Social identity, group-based self-conscious emotions, and change in sport experiences among female youth involved in sport


Compared to males, adolescent females are less likely to be involved in team sport, drop out faster, and report lower perceptions of positive sport outcomes (e.g., enjoyment) and higher negative outcomes such as anxiety. Predictors of youth sport experiences need to be identified to help keep more females involved in sport. Based on theories of emotion and motivation, the social context - including social identity and group-based emotions - of youth sport may be important factors. This study examined the association between social identity in sport and change in perceptions of sport enjoyment, commitment, and anxiety over two years, and tested experiences of group-based (teammate) self-conscious emotions as mediators of the associations among adolescent females involved in team sport. Female youth participants (N = 212) completed self-report surveys twice one year apart and data were analyzed using multiple mediation and residual change scores. Sport identity was a significant (p < .05) predictor of change in enjoyment and commitment (R2 = .38 & .31, respectively) with the group-based emotion of pride as a significant mediator of the associations. The model for change in sport anxiety (R2 = .14, p =.01) had no significant direct effect of sport identity yet teammate envy was directly associated with higher experiences of anxiety in sport over two years. Theoretically, these findings offer preliminary evidence linking the social context of sport frameworks of identity, collective emotions, and sport experiences. These findings also offer insight into practical strategies that may help foster positive experiences for female youth involved in sport.

Acknowledgments: This study was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant