An Examination into Bullying in the Adolescent Sport Context

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Adler, Ashley L.
Bullying , Peer Relationships , Sport
Bullying is a prominent issue facing youth, as approximately one-fifth of students report being victimized. The majority of bullying research has been conducted in the academic setting; however, roughly one-third of bullying episodes occur outside of this context, for instance in sport. Sport is one of the most common activities with which youth participate, and initial evidence suggests that bullying occurs in physical-activity settings. Literature investigating bullying in the sport context has mainly focused on examining subsets of athletes within sport, for instance, female athletes, without examining differences across genders and other demographic contrasts. Thus, the present study aimed to identify the frequency of bullying, the demographic differences that exist in sport, and examine the impact that bullying has on an athlete’s development. Questionnaires were used to examine athletes’ frequency of bully-perpetration and –victimization encounters, athletic competence, global self-worth, connection to coach, and connection to teammates. The results from the present study suggest that bullying occurred more frequently in male athletes, and for team sport athletes. In addition, victimization predicts a reduction in global self-worth, connection to coach, and connection to teammates. These results provide a foundation to further explore demographic differences in sport, and presents initial findings regarding the impact of the bullying experience on adolescent athlete development.
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