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Richard Fletcher

Measurement has a high profile in sport and exercise psychology research and provides the basis for examining and developing theory. The current state of sport and exercise psychology is one of complex models and theories, and sophisticated measurement methods are required to fully understand and develop these. This paper promotes a current and powerful measurement approach, item response theory, and demonstrates how it can be applied to sport and exercise psychological constructs to enhance the quality of instrument development and strengthen construct validity.

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Harry Prapavessis, Ralph Maddison and Richard Fletcher

The purpose of the present study was to provide further evidence for the factor structure and composition of the Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS; Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990) using a sample of competitive male rugby players (N = 570). Three models were tested using both confirmatory factor analytic and polyto-mous item-response theory procedures: Smith et al’s original model; Dunn et al.’s (2000) alternative model in which Items 14 and 20 were originally designed to measure Concentration Disruption load on the Worry factor (Model A); and Model B (the removal of Item 1). Results showed that Models A and B provided similar fits to the data. Overall these findings argue for the utilization of Model B to improve model fit and maintain conceptual clarity. Our findings suggest that the factor structure and composition of the SAS needs further examination and possible refinement before researchers can feel more confident about the effectiveness of the instrument’s psychometric properties.

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Jennifer A. Stillman, Richard B. Fletcher and Stuart C. Carr

Research on groups is often applied to sport teams, and research on teams is often applied to groups. This study investigates the extent to which individuals have distinct schemas for groups and teams. A list of team and group characteristics was generated from 250 individuals, for use in this and related research. Questions about teams versus groups carry an a priori implication that differences exist; therefore, list items were presented to new participants and were analyzed using signal detection theory, which can accommodate a finding of no detectable difference between a nominated category and similar items. Participants were 30 members from each of the following: netball teams, the general public, and hobby groups. Analysis revealed few features that set groups apart from teams; however, teams were perceived as more structured and demanding, requiring commitment and effort toward shared goals. Team and group characteristics were more clearly defined to team members than they were to other participant groups. The research has implications for coaches and practitioners.