The social environment in children's sport. Cohesion, social acceptance, commitment, and enjoyment

Janice L. Donkers, Luc J. Martin, Kyle F. Paradis, Scott Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The primary purpose of the current study was to determine whether perceptions of cohesion mediated the relationship between social acceptance and individual commitment and enjoyment in children's sport. A secondary purpose involved the assessment of the temporal nature of cohesion over the course of an athletic season. A total of 209 (Mage=9.87 years; SD=1.34) recreational soccer players completed questionnaires at three time points (T1 - social acceptance, cohesion; T2 - cohesion; T3 - commitment, enjoyment, cohesion) during an athletic season. Using structural equation modeling, the results indicated that task cohesion mediated the relationship between social acceptance and commitment and enjoyment, whereas social cohesion did not. In addition, individual perceptions of cohesion did not vary significantly over the course of the season. These results will be discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical implications. As one example, the relative stability in terms of perceptions of cohesion in this population could inform future intervention work aimed at enriching the social environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-294
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2015


  • Child sport
  • Group dynamics
  • Mediation
  • Physical activity
  • Social climate

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