Perceived Motivational Climate and Team Cohesion in Adolescent Athletes

  • Horn T
  • Byrd M
  • Martin E
 et al. 
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Abstract

• Christine YOUNG 1 T his study was conducted to determine whether adolescent athletes' perceptions of their team's level and type of cohesion would be related to, or differ as a function of, their perceptions of their team's mo-tivational climate. This hypothesized link was assessed using both group comparison and multivariate correlational analyses. Study participants (N = 351 adolescent athletes) were recruited from sports camps conducted for high school-aged athletes at universities, colleges, and other sport facilities throughout the United States. Athletes completed questionnaires to assess perceived coach-initiated motivational climate (PMCSQ-2) and perceived team cohesion (GEQ). Based on their scores on perceived motivational cli-mate, athletes were divided into four climate type groups: Low Task/Low Ego; Low Task/High Ego; High Task/Low Ego; High Task/High Ego. MANOVA comparisons revealed that athletes in both high task groups (High Task/Low Ego and High Task/High Ego) exhibited higher perceptions of all forms of group cohesion. Canonical correlation analyses verified the primary link between a task-oriented team climate and high levels of group cohe-sion but also revealed some positive aspects of an ego-oriented climate. The obtained results revealed that a coach-initiated task-oriented climate is most strongly linked to high levels of perceived team cohesion. However, elements of an ego-oriented climate can also be positively associated with high levels of team cohesiveness provided they are accompanied by selected compo-nents of a mastery climate. Over the past couple of decades, a relatively large number of sport psychology-based studies have been conducted to examine cohesiveness within competitive sport teams. Recent reviews of this research (e.g., Carron & Brawley, 2008; Carron, Eys, & Martin, 2012) have provided support for the notion that high levels of cohesiveness within teams can serve as a facilitator of athletes' psychosocial well-being and possibly their performance. These reviews have also identified a number of factors that may impact team cohesion levels. One such factor may be the behavior of the coach. Although there is a relatively large literature base (see reviews by Chelladurai, 2007; Côté & Gilbert, 2009; Duda & Balaguer, 2007) examining how coaches' behaviors affect the psychological responses of individual athletes, there is less research that has looked at the effects of coaches' behaviors on the psychological well-being of the team. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the type of motivational climate that coaches create in practice and competitive contexts and their adolescent athletes' perceptions of their team's cohesiveness. This link was examined using both group comparison and multivariate correlational procedures. To provide a context for this study, the relevant research on cohesion and motivational climate is reviewed in the following sections.

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Authors

  • Thelma Horn

  • Megan Byrd

  • Eric Martin

  • Christine Young

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