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Sport Psychology The Impact of Group Size in an Exercise Setting



376 – 387

Two independent studies were conducted to examine the impact of group size in an exercise setting. In the first, archival data from 47 exercise classes varying in size from 5 to 46 members were used to examine the relationship between group size and behavior. Attention and retention were high in small and large exercise classes, but reduced in medium and moderately large classes. The second study examined the relationship between the size of exercise classes and specific social psychological correlated of group size including the participants’ perceptions of conspicuousness, quality and quantity of interactions with their leader, their opportunities for social interaction with other members, the level of crowding an density, and satisfaction. Trend analyses showed a curvilinear relationship between exercise class size and participants’ perceptions of the opportunities available for social interaction and feelings o crowding and density. Both the small and large classes were perceived more favorably than the medium classes. The relationships between class size and perceptions of the instructor as well as the level of satisfaction experienced were linear – positive perceptions decreased systematically as class size increased.

Authors: Albert V. Carron, Lawrence R. Brawley, W. Neil Widmeyer

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