Symposium overview abstract


During adolescence, youth increasingly interact with peers as their social realm expands beyond the family and they struggle to establish their identity (Wagner, 1996). Throughout this formative period, adolescents rely on the identities they form through memberships in different social groups (i.e., their social identities). Seminal research in social psychology notes that even with arbitrary grouping criteria (e.g., color preference), youth behaviours differ between group members (ingroup) and others (outgroup; Tafjel et al., 1971). Youth sport teams constitute an influential peer group and a promising context to examine how social identity influences moral behaviour. This symposium will explore the use of novel research methods within a large naturalistic data collection effort seeking to further our understanding of the social identity and moral behaviour relationship in youth sport. First, we introduce the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), a novel observational ambulatory monitoring method and the Audio Coding System for Social Environments in Sport (ACSSES), which was developed specifically to assess communication and interactions related to social identity with youth athletes. Second, we investigate athlete engagement and reception of social identity enhancing behaviours using EAR methodology and the ACSSES. Third, we test social identity strength as a mechanism through which friendship networks at the individual and team levels relate to athlete moral behaviour. Finally, we examine social identity perceptions as a moderator of game outcome and hormone response. The findings from this research can inform theory and the practical strategies used by coaches to foster desirable teammate behaviours through social identity development.

Acknowledgments: This research was funded by SSHRC IG 435-2016-0591 and the Canada Research Chairs Program