Group Cohesion and Positive Youth Development in Team Sport Athletes
Bruner, Mark W.
Eys, Mark A.
Wilson, Kathleen S.
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Previous research demonstrates that the cohesion of a group can influence the perceptions of its individual group members. The purpose of this study was to examine group cohesion and perceptions of positive youth development (PYD) in team sport athletes. Male and female adolescent athletes (N = 424) from 35 high school sport teams completed measures of cohesion (Youth Sport Environment Questionnaire; Eys et al., 2009a) and PYD (Youth Experience Survey-Sport; YES-S; MacDonald et al., 2012). The Youth Sport Environment Questionnaire assessed perceptions of team task and social cohesion, while the YES-S assessed five PYD subscales (personal and social skills, initiative, cognitive skills, goal setting, and negative experiences). A multilevel analysis was performed for each PYD subscale. At level one, higher perceptions of task cohesion predicted greater PYD in the form of greater personal and social skills, initiative, goal setting, and less negative experiences. Similarly, higher perceptions of social cohesion also predicted greater PYD as indicated by higher levels of personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and lower levels of negative experiences. At level two, team means for task and social cohesion predicted negative experiences. Higher perceptions of team task cohesion predicted less negative experiences, while higher perceptions of team social cohesion predicted more negatives experiences. Cohesion accounted for variance at both the individual and team levels ranging from 3% (cognitive skills) to 13% (personal and social skills). Results indicate the influential role a cohesive sport team has on youth personal development in sport. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)