most support. When participation in sporting activity was considered, however, the results consistently showed no effect on various types of self-reported deviant behavior.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.