Understanding Social Identity and Intrateam Moral Behavior in Competitive Youth Ice Hockey: A Narrative Perspective

in The Sport Psychologist

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Mark W. BrunerNipissing University

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Ian D. BoardleyUniversity of Birmingham

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Veronica AllanQueen’s University

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Christopher ForrestNipissing University

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Zachary RootNipissing University

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Jean CôtéQueen’s University

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Social identity has been found to play a salient role in regulating teammate behavior among youth participating in a range of sports (Bruner, Boardley, & Côté, 2014). This study aimed to better understand social identity by examining how it may influence intrateam moral behavior specifically in competitive youth ice hockey. Thirty-six male and female competitive youth ice hockey players from nine teams participated in narrative interviews. Using a thematic narrative analysis, three distinct narratives were identified: (1) family-oriented team narrative, (2) performance-oriented team narrative, and (3) dominance-oriented team narrative. Within each of the narratives, a reciprocal relationship between social identity and intrateam moral behavior was reported such that young athletes’ social identities developed through team membership may influence and be influenced by their moral behavior toward teammates. Collectively, the results extend previous research by providing an in-depth qualitative understanding of social identity and intrateam moral behavior in youth sport.

Bruner, Forrest, and Root are with the School of Physical and Health Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Boardley is with the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. Allan is with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Côté is with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Mark W. Bruner at markb@nipissingu.ca.
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