Leaders promote attendance in sport and exercise sessions by fostering social identity

M. Stevens*, T. Rees, P. Coffee, S. A. Haslam, N. K. Steffens, R. Polman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Sport and exercise participation exert a positive effect on numerous aspects of individuals' health. Although sport and exercise leaders have generally been observed to play a key role in shaping group members' behavior, our understanding of their impact on group members' attendance in sport and exercise sessions is limited. To address this, and building on promising findings in other domains, we examined the associations between perceptions of sport and exercise leaders' engagement in social identity leadership, group identification, and attendance. A sample of 583 participants from sports teams (n = 307) and exercise groups (n = 276) completed questionnaires measuring identity leadership, group identification, and attendance. Analyses demonstrated that perceptions of leader engagement in social identity leadership were positively associated with members' group identification, and that this in turn was positively associated with their attendance in either a sports group or an exercise group. Moreover, there was a significant indirect effect for perceptions of leader engagement in identity leadership on group members' attendance through their greater identification with these groups. Findings highlight the importance of considering the impact sport and exercise leaders have on group members' attendance and suggest that leaders who represent, advance, create, and embed a shared sense of identity (ie, a shared sense of “us”) among attendees can promote participation in sport and exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2100-2108
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Volume28
Issue number9
Early online date17 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Keywords

  • attendance
  • exercise
  • leadership
  • mediation
  • social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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