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Alex J. Benson and Mark Eys

The ways in which newcomers are integrated into sport teams may have broad consequences for the athletes entering the group, as well as for the existing team members. Drawing from organizational socialization theory, the current research developed a questionnaire to assess athletes’ perceptions of how newcomers are socialized into their group. Across four studies, think-aloud interviews (N = 8), an expert panel review (N = 6), cross-sectional tests of the factor structure (N Study 2 = 197; N Study 3 = 460), and a two-wave correlational design (N Study 4 = 194) were used to evaluate the construct validity and the internal consistency of the Sport Team Socialization Tactics Questionnaire (STSTQ). Collectively, these efforts identified a three-factor structure underlying the STSTQ and provided preliminary evidence for its validity. The STSTQ enables researchers to systematically examine the individual- and group-level consequences associated with the socialization tactics implemented in sport teams.

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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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Dany J. MacDonald, Jean Côté, Mark Eys, and Janice Deakin

Sport has been identified as a context in which youth encounter positive and negative experiences. However, relatively little is known about the factors that lead to positive and negative personal development among sport participants. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of enjoyment and motivational climate on positive and negative personal development of team sport participants. A sample of 510 athletes between the ages of 9 and 19 completed questionnaires on positive and negative personal development, enjoyment, and motivational climate. Stepwise multiple regression analyses examined the effects of enjoyment and motivational climate on the personal development of the athletes. Results demonstrated that positive experiences in sport were most strongly predicted by affiliation with peers, self-referenced competency, effort expenditure, and a task climate. Negative experiences were most strongly predicted by an ego climate and other-referenced competency. Results suggest that creating an environment that encourages peer affiliation and personal achievement can result in the positive personal development of youth sport participants.

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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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Mark Eys, Todd Loughead, Steven R. Bray, and Albert V. Carron

The purpose of the current study was to initiate the development of a psychometrically sound measure of cohesion for youth sport groups. A series of projects were undertaken in a four-phase research program. The initial phase was designed to garner an understanding of how youth sport group members perceived the concept of cohesion through focus groups (n = 56), open-ended questionnaires (n = 280), and a literature review. In Phase 2, information from the initial projects was used in the development of 142 potential items and content validity was assessed. In Phase 3, 227 participants completed a revised 87-item questionnaire. Principal components analyses further reduced the number of items to 17 and suggested a two-factor structure (i.e., task and social cohesion dimensions). Finally, support for the factorial validity of the resultant questionnaire was provided through confirmatory factor analyses with an independent sample (n = 352) in Phase 4. The final version of the questionnaire contains 16 items that assess task and social cohesion in addition to 2 negatively worded spurious items. Specific issues related to assessing youth perceptions of cohesion are discussed and future research directions are suggested.

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Brennan Petersen, Mark Eys, Kody Watson, and M. Blair Evans

Given the prevalence of group contexts in sport and the importance of the social environment for motivating youth participants, understanding and enhancing group dynamics are critical to facilitate youths’ participation in, and development through, sport. The current objective was to report on a scoping review that was employed to summarize research focused on the dynamics in youth sport groups. The review identified several themes that have been focused on with regularity (i.e., cohesion) and identified others with opportunities for greater incorporation in youth sport research (e.g., cooperation). Furthermore, encouragement is provided to move beyond survey-based, cross-sectional research and to give greater consideration to a developmental approach to understanding child and youth perceptions of the groups to which they belong. Overall, there are many opportunities for researchers to study the dynamics of youth sport groups with an aim to enhance the experiences of young athletes and facilitate group functioning.

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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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Alex J. Benson, Mark Eys, Mark Surya, Kimberley Dawson, and Margaret Schneider

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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 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.