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Alan L. Smith, Sarah Ullrich-French, Eddie Walker II and Kimberly S. Hurley

The purpose of this study was to (a) describe peer relationship profiles of youth sport participants and (b) assess the motivational salience of these profiles by examining profile group differences on sport motivation-related variables. Youth sport camp participants (N = 243) ages 10 to 14 years (M = 11.8, SD = 1.2) completed a multisection questionnaire that contained sport-contextualized measures of perceived friendship quality (positive, conflict), perceived peer acceptance, perceived competence, enjoyment, anxiety, self-presentational concerns, and self-determined motivation. The positive friendship quality, friendship conflict, and peer acceptance responses were cluster-analyzed, yielding five peer relationship profiles that were consistent with expectations based on previous research (i.e., Seidman et al., 1999). Profile differences were obtained for all motivation-related variables and were in theoretically consistent directions. Those young athletes categorized in more adaptive peer relationship profiles had more adaptive motivation-related responses. The findings support theoretical perspectives on social relationships and motivation as well as the efficacy of a person-centered approach to the examination of peer relationships in sport.

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Alan L. Smith

This study tested a model describing the relationships among perceptions of peer relationships, physical self-worth, affective responses toward physical activity, and physical activity motivation. The model was grounded in Harter’s (1978,1981a, 1986,1987) theoretical perspective, proposing that perceptions of peer relationships (i.e., friendship, peer acceptance) would predict physical activity motivation via affect and physical self-worth. Adolescents (N = 418, ages 12–15 years) completed a battery of questionnaires that assessed the study variables. Results of structural equation modeling analyses supported the overall model and most of the hypothesized direct and indirect relationships among variables for both female and male samples. Examination of alternative models suggested that some expected relationships might have been suppressed by a high correlation between the friendship and peer-acceptance constructs. However, alternative models also showed that these constructs independently contribute to predicting motivational variables. The results illustrate the importance of peer relationships to adolescent physical activity motivation.

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Krystn Orr, Katherine A. Tamminen, Shane N. Sweet, Jennifer R. Tomasone and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos

, friendship, occurs in a positive one-to-one relationship. In the second type of peer relationship, acceptance, there is a positive one-to-group relationship, such as being respected as a member of the team. Meanwhile, the third form of peer relationship, victimization, occurs when there is a negative one

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Alan L. Smith

may influence physical activity behavior, it is important to consider that physical activity settings are developmental contexts with potential to shape social outcomes such as the development of peer relationships (see Weiss, 2019 ). Peer dynamics and outcomes are in themselves developmentally

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Maureen R. Weiss, Alan L. Smith and Marc Theeboom

The influence of peer groups on children’s psychosocial development is highlighted in the sport psychology literature in areas such as motivation, self-perceptions, and affect. However, scant research has been devoted to examining children’s and teenagers’ conceptions of friendships within the physical domain. Current and former sport program participants (N = 38) took part in an in-depth interview that concerned their best friend in sports. An inductive content analysis revealed the existence of 12 positive friendship dimensions: companionship, pleasant play/association, self-esteem enhancement, help and guidance, prosocial behavior, intimacy, loyalty, things in common, attractive personal qualities, emotional support, absence of conflicts, and conflict resolution. Four negative friendship dimensions were extracted: conflict, unattractive personal qualities, betrayal, and inaccessible. These conceptions of friendship were both similar and unique to friendship conceptions found in mainstream developmental research. Future research directions include measurement efforts, relationships among important constructs, and intervention techniques in the sport setting.

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Maureen R. Weiss and Alan L. Smith

The role of peers has been neglected in research on youth psychosocial development in sport. The purpose of the present study was to develop and validate a measure of youth sport friendship quality for the purpose of facilitating such research. Dimensions and higher order themes found in Weiss, Smith, and Theeboom’s (1996) qualitative study of sport friendships among children and adolescents, as well as a core set of items from previous research (Parker & Asher, 1993), were used to develop and refine items for a sport friendship quality scale. Over the course of three studies, content, factorial, and construct validity, as well as internal consistency and test-retest reliability, were demonstrated for the Sport Friendship Quality Scale (SFQS). Future research is recommended to examine the role of children’s sport friendship quality on psychosocial development in the physical domain.

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Sarah Wollersheim Shervey and James C. DiPerna


There are many purported benefits to recess including engaging in physical activity, forming positive peer relationships, and taking a break from the classroom. Current research, however, is inconclusive regarding the presence of gender and developmental differences in physical activity that takes place during recess. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in the amount of physical activity that occurs during recess across gender and grade level.


Students from first- and sixth-grade classrooms participated in the study, and physical activity was measured using accelerometers to record the number of steps taken during recess.


A 2 × 2 factorial ANOVA indicated sixth grade males engaged in more physical activity than sixth grade females, first grade males, and first grade females.


Because they are not engaging in as much physical activity as their sixth grade male counterparts, ways to help female and younger students take more steps during recess should be explored.

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Helena Seymour, Greg Reid and Gordon A. Bloom

Social interaction and development of friendships between children with and without a disability are often proposed as potential outcomes of inclusive education. Physical activity specialists assert that exercise and sport environments may be conducive to social and friendship outcomes. This study investigated friendship in inclusive physical education from the perspective of students with (n = 8) and without (n = 8) physical disabilities. All participants attended a reversely integrated school and were interviewed using a semistructured, open-ended format. An adapted version of Weiss, Smith, and Theeboom’s (1996) interview guide exploring perceptions of peer relationships in the sport domain was used. Four conceptual categories emerged from the analysis: development of friendship, best friend, preferred physical activities and outcomes, and dealing with disability. The results demonstrated the key characteristics of best friends and the influential role they play.

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Jessica Fraser-Thomas and Jean Côté

The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of adolescents’ positive and negative developmental experiences in sport. Twenty-two purposefully sampled adolescent competitive swimmers participated in a semistructured qualitative interview. Content analysis led to the organization of meaning units into themes and categories (Patton, 2002). Athletes suggested their sport involvement facilitated many positive developmental experiences (i.e., related to challenge, meaningful adult and peer relationships, a sense of community, and other life experiences) and some negative developmental experiences (i.e., related to poor coach relationships, negative peer influences, parent pressure, and the challenging psychological environment of competitive sport). Findings underline the important roles of sport programmers, clubs, coaches, and parents in facilitating youths’ positive developmental experiences in sport, while highlighting numerous important directions for future research. Implications for coach training and practice are outlined.

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Trevor Williams and Denise Taylor

This study examines the influence of peers as sport socialization agents in the context of a wheelchair racing subculture in the United Kingdom. Using participant observation and survey methods the study focuses on elite and nonelite peer relationships–those between nonelite racers, between elite racers, and between elite and nonelite racers–and the knowledge that is transmitted and exchanged as subcultural responses to wheelchair racing problems. Six main interactional socialization contexts are identified: buying a racing wheelchair, British Wheelchair Racing Association training sessions, local training sessions, domestic races, foreign races, and Great Britain national squad training. Within these contexts elite racers socialize their nonelite peers by passing on subcultural solutions to two sets of problems: those that concern the racing chair and those that concern training. The relationship between the individual and the collective is complex, but peers play a major role in the development and transmission of the wheelchair racing subculture.