Perceptions of Cohesion by Youth Sport Participants

in The Sport Psychologist

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Mark A. EysWilfrid Laurier University

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Todd M. LougheadUniversity of Windsor

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Steven R. BrayMcMaster University

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Albert V. CarronUniversity of Western Ontario

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Cohesion is an important small group variable within sport. However, the conceptualization and examination of cohesion have predominately been oriented toward adult populations. The purpose of the current study was to garner an understanding of what cohesion means to youth sport participants. Fifty-six team sport athletes (Mage = 15.63 ± 1.01 years) from two secondary schools took part in focus groups designed to understand participants’ perceptions of (a) the definition of cohesion and indicators of cohesive and noncohesive groups and (b) methods used to attempt to develop cohesion in their groups. Overall, the responses to part (a) yielded 10 categories reflecting a group’s task cohesion and 7 categories reflecting a group’s social cohesion. Finally, participants highlighted eight general methods through which their groups developed cohesion. Results are discussed in relation to a current conceptualization of cohesion and affiliation considerations within a youth sport environment.

Eys is with the Depts of Kinesiology/Physical Education and Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5. Loughead is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Bray is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Carron is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

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