Communication Profiles and Sport Experiences of Collegiate Track and Field Athletes

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Psychology of Sport and Exercise




Elsevier BV

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Objectives Athletes often communicate with one another and exchange information, attitudes, and feelings that can influence their sport experiences. In an effort to better understand the sport communication context, the purpose of the current study was to (a) describe communication profiles of athletes (b) examine potential predictors (i.e., team identity, sex) of profile membership, and (c) examine the salience of these profiles by assessing profile group differences on athletes’ perceptions of burnout, engagement, satisfaction, and enjoyment. Design Cross-sectional survey-based study. Method Collegiate track and field athletes (N = 219) completed measures of demographic information, team communication, team identity, burnout, engagement, enjoyment, and satisfaction. Communication profiles were examined using latent profile analysis. Using the three-step method in Mplus, possible prediction of profile membership and profile differences in perceptions of sport experiences were examined. Results Three profiles emerged: the Less Effective Communicators, the Supportive Communicators, and the Functional Communicators. Athletes with greater team identity were more likely to be in the Supportive Communicators profile (p < 0.001), male participants were more likely to be in the Functional Communicators profile (p < 0.05) than the other profiles, and female participants were less likely to be in the Less Effective Communicators profile than the Supportive Communicators profile (p < 0.05). The Less Effective Communicators had greater perceptions of burnout (ps < 0.01) and lower perceptions of engagement (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05), satisfaction (p < 0.001 and p = 0.001), and enjoyment (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05) than the Supportive and Functional Communicators. Supportive Communicators had greater satisfaction (p < 0.001) and enjoyment (p < 0.001) than the Functional Communicators. Conclusions Different profiles of communication in track and field athletes may have implications for athletes’ sport experiences and warrant continued study.

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