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Stellino, Megan Babkes

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Competitive youth sport requires athletes to persistently decide what the moral course of action is across situation (Boardley, 2020; Rest, 1984). Sport cultures that contain coaches who endorse a win at all cost mentality encourage athletes’ engagement in behaviors that are detrimental to their opponents to achieve competitive success (Boardley & Kavussanu, 2007). Bandura (1991) proposed that environmental processes can alter how an individual determines the moral course of action through the anticipation of behavior to produce self-referenced positive consequences, such as pride or satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to explore athletes’ moral acculturation experiences within hockey culture as illuminated in theoretical contentions of moral thinking and agency. A qualitative methodology was employed through the implementation of stimulated recall interviews (SRIs) to examine Tier I Varsity male hockey athletes’ (N = 4; Mage = 16.5 years), acculturation experiences relevant to their engagement in at least two PHBs. An iterative reflexive thematic analysis (RTA) indicated the emergence of four themes relevant to how participants’ acculturation experiences were used to regulate their engagement in PHBs: (a) Immediate Who, (b) Extended Who, (c) Give to Get, and (d) All in Together or Out all Alone. In addition, multiple sub-themes emerged to reflect how participants’ developed expectations of their PHBs to produce negative consequences for their opponent and/or opponent’s team: (a) Get ‘em Scared, (b) It’s Gonna be a Long Day, and (c) Take ‘em Out of the Game. Participants’ expectations of the negative consequences for their opponent or opponent’s team were perceived as necessary antecedents to the sub-themes representative of the positive consequences participants anticipated for themselves and/or their team: (a) Fires us Up, (b) Keeps our Team Rolling, and (c) Definitely Negatively Impacts Them. Results also indicated how controlling coaching behaviors were used by athletes to anticipate their PHBs to produce positive self-referenced consequences described in the following sub-themes: (a) Get More Ice Time, (b) Be Proud, and (c) Showing Grittiness. Finally, results indicated how specific psychological mechanisms enabled athletes’ anticipation of negative consequences for their opponent and/or opponent’s team to produce positive consequences for themselves and/or their team reflected in the following sub-themes: (a) Proving You’re Better, (b) Build the Camaraderie, (c) Try to Hurt, and (d) Obviously to Win. Findings from the current study extended clarification of how controlling coaching behaviors and various psychological mechanisms are used by hockey athletes to develop expectations of their PHBs to produce self-referenced positive consequences as a function of the negative consequences for their opponent and/or opponent’s team.


213 pages

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