In this experiment we examined the effects of task and ego involvement on three measures of moral behavior—prosocial choice, observed prosocial behavior, and observed antisocial behavior—in a competitive setting. We also investigated sex differences in moral behavior. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 48) college students were randomly assigned to a task-involving, an ego-involving, or a control condition. Participants played two 10-min games of table soccer and completed measures of prosocial choice, goal involvement, goal orientation, and demographics. The two games were recorded, and frequencies of prosocial and antisocial behavior were coded. Players assigned to the task-involving condition were higher in prosocial choice than those in the ego-involving or control conditions. Individuals in the ego-involving condition displayed more antisocial behaviors than those in the task-involving or control conditions. Finally, females displayed more prosocial behaviors than males.
Luke Sage and Maria Kavussanu
Maria Kavussanu and Edward McAuley
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between reported physical activity and optimism. A secondary purpose was to determine whether physical self-efficacy and trait anxiety mediate the relationship between exercise and optimism. Participants (N = 188) were administered a battery of questionnaires assessing optimism, pessimism, physical self-efficacy, trait anxiety, and extent and nature of involvement in physical activity. Demographic information was also collected. The results indicated that high active individuals were significantly more optimistic and less pessimistic than inactive/low active individuals. In addition, the moderately and high active groups reported significantly higher physical self-efficacy and lower trait anxiety than the inactive/low active group. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that trait anxiety and physical self-efficacy accounted for significant unique variation in optimism. The findings are consistent with previous research indicating that optimists engage in exercise significantly more often than pessimists.
Luke Sage and Maria Kavussanu
The purpose of this study was to examine task-, ego-, and social-goal orientations as predictors of prosocial and antisocial behavior in youth soccer. Participants were 365 male (n = 227) and female (n = 138) youth soccer players M age = 13.4 years, SD = 1.8), who completed questionnaires measuring task and ego orientation; the goals of social affiliation, social recognition and social status; prosocial and antisocial behavior; and demographics. Regression analyses revealed that prosocial behavior was predicted positively by task orientation and social affiliation and negatively by social status. In contrast, antisocial behavior was predicted positively by ego orientation and social status and negatively by task orientation. Findings for task and ego orientation are consistent with previous work. Social-goal orientations explained further variance in prosocial and antisocial behavior, and their inclusion in future moral research is encouraged.
Maria Kavussanu and Nikos Ntoumanis
This study examined whether participation in contact sports influences moral functioning within the sport context, and whether these effects are mediated by ego orientation; the role of task orientation on moral functioning was also examined. Participants (N = 221) were college athletes participating in basketball, soccer, field hockey, and rugby. They completed questionnaires assessing sport participation, goal orientations, moral functioning, and social desirability. Structural equation modeling analysis indicated that participation in contact sports positively predicted ego orientation, which in turn predicted low levels of moral functioning. The direct effects of sport participation on moral functioning became nonsignificant in the presence of ego orientation, indicating that the latter construct mediates the relationship between the first two variables. Task orientation corresponded to high levels of moral functioning. These findings help us further understand the processes operating in contact sports and are discussed in terms of their implications for eliminating unsportspersonlike conduct from the sport context.
Maria Kavussanu and Christopher Ring
In this study, we integrated elements of social cognitive theory of moral thought and action and the social cognitive model of moral identity to better understand doping likelihood in athletes. Participants (N = 398) recruited from a variety of team sports completed measures of moral identity, moral disengagement, anticipated guilt, and doping likelihood. Moral identity predicted doping likelihood indirectly via moral disengagement and anticipated guilt. Anticipated guilt about potential doping mediated the relationship between moral disengagement and doping likelihood. Our findings provide novel evidence to suggest that athletes, who feel that being a moral person is central to their self-concept, are less likely to use banned substances due to their lower tendency to morally disengage and the more intense feelings of guilt they expect to experience for using banned substances.
Maria Kavussanu and Christopher M. Spray
This study examined the network of relationships among moral atmosphere, perceived performance motivational climate, and moral functioning of male youth football players. Participants were 325 footballers recruited from 24 teams of a youth football league. They responded to scenarios describing cheating and aggressive behaviors likely to occur during a football game by indicating their moral judgment, intention, and behavior, which represented moral functioning. The moral atmosphere of the team and participants’ perceptions of the team’s performance motivational climate were also measured. Structural equation modeling indicated that perceptions of an atmosphere condoning cheating and aggressive behaviors were associated with views that a performance motivational climate is salient in the team, while both moral atmosphere and perceived performance climate corresponded to low levels of moral functioning in football. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for eliminating unsportsmanlike conduct from sport.
Maria Kavussanu and Ian D. Boardley
This research aimed to (a) develop a measure of prosocial and antisocial behavior in sport, (b) examine its invariance across sex and sport, and (c) provide evidence for its discriminant and concurrent validity. We conducted two studies. In study 1, team sport athletes (N = 1,213) recruited from 103 teams completed questionnaires assessing demographics and prosocial and antisocial behaviors in sport. Factor analyses revealed two factors representing prosocial behavior and two factors representing antisocial behavior. The model had a very good fit to the data and showed configural, metric, and scalar invariance across sex and sport. The final scale consisted of 20 items. In Study 2, team-sport athletes (N = 106) completed the scale and measures of empathy and goal orientation. Analyses provided support for the discriminant and concurrent validity of the scale. In conclusion, the new scale can be used to measure prosocial and antisocial behaviors in team sport.
Maria Kavussanu and Glyn C. Roberts
This study examined the relationship between perceived motivational climate and intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy and determined the role of goal orientation and perceived motivational climate in predicting intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. College students (N = 285) enrolled in beginning tennis classes completed a battery of questionnaires assessing perceived motivational climate, goal orientation, intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, and perceived ability. Perceptions of mastery climate were positively associated with enjoyment, effort, perceived competence, and self-efficacy and were inversely related to tension. In males, dispositional goal orientation and perceived motivational climate emerged as equally important predictors of intrinsic motivation, while mastery motivational climate was the only significant predictor of self-efficacy. In females, performance motivational climate was the strongest predictor of intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. Perceived normative ability accounted for a substantial amount of unique variance in intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy in both males and females. The motivational implications of the findings are discussed, and directions for future research are provided.
Ian David Boardley and Maria Kavussanu
In this study, we examined (a) the effects of goal orientations and perceived value of toughness on antisocial behavior toward opponents and teammates in soccer and (b) whether any effects were mediated by moral disengagement. Male soccer players (N = 307) completed questionnaires assessing the aforementioned variables. Structural equation modeling indicated that ego orientation had positive and task orientation had negative direct effects on antisocial behavior toward opponents. Further, ego orientation and perceived value of toughness had indirect positive effects on antisocial behavior toward opponents and teammates which were mediated by moral disengagement. Collectively, these findings aid our understanding of the effects of personal influences on antisocial behavior and of psychosocial mechanisms that could facilitate such antisocial conduct in male soccer players.
Ali Al-Yaaribi and Maria Kavussanu
The manner in which teammates behave toward each other when playing sport could have important achievement-related consequences. However, this issue has received very little research attention. In this study, we investigated whether (a) prosocial and antisocial teammate behaviors predict task cohesion and burnout, and (b) positive and negative affect mediates these relationships. In total, 272 (M age = 21.86, SD = 4.36) team-sport players completed a multisection questionnaire assessing the aforementioned variables. Structural equation modeling indicated that prosocial teammate behavior positively predicted task cohesion and negatively predicted burnout, and these relationships were mediated by positive affect. The reverse pattern of relationships was observed for antisocial teammate behavior which negatively predicted task cohesion and positively predicted burnout, and these relationships were mediated by negative affect. Our findings underscore the importance of promoting prosocial and reducing antisocial behaviors in sport and highlight the role of affect in explaining the identified relationships.