Maureen R. Weiss *, Lindsay E. Kipp ** and David Goodman ***
(*) University of Minnesota, USA
(**) University of Kentucky, USA
(***) Simon Fraser University, Canada
R. Weiss, M., E. Kipp, L., Goodman, D. (2015). Unsportsmanlike play in youth ice hockey: gender and age differences in attitudes and perceived social approval. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(1), 1-17. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.001
The purposes of our study were twofold: (a) we replicated past research by exploring age and gender differences in unsporting attitudes (general and contextspecific) and perceived approval by parents, coach, and teammates, and (b) we extended past research by examining gender and age as moderating variables in the relationship between approval by significant others and unsporting attitudes. Youth hockey players (191 male, 84 female) in age-group competitive leagues read scenarios and responded to questions assessing study constructs. Results indicated: (a) boys and older players reported greater unsportsmanlike attitudes (general and situation specific) and social approval than girls and younger players, (b) players reported higher legitimacy of and intention to use unsporting actions in situations described as helping the team win the championship and if an opponent committed the act first, and (c) teammate approval of unsportsmanlike actions was the predominant predictor, followed by parents, of players’ endorsement of unsporting acts for both genders and age groups. Results partially support and extend past studies on the social learning of unsportsmanlike play and reinforce the powerful influence of significant adults and peers for shaping moral attitudes and behaviors in the sport context.
Keywords: Coaches, Moral development, Parents, Teammates