A growing body of literature associates anabolic-androgenic steroids (AS) with psychological and behavioral disturbance. Studies report marked increases in aggression, and authors have suggested a causal relationship with the pharmacological properties of AS. There are, however, contradictions, methodological shortcomings, and variability within the literature that indicate a need to reevaluate the interpretation of these findings. After considering limitations in the pharmacological-oriented approach when compared to wider theory, a previously unconsidered social-psychological literature base regarding this problem is examined. The paper explores the role of social mediation in the relationship between AS use and aggression, demonstrating how psychosocial factors may bring about the aggressive behavior. Although these alternatives aim to place the nature of effects firmly back in the field of psychological explanation, it is proposed that the true nature of the effects will only become evident by adopting a complex biopsychosocial approach to the study of this problem.
Martin Sharp and David Collins
Nicholas Stanger, Maria Kavussanu, and Christopher Ring
Aggression has been linked to empathy and emotions (e.g., guilt) in cross-sectional studies. The purpose of this experiment was to examine the effects of empathy on emotional reactions to aggression and the role of guilt in the empathy–aggression relationship. Seventy-one undergraduate sport and exercise science students with a mean age of 19.56 (SD = 1.94) years were randomly assigned to either a high- or a low-empathy group. We experimentally manipulated empathy using perspective taking instructions and examined the following: (a) participants’ emotional reactions to images of aggressive acts; (b) their reported likelihood to aggress in a hypothetical sport situation; and (c) the extent to which they anticipated feeling guilt if they were to engage in an aggressive act. Participants in the high-empathy group experienced stronger negative emotional reactions to images of aggressive acts and reported lower likelihood to aggress than did those in the low-empathy group. Anticipated guilt partially mediated the effects of empathy on reported likelihood to aggress. Our findings suggest that empathy may help reduce aggressive behavior and highlight the potential mediating role of guilt.
Erica L. Carleton, Julian Barling, Amy M. Christie, Melissa Trivisonno, Kelsey Tulloch, and Mark R. Beauchamp
Based on the contention that leadership has sustained effects on followers even after the leader–follower relationship has ended, we investigated the career-long effects of abusive coach leadership on athlete aggression and task performance. Abusive leadership scores were derived from ratings by two independent raters’ evaluations of coaches’ biographies, and athlete aggression and task performance data were derived from objective sources. Data were obtained from players (N = 693) and coaches (N = 57) involved in the National Basketball Association (NBA) between the 2000–2001 and 2005–2006 seasons. Controlling for tenure, salary, team winning percentage, and absence due to injuries, multilevel modeling showed that exposure to abusive leadership influenced both the trajectory of psychological aggression and task performance over players’ careers. These findings suggest that the effects of abusive leadership extend far longer than currently acknowledged, thus furthering our understanding of the nature and effects of abusive leadership.
The traditional view in psychology is that aggression is an undesirable, negative aspect of human behavior that is unhealthy and needs to be prevented or managed ( Bandura, 1973 ; Berkowitz, 1989 ; Buss, 1961 ). Such a blanket approach takes little account of the type and context of any
Graig M. Chow, Kristen E. Murray, and Deborah L. Feltz
The purpose of this study was to examine personal and socioenvironmental factors of players' likelihood to aggress. Participants were youth soccer players (N = 258) and their coaches (N = 23) from high school and club teams. Players completed the Judgments About Moral Behavior in Youth Sports Questionnaire (JAMBYSQ; Stephens, Bredemeier, & Shields, 1997), which assessed athletes' stage of moral development, team norm for aggression, and self-described likelihood to aggress against an opponent. Coaches were administered the Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES; Feltz, Chase, Moritz, & Sullivan, 1999). Using multilevel modeling, results demonstrated that the team norm for aggression at the athlete and team level were significant predictors of athletes' self likelihood to aggress scores. Further, coaches' game strategy efficacy emerged as a positive predictor of their players' self-described likelihood to aggress. The findings contribute to previous research examining the socioenvironmental predictors of athletic aggression in youth sport by demonstrating the importance of coaching efficacy beliefs.
Ben Larkin and Janet S. Fink
, Wann and his colleagues (e.g., Donahue & Wann, 2009 ; Wakefield & Wann, 2006 ) have demonstrated how team identification can manifest in negative behaviors, such as verbal and physical aggression, blasting the opposition or game officials, and so forth; however, this was assumed to represent the
Mariya A. Yukhymenko-Lescroart
engage in the conduct of poor sportspersonship, such as gamesmanship and instrumental aggression ( Yukhymenko-Lescroart, 2015 , 2016 , 2018 ). While instrumental aggression refers to poor character, gamesmanship falls in an ambiguous area with many sports endorsing and encouraging gamesmanship (e
Paul A. Davis, Louise Davis, Samuel Wills, Ralph Appleby, and Arne Nieuwenhuys
processes and emotions so that they are not easily regulated and negatively affect performance. Furthermore, tactics aimed at altering opponents’ emotions may extend beyond verbal exchanges to involve acts of physical aggression (e.g., bowling intentionally at the batsman’s head) that are carried out in
Brenda Jo Bredemeier and David L. Shields
The designation of an act as aggressive involves an implicit or explicit moral judgment. Consequently, research on aggression must address the value issues involved. The present article suggests that Haan’s theory of interactional morality can be used to provide a framework for social scientific research into moral issues. Haan’s model, however, must be adapted to the unique context of sport. This study applies the concept of frame analysis as a procedure for clarifying the moral reasoning associated with athletic aggression. In contrast to similar acts in everyday life, moral ambiguity characterizes some sport acts intended to deliver minor noxious stimuli. The label of aggression must be used with caution when designating such acts.
Paul Baar and Theo Wubbels
Internationally, very little research has been done into peer aggression and victimization in sports clubs. For this exploratory study, 98 coaches from various sports were interviewed in depth about their views on peer aggression and victimization and their ways of handling these issues. To put the coaches’ views and practices in perspective, they were contrasted with those of a reference group of 96 elementary school teachers and analyzed qualitatively. The interviews demonstrated that sports coaches currently were unaware of the construct of peer aggression, were unable to estimate the actual extent of peer aggression and victimization at their clubs, and were likely to overestimate their own impact, control, and effectiveness in handling the issue. This study underlines the need for coaches to develop their skills in recognizing and handling peer aggression and victimization and the need to develop sports-club-specific observation instruments and peer aggression programs.