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Thomas D. Raedeke and Alan L. Smith

Although it is widely accepted that coping resources theoretically influence the stress-burnout relationship, it is unclear whether key internal (i.e., coping behaviors) and external (i.e., social support satisfaction) coping resources have stress-mediated or moderating influences on athlete burnout. Therefore we examined whether coping behaviors and social support satisfaction (a) had indirect stress-mediated relationships with burnout or (b) disjunctively (independently) or conjunctively (in combination) moderated the relationship between perceived stress and burnout. Senior level age-group swimmers (N = 244; ages 14–19 years) completed a questionnaire assessing burnout, perceived stress, general coping behaviors, and social support satisfaction. The results revealed that perceived stress, general coping behaviors, and social support satisfaction were related to burnout. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that general coping behaviors and social support satisfaction had stress-mediated relationships with overall burnout levels. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses failed to support the disjunctive and conjunctive moderation hypotheses. Results thus support stress-mediated perspectives forwarded in previous research.

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Christine E. Pacewicz and Alan L. Smith

Interpersonal exchanges may contribute to athletes’ motivational and well-being experiences through their contribution to athletes’ feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is understudied in sport, yet it is potentially salient in connecting social relationships with motivational processes and well-being of athletes. The purpose of the current research was to examine (a) the association of aspects of teammate relationships with athletes’ perceptions of burnout and engagement and (b) whether loneliness explained these associations. Adolescent athletes (N = 279) completed established measures of teammate relationships, loneliness, burnout, and engagement. The mediational model was invariant between boys and girls. Loneliness mediated the relationship of social support (β = −0.14, 0.10), corumination (β = 0.09, −0.06), and appraisal of peer rejection (β = 0.11, −0.08) with burnout and engagement, respectively. Continued examination of athletes’ loneliness will extend understanding of athletes’ motivational and well-being experiences and inform the promotion of adaptive sport experiences.

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Alan L. Smith, Karl Erickson, and Leapetswe Malete

Youth sport research has expanded considerably since the founding of the Michigan State University Institute for the Study of Youth Sports in 1978. This research has resulted in meaningful advancements in knowledge and proved enormously valuable in both safeguarding athlete well-being and fostering positive sport experiences. There are still knowledge gaps in the scholarly literature that have important implications for youth sport participants and programs. Hopefully, the quantity and quality of the scholarly literature on youth sport will continue to expand in response to broader societal changes and scientific advances. This paper addresses the future of youth sport scholarship, focusing on 3 selected areas of promise. The first pertains to positive youth development work, including efforts tied to fostering economic opportunity among young people. The second pertains to youth sport as a domain for addressing public health, an emerging area with respect to physical activity promotion, injury surveillance, physical well-being, and mental health. Finally, the paper addresses implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for youth sport and how this might shape scholarship over the coming decades. Pursuing these areas of research while attending to important opportunities for and challenges to the promotion of developmentally appropriate youth sport experiences is expected to meaningfully contribute to knowledge and, ultimately, the well-being of young athletes.

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Anthony G. Delli Paoli, Alan L. Smith, and Matthew B. Pontifex

Social exclusion can produce harmful affective and cognitive responses that undermine healthy functioning. Physical activity is known to have acute affective and cognitive effects that are adaptive and therefore may mitigate these responses. The purpose of this study was to assess walking as a strategy to reduce the effects of social exclusion on affect and working memory performance. Healthy female college students (N = 96, M age = 19.2 ± 0.8 years) were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions: (a) sedentary plus neutral feedback, (b) sedentary plus exclusion feedback, (c) walking plus neutral feedback, or (d) walking plus exclusion feedback. Pre- and postactivity and pre- and postfeedback measures of affect and working memory performance were recorded. Excluded participants had a significant negative shift in affect following feedback, p < .05. Those who were sedentary prior to exclusion had lower affect scores following exclusion than the walking plus exclusion and neutral feedback conditions, p < .05. There were no direct effects of walking or social exclusion on working memory. However, perceptions of being ignored predicted smaller improvements in working memory performance for participants who were sedentary prior to exclusion, p < .05. The findings suggest that walking prior to social exclusion may mitigate the affective response to social exclusion as well as social perceptions that can undermine working memory. More broadly, this work supports continued examination of physical activity as a potential strategy for helping individuals cope with negative social experiences.

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Maureen R. Weiss, Lissa A. Kimmel, and Alan L. Smith

This study examined determinants of junior tennis players’ motivation to continue involvement using the sport commitment model as the theoretical framework (20). Based on the sport enjoyment literature, a version of the original sport commitment model (i.e., all determinants directly predict commitment) and a revised model where enjoyment was a mediator of the relationships between determinants and level of commitment were tested. Tennis players (N = 198; ages 10–18 years) completed self-report questionnaires on the constructs of interest. Hypothesized relationships among variables were tested using structural equation modeling. Results provided support for both the original and mediational models, with enjoyment exerting the strongest effect on tennis commitment in both models. An alternative model was tested where both direct and indirect effects through enjoyment on commitment were specified. The alternative model was accepted as most theoretically appealing because determinants of commitment and sources and consequences of sport enjoyment were accounted for within the larger conceptual model.

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Maureen R. Weiss, Alan L. Smith, and Marc Theeboom

The influence of peer groups on children’s psychosocial development is highlighted in the sport psychology literature in areas such as motivation, self-perceptions, and affect. However, scant research has been devoted to examining children’s and teenagers’ conceptions of friendships within the physical domain. Current and former sport program participants (N = 38) took part in an in-depth interview that concerned their best friend in sports. An inductive content analysis revealed the existence of 12 positive friendship dimensions: companionship, pleasant play/association, self-esteem enhancement, help and guidance, prosocial behavior, intimacy, loyalty, things in common, attractive personal qualities, emotional support, absence of conflicts, and conflict resolution. Four negative friendship dimensions were extracted: conflict, unattractive personal qualities, betrayal, and inaccessible. These conceptions of friendship were both similar and unique to friendship conceptions found in mainstream developmental research. Future research directions include measurement efforts, relationships among important constructs, and intervention techniques in the sport setting.

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Travis E. Dorsch, Alan L. Smith, and Meghan H. McDonough

The purpose of this study was to enhance understanding of how parents are socialized by their children's organized youth sport participation. Five semistructured focus groups were conducted with youth sport parents (N = 26) and analyzed using qualitative methods based on Strauss and Corbin (1998). Sixty-three underlying themes reflected parents' perceived socialization experiences resulting from their children's organized youth sport participation. Each theme represented 1 of 11 subcategories of parental change, which were subsumed within four broad categories of parent sport socialization (behavior, cognition, affect, relationships). Each category of parental change was interconnected with the other three categories. Moreover, six potential moderators of parent sport socialization were documented, namely, child age, parent past sport experience, parent and child gender, child temperament, community sport context, and type of sport setting (individual or team). Together, these findings enhance understanding of parent sport socialization processes and outcomes, thus opening avenues for future research on parents in the youth sport setting.

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Jennifer L. Gay, Eva V. Monsma, Alan L. Smith, J.D. DeFreese, and Toni Torres-McGehee

Growth and maturation may impact adolescent behavior and development of psychological disorders. Currently age at menarche is used as the primary marker of maturation, even though it occurs later than other indicators of growth such as peak height velocity (PHV). Maturity offset predicting age at PHV has not been validated in diverse samples. Anthropometric measures and self-reported age at menarche were obtained for 212 female athletes ages 11 to 16 years (M = 13.25). Shared variance between menarcheal age and estimated age at PHV (APHV) was small (R 2 = 5.3%). Discriminant validity was established by classifying participants as pre- or post-PHV or menarche (X2 = 32.62, P < .0001). The Pearson’s correlation between chronological age and age at PHV (r = .69) was stronger than with age at menarche (r = .26). Making informed decisions about accounting for growth and maturation using estimated age at PHV are offered.

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Tayo Moss, Stephen Samendinger, Norbert L. Kerr, Joseph Cesario, Alan L. Smith, Deborah J. Johnson, and Deborah L. Feltz

The authors describe two research experiments exploring the influence of race on the Köhler motivation gain effect with exercise tasks. Experiment 1 tested whether partner racial dissimilarity affects individual performance. Experiment 2 created a team identity recategorization intervention to potentially counter the influence on performance observed in Experiment 1. White male participants were partnered with either a Black or Asian partner (Experiment 1) or with a Black partner utilizing team names and shirt colors as a team identity recategorization strategy (Experiment 2). Racially dissimilar dyads completed two sets of abdominal plank exercises with a Köhler conjunctive task paradigm (stronger partner; team performance outcome dependent upon the weaker-ability participant’s performance). The results of Experiment 1 suggest attenuation of the previously successful group motivation gain effect in the racially dissimilar condition. The simple recategorization strategy utilized in Experiment 2 appeared to reverse motivation losses under conjunctive-task conditions in racially dissimilar exercise dyads.