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Svenja A. Wolf, Mark A. Eys, Pamela Sadler and Jens Kleinert

Athletes’ precompetitive appraisal is important because it determines emotions, which may impact performance. When part of a team, athletes perform their appraisal within a social context, and in this study we examined whether perceived team cohesion, as a characteristic of this context, related to appraisal. We asked 386 male and female intercollegiate team-sport athletes to respond to measures of cohesion and precompetitive appraisal before an in-season game. For males and females, across all teams, (a) an appraisal of increased competition importance was predicted by perceptions of higher task cohesion (individual level), better previous team performance, and a weaker opponent (team level) and (b) an appraisal of more positive prospects for coping with competitive demands was predicted by higher individual attractions to the group (individual level). Consequently, athletes who perceive their team as more cohesive likely appraise the pending competition as a challenge, which would benefit both emotions and performance.

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Alex J. Benson, Mark A. Eys and P. Gregory Irving

Many athletes experience a discrepancy between the roles they expect to fulfill and the roles they eventually occupy. Drawing from met expectations theory, we applied response surface methodology to examine how role expectations, in relation to role experiences, influence perceptions of group cohesion among Canadian Interuniversity Sport athletes (N = 153). On the basis of data from two time points, as athletes approached and exceeded their role contribution expectations, they reported higher perceptions of task cohesion. Furthermore, as athletes approached and exceeded their social involvement expectations, they reported higher perceptions of social cohesion. These response surface patterns—pertaining to task and social cohesion—were driven by the positive influence of role experiences. On the basis of the interplay between athletes’ role experiences and their perception of the group environment, efforts to improve team dynamics may benefit from focusing on improving the quality of role experiences, in conjunction with developing realistic role expectations.

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Desmond McEwan, Bruno D. Zumbo, Mark A. Eys and Mark R. Beauchamp

The purpose of this research was to develop a questionnaire to assess the multidimensional construct of teamwork in sport and to examine various aspects of validity related to that instrument. A preliminary questionnaire was first created, and feedback on this instrument was then obtained from a sample of team-sport athletes (n = 30) and experts in sport psychology (n = 8). A modified version of the questionnaire was then completed by 607 athletes from 48 teams, and 5 multilevel confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to examine the structural properties of data derived from this instrument. Evidence of adequate model-data fit along with measurement reliability was obtained for each of the 5 models. Taken together, the results from this research provide support for the content, substantive, and structural aspects of construct validity for data derived from the 66-item Multidimensional Assessment of Teamwork in Sport.

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Mark A. Eys, James Hardy, Albert V. Carron and Mark R. Beauchamp

The general purpose of the present study was to determine if perceptions of team cohesion are related to the interpretation athletes attach to their precompetition anxiety. Specifically examined was the association between athlete perceptions of task cohesiveness (Individual Attractions to the Group– Task, ATG-T, and Group Integration–Task, GI-T) and the degree to which perceptions of the intensity of precompetition anxiety symptoms (cognitive and somatic) were viewed as facilitative versus debilitative. Participants were athletes (N = 392) from the sports of soccer, rugby, and field hockey. Each athlete completed the Group Environment Questionnaire (Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985) after a practice session. A directionally modified version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990) was completed just prior to a competition. Results showed that athletes who perceived their cognitive anxiety as facilitative had higher perceptions of both ATG-T and GI-T, χ2 (2, N = 260) = 8.96, p < .05, than athletes who perceived their cognitive anxiety as debilitative. Also, athletes who perceived their somatic anxiety as facilitative had higher perceptions of GI-T, χ2 (2, N = 249) = 5.85, p < .05.

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Mark R. Beauchamp, Steven R. Bray, Mark A. Eys and Albert V. Carron

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between role ambiguity and precompetition state anxiety (A-state). Consistent with multidimensional anxiety theory (Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990), it was hypothesized that role ambiguity would be positively related to cognitive but not to somatic A-state. Based on the conceptual model presented by Beauchamp, Bray, Eys, and Carron (2002), role ambiguity in sport was operationalized as a multidimensional construct (i.e., scope of responsibilities, role behaviors, role evaluation, and role consequences) potentially manifested in each of two contexts, offense and defense. Consistent with hypotheses, ambiguity in terms of the scope of offensive role responsibilities predicted cognitive A-state (R 2 = .19). However, contrary to hypotheses, offensive role-consequences ambiguity also predicted somatic A-state (R 2 = .09). Results highlight the importance of using a multidimensional approach to investigate role ambiguity in sport and are discussed in terms of both theory advancement and possible interventions.

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Mark A. Eys, Albert V. Carron, Mark R. Beauchamp and Steven R. Bray

The general purpose of the present study was to examine the nature of role ambiguity in sport teams and to explore the construct validity of the operational definition of role ambiguity developed by Beauchamp, Bray, Eys, and Carron (2002). Role ambiguity was operationalized as a multidimensional construct (Scope of Responsibilities, Behavioral Responsibilities, Evaluation of Performance, and Consequences of Not Fulfilling Responsibilities) that occurs in two contexts, offense and defense. Consistent with the a priori hypothesis, perceptions of role ambiguity exhibited some degree of within-group consistency and group-level variability, but most of the variance in role ambiguity was seen at the individual level. Also, perceptions of role ambiguity decreased from early to late season. Finally, veteran athletes experienced less role ambiguity than first-year athletes at the beginning of the season, but not at the end. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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Randy C. Battochio, Robert J. Schinke, Mark A. Eys, Danny L. Battochio, Wayne Halliwell and Gershon Tenenbaum

Semistructured interviews were used in this study to learn about the challenges experienced by four groups of National Hockey League (NHL) players (N= 11): prospects (n= 3), rookies (n= 3), veterans (n= 2), and retirees (n= 3). The database is comprised of 757 meaning units grouped into 11 contextual challenges. From an additional quantitative analysis, the prospects and rookies emphasized challenges pertaining to scouting demands, training camp, increased athletic demands, team expectations, and earning team trust. The veterans spoke mostly of challenges including scouting demands, athletic demands, and team expectations. Retirees considered mostly challenges pertaining to team expectations, athletic demands, lifestyle, media demands, transactions, cross-cultural encounters, and playoffs. An expert panel ensured that the interview guide, data analysis, and the findings represented the participants’ experiences in the NHL. Recommendations for practitioners and researchers working with NHL players are proposed.

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Nicole G. Dubuc, Robert J. Schinke, Mark A. Eys, Randy Battochio and Leonard Zaichkowsky

Within the current study, the process of adolescent burnout is considered in relation to perceived contributors, symptoms, consequences, and subsequently, effective and ineffective coping strategies. Through case studies, the researchers sought the burnout experiences of three competitive female gymnasts. Participants were selected based on scores obtained from Raedeke and Smith’s (2001) Athlete Burnout Questionnaire. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the process, athlete data were considered in tandem with interviews from at least one parent and one coach. Transcribed data were segmented into meaning units, coded into a hierarchy of themes and verified by each respondent. Despite common trends among the participants, differences were also found in relation to symptoms, contributors, and the progression of the condition. Implications are provided for the athlete/parent/coach triad and also for sport psychologists.

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Mark A. Eys, Albert V. Carron, Steven R. Bray and Lawrence R. Brawley

A common practice for counteracting response acquiescence in psychological measures has been to employ both negatively and positively worded items. However, previous research has highlighted that the reliability of measures can be affected by this practice (Spector, 1992). The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect that the presence of negatively worded items has on the internal reliability of the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ). Two samples (N = 276) were utilized, and participants were asked to complete the GEQ (original and revised) on separate occasions. Results demonstrated that the revised questionnaire (containing all positively worded items) had significantly higher Cronbach a values for three of the four dimensions of the GEQ. Implications, alternatives, and future directions are discussed.

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Grégoire Bosselut, Jean-Philippe Heuzé, Mark A. Eys, Paul Fontayne and Philippe Sarrazin

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between athletes’ perceptions of role ambiguity and two theoretically derived dimensions of coaching competency (i.e., game strategy and technique competencies). A total of 243 players from 26 teams representing various interdependent sports completed French versions of the Role Ambiguity Scale and the Coaching Competency Scale. Multilevel analyses supported the existence of relationships between the four dimensions of role ambiguity and the two dimensions of coaching competency at both individual and team levels. When the levels were considered jointly, athletes perceiving greater ambiguity in their role in both offensive and defensive contexts were more critical of their coach’s capacities to lead their team during competitions and to diagnose or formulate instructions during training sessions. The results also indicated that the dimension of scope of responsibilities was the main contributor to the relationship with coaching competency at an individual level, whereas role evaluation was the main contributor to this relationship at a group level. Findings are discussed in relation to the role episode model, the role ambiguity dimensions involved in the relationships according to the level of analysis considered, and the salience of ambiguity perceptions in the offensive context.