Psychological collectivism in youth athletes on individual sport teams


Considering that five of the ten most participated sports among Canadian youth are individual sports (e.g., swimming, gymnastics; Canadian Heritage, 2013), it is vital to gain a better understanding of the social environment within this context. Consequently, the current study examined whether psychological collectivism could predict enjoyment and intentions to return in youth athletes on individual sport teams. In addition, structural interdependence and age were used as moderator variables for the proposed relationships. In total, 142 youth (Mage = 14.44 years; SD = 1.63; 62% female) completed questionnaires at two data-collection periods (T1 – psychological collectivism, structural interdependence, age; T2 – enjoyment, intentions to return), and the results indicated that psychological collectivism positively predicted enjoyment and intentions to return. Also, task interdependence significantly moderated the relationship between psychological collectivism and enjoyment (b = .14, t(137) = -1.90, p = .06) and intentions to return (b = -.17, t(137) = -2.07, p < .05). Specifically, in situations where athletes worked together during competition (e.g., relays), athletes' collectivistic orientation had a stronger relationship with both enjoyment and intentions to return. Similarly, among older athletes, collectivism had a stronger positive relationship with intentions to return (b = .05, t(138) = 2.04, p < .05). Although individual sport rarely requires the extent of teammate interaction during competition that is evident in team sport, our results coincide with previous research and support the presence of interdependence structures, as well as their influence regarding affective experiences and participant intentions (e.g., Evans et al., 2012; Evans et al., 2013).

Acknowledgments: Funding provided by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) graduate student scholarship for the first author.