Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Kevin Weaver

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gollery

Third Advisor

Dr. Duane Aagaard


Spirituality, while not visible, is a central component in athletic competition. This study examined the perceived centrality of spirituality in athletic competition among Christian athletes. To do so, a theological understanding of the image of God was developed and considered participant gender, ethnicity, student’s level of standing, preferred sport, and cultural environment associated with the preferred sport for the purpose of identifying the most robust, statistically significant correlate and predictor of the perceived centrality of spirituality in athletic competition. The quantitative study utilized survey research methodology. A total of 65 student-athletes were approached and the first 53 athletes who provided an email address were invited to participate in the study. The findings indicated that a key correlation was held across demographic stratum. Participants perceived Christian spirituality to be central in athletic competition. A multiple linear regression predicting the centrality of spirituality determined that one of the independent predictor variables, the interrelationship of the spiritual, mental and physical elements, in athletics represented a statistically significant predictor (p < .001). Additionally, the study found that prayer after an athletic contest represented a statistically significant correlate (r = .40; p = .003) and predictor of the centrality of spirituality in athletic competition.