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Susan A. Capel, Becky L. Sisley and Gloria S. Desertrain

This study investigated the relationship of role conflict, role ambiguity, and six demographic variables to burnout in head high school basketball coaches. Respondents (N = 235) included coaches from six western states. Overall, burnout was found to be at a low to medium level. Regression analyses and follow-up canonical correlation analyses indicated that role conflict and role ambiguity were the only two variables consistently related to burnout. Role conflict explained the most variance on all burnout scores except depersonalization, which was best explained by role ambiguity, and personal accomplishment, which was best explained by number of years as a head coach. Ways are discussed in which role conflict, role ambiguity, and burnout may be reduced in the coaching profession. Follow-up studies need to consider other factors that may relate to burnout or that may contribute to role conflict and role ambiguity.

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Michael Bar-Eli, Arie Shirom, Michal Nir and Ayala Malach Pines

Ninety female athletes at the international and/or national level, engaged in sports that are either “feminine” (n=49) or “non-feminine” (n=41), participated in this study. We predicted (a) a positive relation between role conflict and burnout; and (b) higher role conflict and burnout among athletes from “non-feminine” sports. Questionnaire results revealed a positive relation between role conflict and burnout, albeit only in “feminine” sports. Role conflict was not higher among athletes from “non-feminine” sports. Burnout was somewhat lower among “non-feminine”-sports athletes. “Feminine”-sports athletes were significantly younger, had more training, and felt more restricted by their athletic activity, in comparison to “non-feminine”-sports athletes. Results are interpreted in terms of current theoretical perspectives, such as the “expansionist” approach.

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Julie A. Waumsley, Brian Hemmings and Simon M. Payne

To date there has not been a comprehensive discussion in the literature of work-life balance for the sport psychology consultant. The number and complexity of roles often undertaken by consultants may lead to potential stress if roles conflict. Underpinned by Role Theory (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964) and the Spillover Hypothesis (Staines, 1980) this paper draws on the work-life balance literature to present the potential conflicts and ethical dilemmas experienced by the sport psychology consultant as a result of conducting multiple roles. With an applied focus, ways of obtaining work-life balance are suggested through a psychological model outlining personal organizational skills, ongoing supervision/mentoring and reflective practice, and safeguarding leisure time. While certain aspects of the model are built on the UK experience, many of the suggestions will be applicable to sport psychology consultants regardless of their location. Ideas for future research directions involving exploring conflicting roles, work-life balance and coping issues for the sport psychology consultant are presented.

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Joy D. Bringer, Celia H. Brackenridge and Lynne H. Johnston

Bringer, Brackenridge, and Johnston (2002) identified role conflict and ambiguity as an emerging theme for some swimming coaches who felt under increased scrutiny because of wider concerns about sexual exploitation in sport (Boocock, 2002). To further understand this emerging theme, 3 coaches who had engaged in sexual relations with athletes, or had allegations of abuse brought against them, took part in in-depth interviews. Grounded theory method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) was adopted to explore how these coaches responded differently to increased public scrutiny. The findings are discussed in relation to how sport psychologists can help to shape perceptions of coaching effectiveness that are congruent with child protection measures. Reflective practice is proposed as one method by which coaches may embed child and athlete protection in their definition of effective coaching, rather than seeing it as an external force to which they must accommodate.

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Jennifer E. Bruening and Marlene A. Dixon

The current study examined, via online focus groups, the consequences of work–family conflict at work and at home with 41 mothers who are Division I head coaches. In addition, the authors focused on the coping mechanisms that these women used to achieve success at work and quality of life with family. Results revealed that work–family conflict influenced outcomes with work (e.g., staffing patterns, relationships with athletes, team performance), family (e.g., time spent and relationships with children and spouses or partners), and life (e.g., guilt and exhaustion, balance and perspective, weaving work and family). Coping mechanisms included stress relief, self-awareness, organization and time management, sacrificing aspects of work, support networks, flexibility with hours, and family-friendly policies and cultures. Implications are that the women work to promote change within their circle of influence. Although their efforts might not result in actual policy changes, over which they feel limited control, they might result in changes in perceptions and attitudes.

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Elaine M. Blinde and Susan L. Greendorfer

This paper is a synthesis of results from five separate studies examining how recent structural and philosophical changes in women’s intercollegiate sport programs may have altered the sport experience of female athletes. Based on both questionnaire and interview data, it was apparent that athletes participating in sport programs characterized by the greatest change (e.g., post-Title IX programs, programs of the 1980s, product-oriented sport models, and Division I programs of recent years) shared somewhat common experiences — with the presence of conflict being one of the most pervasive themes. Four types of conflict were identified: (a) value alienation, (b) role strain, (c) role conflict, and (d) exploitation. Each of these types of conflict is discussed and examples to substantiate the presence of each form of conflict are presented. Based upon the findings, it is suggested that the changing context and emphases of college sport may have exposed female athletes to different sets of circumstances, expectations, and experiences, thus altering the nature of the sport experience and bringing into question the educational legitimacy of college sport.

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Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Leslie A. Rutkowski, Ellen L. Vaughan and Matthew C. Steinfeldt

In order to identify factors associated with on-field moral functioning among student athletes within the unique context of football, we examined masculine gender role conflict, moral atmosphere, and athletic identity. Using structural equation modeling to assess survey data from 204 high school football players, results demonstrated that moral atmosphere (i.e., the influence of coaches and teammates) was significantly associated with participants’ process of on-field moral functioning across the levels of judgment, intention, and behavior. Neither masculine gender role conflict nor athletic identity significantly predicted moral functioning, but the results indicated that participants’ identification with the athlete role significantly predicted conflict with socialized gender roles. Results suggest that in the aggressive and violent sport of football, coaches can have a direct influence on players’ moral functioning process. Coaches can also have an indirect effect by influencing all the players so that a culture of ethical play can be cultivated among teammates and spread from the top down.

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Leigh Jones, Lynne Evans and Richard Mullen

This is a follow-up article to an action research study that explored the effects of an imagery intervention on an elite rugby union player conducted over a 14-week period during the competitive season (Evans, Jones, & Mullen, 2004). A key feature of the study was that the same individual fulfilled multiple roles, specifically those of trainee sport psychologist, coach, and researcher. The aim of this article is to explore, from a trainee sport psychologist’s perspective, some of the issues that resulted from fulfilling multiple roles, both in the context of the study and in professional practice generally. The issues that emerged were consistent with the dual-role literature and involved role conflict surrounding areas of responsibility, scientific evidence versus social validity, confidentiality versus public statement, and the interpersonal welfare of both athlete and coach-sport psychologist (Ellickson & Brown, 1990). The findings highlighted (a) the importance of establishing ground rules (and planning), (b) the intensified emotional demands placed on the multirole practitioner, (c) the importance of involving a critical friend or outside agent, and (d) the potential for role conflict and the threat to objectivity.

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Susan A. Jackson and Herbert W. Marsh

The purpose of this study was to examine relations between women's involvment in sports and three psychological constructs: role conflict, sex-role identification, and multidimensional self-concepts. The three groups comprised female powerlifters competing in a national championship (n = 30), high school female athletes (n = 46), and high school female nonathletes (n = 46). Role conflict was not substantial except for a few specific areas related to conflicting expectations of appropriate female and athlete behavior. Both athletic groups scored substantially higher on masculinity (M) and on self-concept of physical ability than the nonathletic group, but there were no group differences on femininity (F) and few substantial differences in other areas of self-concept. Hence the results provide further support for the construct validity of androgyny and for the multidimensionality of self-concept. The major findings, that female athletes can be more M without being less F, and that female athletic involvement has positive benefits without producing any loss in F or in self-concept, dispels a popular myth about women's involvement in sports.

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Ellen Macro, Jennifer Viveiros and Nick Cipriano

This study explores female freestyle wrestlers’ experiences related to identity, body consciousness, (hetero)sexuality, and (conventional) femininity, and also the perceptions of females participating in a traditionally male-dominated sport. Data was collected from questionnaires distributed to 47 high school, university, and club female wrestlers and from in-depth interviews with eight university wrestlers. Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that female wrestlers are comfortable with their body; that public perception concerning their sexuality and femininity is not an issue of concern for them; and that they do not experience gender-role conflict nor engage in the female apologetic. The results are of particular interest because they differ from what other studies have concluded regarding the experiences of women in(traditionally male-dominated sports.