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