Redefining sportspersonship : a compliant and principled model

Perry, John L. (Sport psychologist)

June 2014

Thesis or dissertation

© 2014 John L Perry. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Despite the accepted importance of sportspersonship, behaviour contrary to good sportspersonship is regularly observed in sport (Shields, Bredemeier, LaVoi, and Power, 2005). It is surprising therefore, that since the development of a multidimensional definition of sportspersonship in in mid-1990s (Vallerand, Deshaies, Cuerrier, Briere, and Pelletier, 1996; Vallerand, Briere, Blanchard, & Provencher, 1997), research into the subject has stalled somewhat. The purpose of this thesis was to reignite this avenue of research by exploring an existing model, and developing and presenting a superseding model. After a critical analysis of the existing measures of sportspersonship, the compliant and principled sportspersonship scale was developed and validated in a host of studies. Exploratory factor analysis presented an initial model of sportspersonship. This was examined using confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory structural equation modelling. A five-factor, 24-item measure of sportspersonship was presented consisting of (a) compliance towards rules, (b) compliance towards officials, (c) legitimacy of injurious acts, (d) approach towards opponent, and (e) principled game perspective.

Studies in the thesis positively relate sportspersonship with moral behaviour, task goal orientation, empathy, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. It is negatively associated with antisocial behaviour and Machiavellianism. These studies support the construct validity of the scale and provide greater theoretical understanding of sportspersonship. Criterion validity is supported through two experimental studies that found that sportspersonship positively predicted prosocial and negatively predicted cheating. Finally, recommendations for enhancing sportspersonship are offered. Overall, the thesis redefines sportspersonship, presents a new multidimensional measure of sportspersonship and evidence of its validity, explores the relationship of sportspersonship to other psychological concepts, and provides a template for assessing and developing measurement scales.

Department of Psychology, The University of Hull
Clough, Peter (Psychologist)
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