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Children's Attitudes Toward Physical Activity: A Longitudinal Analysis

Frank L. Smoll and Robert W. Schutz

Attitudes toward six subdomains of physical activity were assessed across Grades 4 to 6 for a multiple longitudinal sample consisting of 58 boys and 56 girls. The children's attitudes toward physical activity (CATPA) were generally positive for both sexes; and consistent with previous research, the girls showed more favorable attitudes toward the aesthetic subdomain than the boys. However, the boys evidenced significantly more positive attitudes toward physical activity as the pursuit of vertigo and as catharsis. Neither the among-grade comparisons nor sex-by-grade comparisons attained statistical significance, indicating stability in group attitude scores. However, correlational analyses revealed the lack of stability of CATPA within individuals across the grades studied. Factor analysis provided further evidence negating the assumption of CATPA as an enduring behavioral disposition. The findings are discussed in relation to previous cross-sectional studies, and implications are derived for future research.

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Coach Effectiveness Training: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Enhancing Relationship Skills in Youth Sport Coaches

Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll, and Bill Curtis

Little League Baseball coaches were exposed to a preseason training program designed to assist them in relating more effectively to children. Empirically derived behavioral guidelines were presented and modeled, and behavioral feedback and self-monitoring were used to enhance self-awareness and to encourage compliance with the guidelines. Trained coaches differed from controls in both overt and player-perceived behaviors in a manner consistent with the behavioral guidelines. They were also evaluated more positively by their players, and a higher level of intrateam attraction was found on their teams despite the fact that they did not differ from controls in won-lost records. Children who played for the trained coaches exhibited a significant increase in general self-esteem compared with scores obtained a year earlier; control group children did not. The greatest differences in attitudes toward trained and control coaches were found among children low in self-esteem, and such children appeared most sensitive to variations in coaches' use of encouragement, punishment, and technical instruction.

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Effects of a Motivational Climate Intervention for Coaches on Changes in Young Athletes’ Achievement Goal Orientations

Frank L. Smoll, Ronald E. Smith, and Sean P. Cumming

Mastery-oriented motivational climates and achievement goal orientations have been associated with a range of salutary and clinically relevant outcomes in both educational and sport research. In view of this, an intervention was developed for youth sport coaches designed to promote a mastery motivational climate, and a field experiment was conducted to assess its effects on changes in athletes’ achievement goal orientations over the course of a sport season. The experimental group was comprised of 155 boys and girls, who played for 20 basketball coaches; 70 youngsters played for 17 control group coaches. The coach intervention resulted in higher Mastery-climate scores and lower Ego-climate scores compared with the control condition, and athletes who played for the trained coaches exhibited significant increases in Mastery goal orientation scores and significant decreases in Ego-orientation scores across the season, whereas control group participants did not. Practical and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.

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A Psychometric Analysis of an Inventory for Assessing Children's Attitudes Toward Physical Activity1

Robert W. Schutz, Frank L. Smoll, and Terry M. Wood

Simon and Smoll's (1974) inventory for assessing children's attitudes toward physical activity (CATPA) has been used in numerous studies of children's at-titudinal dispositions and their relationships to a variety of situational and dispositional variables. Recent research revealing low attitude-behavior relationships and instability across time has raised questions about the psychometric properties of the CATPA inventory. The purpose of this research was to psychometrically analyze the six attitude subdomains of this semantic differential inventory and derive recommendations for its modification. The first of three studies reported herein included a four-phase analysis of the CATPA scores of 1,752 children, the results of which indicated that (a) three of the original eight bipolar adjectives were not good discriminators, (b) internal consistencies were high and were not improved by reciprocal average reweighting, and (c) a seven-factor structure emerged, differing from the underlying six-factor theoretical model. In Study 2 a revised CATPA inventory was administered to 1,895 boys and girls. The findings supported the inventory revisions and suggested the necessity for dichotomizing one of the six original attitude sub-domains. Study 3 incorporated the derived rescoring procedures in the reanalysis of earlier attitudinal investigations. Results revealed that modifying the scales neither changed the nature or strength of attitude-behavior relationships nor did it affect the intraindividual stability of CATPA over a period of time. The revised CATPA inventory was deemed to be an improvement over the original instrument because of its superior psychometric characteristics and reduced length, thereby making it more efficient for administrative purposes.

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Factorial Integrity of the Sport Anxiety Scale: A Methodological Note and Revised Scoring Recommendations

Ronald E. Smith, Sean P. Cumming, and Frank L. Smoll

Results of several recent studies have called into question the factorial integrity of the Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS; Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990) because two items (14 and 20) that loaded on the Concentration Disruption subscale in our validation and cross-validation samples have loaded or cross-loaded on the Worry subscale in other samples. We agree that this is a serious problem, and we evaluate proposed modifications of the SAS on both conceptual and empirical grounds. For researchers currently using the SAS, we recommend a new scoring system that deletes two troublesome Concentration Disruption items and one Somatic Anxiety item, preserving separate and factorially consistent Somatic, Worry, and Concentration Disruption subscales. We present evidence that our original Worry scale provides a better CFA fit than a suggested “cognitive anxiety” alternative that combines the two concentration disruption items with the Worry scale items. We also describe nonreplication of the SAS three-factor structure in child samples and caution researchers against computing subscale scores for child samples.

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Athlete-Perceived Coaching Behaviors: Relating Two Measurement Traditions

Sean P. Cumming, Ronald E. Smith, and Frank L. Smoll

For more than two decades, the behavioral categories of the Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS) and the Coaching Behavior Assessment System (CBAS) have been used by a wide range of researchers to measure coaching behaviors, yet little is known about how the behavioral categories in the two models relate statistically to one another. Male and female athletes on 63 high school teams (N = 645) completed the LSS and the athlete-perception version of the CBAS (CBAS-PBS) following the sport season, and they evaluated their coaches. Several of Chelladurai’s (1993) hypotheses regarding relations among behavioral categories of the two models were strongly supported. However, many significant and overlapping correlations between LSS subscales and CBAS-PBS behavioral categories cast doubt upon the specificity of relations between the two instruments. The LSS and the CBAS-PBS accounted for similar and notable amounts of variance in athletes’ liking for their coach and evaluations of their knowledge and teaching ability.

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Effects of a Motivational Climate Intervention for Coaches on Young Athletes’ Sport Performance Anxiety

Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll, and Sean P. Cumming

The mastery approach to coaching is a cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to promote a mastery-involving motivational climate, shown in previous research to be related to lower anxiety in athletes. We tested the effects of this intervention on motivational climate and on changes in male and female athletes’ cognitive and somatic performance anxiety over the course of a basketball season. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed that the athletes in the intervention condition perceived their coaches as being more mastery-involving on the Motivational Climate Scale for Youth Sports when compared to athletes in an untreated control condition. Relative to athletes who played for untrained coaches, those who played for the trained coaches exhibited decreases on all subscales of the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 and on total anxiety score from preseason to late season. Control group athletes reported increases in anxiety over the season. The intervention had equally positive effects on boys and girls teams.

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Effects of Enhancing Coach-Athlete Relationships on Youth Sport Attrition

Nancy P. Barnett, Frank L. Smoll, and Ronald E. Smith

A field experiment was conducted to examine the impact of the Coach Effectiveness Training program on athlete attrition. Eight Little League Baseball coaches attended a preseason sport psychology workshop designed to facilitate desirable coach-athlete interactions. A no-treatment control group consisted of 10 coaches. Children who played for both groups of coaches were interviewed before and after the season and were contacted again the following year. At the end of the initial season, children in the experimental group evaluated their coaches, teammates, and the sport of baseball more positively than children who played for the control-group coaches. Player attrition was assessed at the beginning of the next baseball season, with control-group youngsters withdrawing at a significantly higher rate (26%) than those in the experimental group (5% dropout rate). There was no difference in mean team won-lost percentages between dropouts and returning players, which indicates that the attrition was not due to lack of team success.

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Measurement of Multidimensional Sport Performance Anxiety in Children and Adults: The Sport Anxiety Scale-2

Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll, Sean P. Cumming, and Joel R. Grossbard

This article describes the development and validation of the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 (SAS-2), a multidimensional measure of cognitive and somatic trait anxiety in sport performance settings. Scale development was stimulated by findings that the 3-factor structure of the original Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS; Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990) could not be reproduced in child samples and that several items on the scale produced conflicting factor loadings in adult samples. Alternative items having readability levels of grade 4 or below were therefore written to create a new version suitable for both children and adults. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses replicated the original SAS factor structure at all age levels, yielding separate 5-item subscales for Somatic Anxiety, Worry, and Concentration Disruption in samples as young as 9 to 10 years of age. The SAS-2 has stronger factorial validity than the original scale did, and construct validity research indicates that scores relate to other psychological measures as expected. The scale reliably predicts precompetition state anxiety scores and proved sensitive to anxiety-reduction interventions directed at youth sport coaches and parents.

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Development and Validation of a Multidimensional Measure of Sport-Specific Psychological Skills: The Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28

Ronald E. Smith, Robert W. Schutz, Frank L. Smoll, and J.T. Ptacek

Confirmatory factor analysis was used as the basis for a new form of the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory (ACSI). The ACSI-28 contains seven sport-specific subscales: Coping With Adversity, Peaking Under Pressure, Goal Setting/Mental Preparation, Concentration, Freedom From Worry, Confidence and Achievement Motivation, and Coachability. The scales can be summed to yield a Personal Coping Resources score, which is assumed to reflect a multifaceted psychological skills construct. Confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated the factorial validity of the ACSI-28, as the seven subscales conform well to the underlying factor structure for both male and female athletes. Psychometric characteristics are described, and preliminary evidence for construct and predictive validity is presented.