Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Stacey Wood

Reader 2

Michael Spezio

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© 2013 Julia C. Harreschou


All athletes are driven by motivation, sources or reasons to push their bodies to their limits and continue to do so regularly. There have been several studies concerning motivation in typical athletes, and many regarding social motivation in people with High Functioning Autism (HFA), however most have been limited to children, and there have been no investigations into HFA athletes’ motivation. The current study looks into the role of social dimensions in athletics, and tests how one’s gender and placement on the Empathy Questionnaire (EQ), Systemizing Questionnaire (SQ), and on the Autism Questionnaire (AQ) affect intrinsic motivation in athletics. It was predicted that athletes with HFA would demonstrate greater levels of intrinsic motivation than those with lower scores on the Systemizing and Autism Questionnaires. The second hypothesis predicted that those who are more prone to systematizing (and perhaps higher on the AQ) would be more intrinsically motivated than those who are more prone to empathizing, as social rewards may not be as important to them. To uncover the differences between intrinsic motivation due to placement on the AQ, SQ and EQ, as well as differences between sexes and coaching feedback, a combination of Linear Regression Analyses, Independent Groups T-Tests and Correlations (n=25) were used. The first hypothesis was invalid due to lack of recruitment of HFA participants, but the second was supported by the data.