Many of the measurements used in sport psychology research are arbitrary metrics, and researchers often cannot make the jump from scores on paper-and-pencil tests to what those scores actually mean in terms of real-world behaviors. Effect sizes for behavioral data are often interpretable, but the meaning of a small, medium, or large effect for an arbitrary metric is elusive. We reviewed all the issues in the 2005 volumes of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, The Sport Psychologist, and the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology to determine whether the arbitrary metrics used in sport psychology research were interpreted, or calibrated, against real-world variables. Of the 54 studies that used quantitative methods, 25 reported only paper-and-pencil arbitrary metrics with no connections to behavior or other real-world variables. Also, 44 of the 54 studies reported effect sizes, but only 7 studies, using both arbitrary and behavioral metrics, had calculated effect indicators and interpreted them in terms of real-world meaning.
Mark B. Andersen, Penny McCullagh and Gabriel J. Wilson
Penny McCullagh, Karen T. Matzkanin, Susan D. Shaw and Marcela Maldonado
An important issue facing sport psychology researchers as well as practitioners is understanding the motives of children involved in youth sport programs. The present study extended previous work in this area by examining parental perceptions of their children’s motivations and perceived competencies in addition to the typically assessed variables of youth-reported motives and perceived competencies. Eighty-one children and one of their parents from a youth soccer league served as subjects for this study. Results indicated that children and parents alike ranked intrinsic motives such as feeling good and having fun as primary reasons for participation. In addition, both parents and children rated external reasons as the lowest priorities for participation. Multivariate analyses of variance indicated that children rated all the motive subscales more positively than their parents. No significant relationships were found between perceived competencies and motives.