Football Team Social Structure and Perceived Support for Reporting Concussion Symptoms: Insights from a Social Network Analysis

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training

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Heidi A. WaymentNorthern Arizona University

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Ann H. HuffmanNorthern Arizona University

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Monica LiningerNorthern Arizona University

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Patrick C. DoyleNorthern Arizona University

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Social network analysis (SNA) is a uniquely situated methodology to examine the social connections between players on a team, and how team structure may be related to self-reported team cohesion and perceived support for reporting concussion symptoms. Team belonging was positively associated with number of friendship ties (degree; r = .23, p < .05), intermediate ties between teammates (betweenness; r = .21, p < .05), and support from both teammates (r = .21, p < .05) and important others (r = .21, p < .05) for reporting concussion symptoms. Additionally, an SNA-derived measure of social influence, eigenvector centrality, was associated with football identity (r = .34, p < .01), and less support from important others (r = –.24, p < .05) regarding symptom reporting. Discussion focuses on why consideration of social influence dynamics may help improve concussion-related education efforts.

Wayment is with the Department of Psychological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. Huffman, Lininger, and Doyle are with Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

Wayment (Heidi.Wayment@nau.edu) is corresponding author.
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