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Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Leslie A. Rutkowski, Ellen L. Vaughan and Matthew C. Steinfeldt

In order to identify factors associated with on-field moral functioning among student athletes within the unique context of football, we examined masculine gender role conflict, moral atmosphere, and athletic identity. Using structural equation modeling to assess survey data from 204 high school football players, results demonstrated that moral atmosphere (i.e., the influence of coaches and teammates) was significantly associated with participants’ process of on-field moral functioning across the levels of judgment, intention, and behavior. Neither masculine gender role conflict nor athletic identity significantly predicted moral functioning, but the results indicated that participants’ identification with the athlete role significantly predicted conflict with socialized gender roles. Results suggest that in the aggressive and violent sport of football, coaches can have a direct influence on players’ moral functioning process. Coaches can also have an indirect effect by influencing all the players so that a culture of ethical play can be cultivated among teammates and spread from the top down.

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Charles H. Hillman, Bruce N. Cuthbert, Margaret M. Bradley and Peter J. Lang

Psychophysiological responses of two rival sport fan groups were assessed within the context of Lang’s biphasic theory of emotion. Twenty-four participants, placed in two groups based on their identification with local sport teams, viewed 6 pictures from 6 categories: team-relevant pleasant sport, team-irrelevant sport, team-relevant unpleasant sport, erotica, household objects, and mutilation. Fans rated appetitive sport pictures higher in pleasure and arousal compared to aversive sport pictures. Physiological measures (startle probe-P3, the startle eye-blink reflex, slow cortical potentials to picture onset, and skin conductance) differentiated both appetitive and aversive team-relevant categories from team-irrelevant pictures, and increased orbicularis oculi EMG was found only for team-relevant appetitive pictures. These results suggest there are differences between rival sport fans in response to the same pictorial stimuli, and further suggest that fans provide an ideal population in which to measure motivation toward appetitive stimuli.

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Christopher M. Janelle, Robert N. Singer and A. Mark Williams

We examined distraction and attentional narrowing in a dual-task auto-racing simulation. Participants were randomly assigned to six groups: distraction control, distraction anxiety, relevant control, relevant anxiety, central control, and central anxiety. Those in central conditions performed a driving task; the other four groups identified peripheral lights in addition to driving. Irrelevant peripheral lights were included in distraction conditions. Participants in anxiety conditions were exposed to increasing levels of anxiety via a time-to-event paradigm. In 3 sessions of 20 trials, measures of cognitive anxiety, arousal. visual search patterns, and performance were recorded. At higher levels of anxiety, the identification of peripheral lights became slower and less accurate. and significant performance decrements occurred in central and peripheral tasks. Furthermore, visual search patterns were more eccentric in the distraction anxiety group. Results suggest that drivers who are highly anxious experience an altered ability to acquire peripheral information at the perceptual level.

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Suzanne A. Nasco and William M. Webb

The link between a strong identification with the athletic self-concept and well-being, commitment, and effort in athletes has been established in numerous research projects. However, current measures of athletic identity do not specifically acknowledge the public and private aspects of the athlete role and their differential influence on behavior. The goal of the present project was to create a short, psychometrically sound scale that measured these dimensions. Our scale (Public-Private Athletic Identity Scale; PPAIS) was validated using over 1,000 nonathletes, recreational athletes, current collegiate athletes, and retired athletes. We used exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis to establish the structure of the scale and examined validity by comparing and contrasting the PPAIS with other existing athletic identity measures. Regressions also were used to show that the PPAIS enhances prediction of behavioral measures over other identity scales.

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Jürgen Beckmann and Michael Kellmann

In this paper we discuss some of the factors sport psychologists should consider before administering questionnaires or other formal assessment instruments to athletes. To be used effectively, assessment instruments need to be (a) reliable and valid for the individual athlete or sport group in question, (b) seen as useful by the athlete(s) completing the instrument, and be (c) completed honestly by the athlete(s). Additional objectives sport psychologists should strive to achieve include a clear identification of the purpose of the assessment instrument, the commitment of athlete and coach to the assessment process, and the maintenance of a clear channel of communication with coaches and athletes throughout the period of psychological assessment, training, feedback, evaluation, and adjustment.

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David Yukelson, Robert Weinberg and Allen Jackson

The purpose of the present study was to develop a valid and reliable group cohesion instrument that measures both task-related and social-related forces that are presumed to exist in interacting sport groups. Male and female intercollegiate basketball players (N = 196) completed a 41-item sport cohesion instrument. Results from two different factor analytical techniques revealed four robust common factors which accounted for greater than 80% of the variance of the total common factor structure. The four derived common factors were labeled Attraction to the Group, Unity of Purpose, Quality of Teamwork, and Valued Roles. In addition, the internal consistency of the adjusted 22-item sport cohesion instrument was found to be high, yielding a .93 alpha reliability coefficient. The findings suggest that group cohesion in intercollegiate basketball teams is multidimensional in nature, consisting of common goals, valued roles, teamwork that is complimentary to the goals the group is striving to achieve, and feelings of satisfaction and/or identification with group membership.

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Leen Haerens, Nathalie Aelterman, Lynn Van den Berghe, Jotie De Meyer, Bart Soenens and Maarten Vansteenkiste

According to self-determination theory, teachers can motivate students by supporting their psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. The present study complements extant research (most of which relied on self-report measures) by relying on observations of need-supportive teaching in the domain of physical education (PE), which allows for the identification of concrete, real-life examples of how teacher need support manifests in the classroom. Seventy-four different PE lessons were coded for 5-min intervals to assess the occurrence of 21 need-supportive teaching behaviors. Factor analyses provided evidence for four interpretable factors, namely, relatedness support, autonomy support, and two components of structure (structure before and during the activity). Reasonable evidence was obtained for convergence between observed and student perceived need support. Yet, the low interrater reliability for two of the four scales indicates that these scales need further improvement.

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Graham Jones, Sheldon Hanton and Declan Connaughton

The authors conducted an investigation of mental toughness in a sample population of athletes who have achieved ultimate sporting success. Eight Olympic or world champions, 3 coaches, and 4 sport psychologists agreed to participate. Qualitative methods addressed 3 fundamental issues: the definition of mental toughness, the identification of its essential attributes, and the development of a framework of mental toughness. Results verified the authors’ earlier definition of mental toughness and identified 30 attributes that were essential to being mentally tough. These attributes clustered under 4 separate dimensions (attitude/mindset, training, competition, postcompetition) within an overall framework of mental toughness. Practical implications and future avenues of research involving the development of mental toughness and measurement issues are discussed.

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Erich J. Petushek, Edward T. Cokely, Paul Ward and Gregory D. Myer

Instrument-based biomechanical movement analysis is an effective injury screening method but relies on expensive equipment and time-consuming analysis. Screening methods that rely on visual inspection and perceptual skill for prognosticating injury risk provide an alternative approach that can significantly reduce cost and time. However, substantial individual differences exist in skill when estimating injury risk performance via observation. The underlying perceptual-cognitive mechanisms of injury risk identification were explored to better understand the nature of this skill and provide a foundation for improving performance. Quantitative structural and process modeling of risk estimation indicated that superior performance was largely mediated by specific strategies and skills (e.g., irrelevant information reduction), and independent of domain-general cognitive abilities (e.g., mental rotation, general decision skill). These cognitive models suggest that injury prediction expertise (i.e., ACL-IQ) is a trainable skill, and provide a foundation for future research and applications in training, decision support, and ultimately clinical screening investigations.

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Roel Vaeyens, Matthieu Lenoir, A. Mark Williams, Liesbeth Mazyn and Renaat M. Philippaerts

We examined differences in visual search behaviors and decision-making skill across different microstates of offensive play in soccer using youth participants (13.0-15.8 years) varying in skill and experience. We used realistic film simulations of offensive play, movement-based response measures, and an eye movement registration technique. Playing experience, skill level, and the unique constraints of the task, expressed by the number of players and relative proportion of offensive and defensive players, determined both the observed search behavior and processing requirements imposed on players in dynamic offensive team simulations. Significant differences in performance were observed between players and nonplayers and across three groups of soccer players who differed in skill level. Implications for talent identification and development are considered.