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.
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.
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.
Marcus Gottlieb, Mark Eys, James Hardy, and Alex J. Benson
Effective leadership is a collaborative effort, requiring a degree of complementarity in how people enact roles of leadership and followership. Using a novel online vignette methodology, we experimentally tested how three contextual factors influenced coaches’ responses to challenge-oriented acts of followership, as well as investigated two potential mechanisms. Coaches (N = 232) watched videos of an athlete provided unsolicited challenge-oriented feedback to a coach. Videos varied by the (a) athlete’s status, (b) presence of third-party observers, and (c) stage of the decision-making process. Following the video, we assessed coaches’ evaluations of the athlete. Challenge-oriented followership was perceived more favorably when enacted by an athlete in one-on-one (vs. in a group) and before a decision has been reached (vs. after a decision is reached). Coaches may appreciate proactivity from athletes in positions of followership, but challenge-oriented followership behaviors enacted at the wrong time and place can elicit negative reactions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mark W. Bruner, Mark Eys, Jeremie M. Carreau, Colin McLaren, and Rachel Van Woezik
Team building (TB) is recognized as one of the most prevalent and promising group-development interventions applied in sport. However, most coaches lack the necessary information to effectively and efficiently target and enhance specific group characteristics and processes. The aim of this study was to develop and apply the Team Environment AssessMent (TEAM) to better inform a TB intervention. Twenty-three male adolescent athletes (mean age 17.9 years) from an elite hockey team completed the TEAM and measures of cohesion before and after a TB intervention. Based on initial TEAM scores, role acceptance and leadership were identified and purposefully targeted in the TB intervention. Athletes’ perceptions of role acceptance, leadership, and task cohesion were stronger after the TB intervention. Furthermore, follow-up interviews with team members and coaches provided additional empirical support for the utility of the TEAM to assess and enhance the efficiency of a TB intervention in sport.