Cooperative communication and individual attraction to the group: Examining the moderating effect of psychological climate


Emerging evidence suggests that a positive relationship exists between the cooperative communication of sport team members and perceptions of task cohesiveness (e.g., McLaren & Spink, 2018a; 2018b; 2019). Extending this relationship, the purpose of this study was to examine whether psychological safety would moderate this relation, including an extension to social cohesion. Psychological safety is the support and freedom individuals feel to express themselves without fear of negative consequences in a group setting (Brown & Leigh, 1996). If individuals fear expressing themselves (lower psychological safety), then the relationship between communication and cohesion should be stronger as communication might be expected to be more judicious leading to higher cohesion perceptions. To test for this possible moderating effect, team sport athletes (N = 136) completed an online survey containing measures of cooperative communication (Lee, 1997), psychological safety (Brown & Leigh, 1996), and group cohesion (ATG-T, ATG-S; Carron et al., 1985). Regression results for ATG-T (R2 = .42) revealed that the communication-cohesion relationship was significant at lower (-1SD; ? = 1.59) and mean values of psychological safety (? = 0.93), but not at higher values. Similarly, moderation also was found for ATG-S (R2 = .19). The communication-cohesion relationship was significant only at lower (-1SD; ? = 1.05) and mean values of psychological safety (? = 0.61). These results provide preliminary evidence that the relationship between team member communication and perceptions of cohesion in sport teams might be qualified by the member's perception of other aspects of the team's social environment (i.e., psychological climate).