Exploring the relationship between psychological climate and athlete satisfaction across sex and competitive sport levels


Researchers in organizational psychology report that team environments perceived as psychologically safe and meaningful (positive psychological climate [PC]) are associated with greater levels of job satisfaction (e.g., Brown & Leigh, 1996). While PC has been examined in the sport setting with respect to player effort, its relationship to player satisfaction has yet to be examined. Our purpose was to study the relationship between PC and satisfaction in sport, while examining sex and competitive level as possible moderators. Athletes (N = 343) from 24 intact sport teams completed a sport-adapted PC measure (Spink et al., 2013) and satisfaction with how teammates contribute to the individual as a person (i.e., social contribution; Riemer & Chelladurai, 1998) near the end of a competitive season. Given the nested nature of the data (ICC = .10), HLM was used to predict satisfaction from 4 dimensions of PC (i.e., supportive management, role clarity, self-expression, and contribution). The overall model was significant, ?2 = 55.05, p < .001, with role clarity (ß = .22) and self-expression (ß = .46) emerging as significant predictors (ps < .01) of satisfaction with social contribution. Neither sex nor competitive level emerged as significant moderators of the PC/satisfaction relationship. While in need of replication, these results provide a preliminary suggestion that athletes with a clear indication of role responsibilities and the ability to express individuality within the group also report greater social satisfaction. Further, it appears that the relationship is robust across males and females and more versus less competitive sport levels.