Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Sportspersonship Orientation and Empathy: A Study of Professional Football Players

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Sportspersonship Orientation and Empathy: A Study of Professional Football Players

Article excerpt

Introduction

There has been an increasing attention to studies on sports ethics and empathy in recent years. The studies on issues such as moral reasoning in sport and daily life, aggressive tendencies (Bredemeier, Weiss, Shields, & Cooper, 1986; Bredemeier, 1994), the personal and environmental factors on the display of sportspersonship (Stornes, 2001), moral growth among athletes and nonathletes (Bredemeier & Shields, 1986), prosocial and antisocial behavior in sport (Kavussanu, Seal, & Phillips, 2006; Kavussanu, 2006), moral reasoning, moral action and the moral atmosphere of sport (Jones & McNamee, 2000), motivational climate and sportspersonship (Lemyre, Roberts, & Ommundsen, 2002; Stornes & Ommundsen, 2004; Gano-Overway, Guivernau, Magyar, Waldron, & Ewing, 2005), sportspersonship orientations (Vallerand et al., 1997) have called for a new understanding of sports ethics. Sportspersonship usually deals with normative standards regarding socio-moral interaction in sports. Normally, sportspersonship refers to virtuous or normative behavioral dispositions prescribing how to behave according to the spirit of sport (Stornes & Bru, 2002). According to Feezell (1986), sportspersonship is a mean between excessive seriousness, which misunderstands the importance of the play-spirit, and an excessive sense of playfulness, which might be called frivolity and which misunderstands the importance of victory and achievement when the play is competitive (Feezell, 1986). For Arnold (1984), sportspersonship is characterized by magnanimity, good humor, respect, politeness, affability, compassion, altruism and generosity. The good sportsperson keeps to the letter and the spirit of the game and never detracts from the virtues listed. The significance of sportspersonship as virtues or attitudes rests in the belief that cognition is motivational, meaning that athletes who express pro-social intentions also act in accordance with their perceptions (Stornes & Ommundsen, 2004). There are three basic theoretical views as to how sportspersonship should be perceived. These theoretical views have made seminal contributions to our understanding of sportspersonship orientations. First, the social cognitive theory posits that models and reinforcement determine athletes' beliefs about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviors in competitive settings. The second approach draws concepts from the structural developmental model and, most notably, from moral reasoning. Specifically, one's capacity to instill conciliation through moral dialogue has been shown to impinge on aggression thereby suggesting behavioral propensities akin to those associated with sportspersonship. (Chantal & Bernache-Assollant, 2003).

The social-psychological perspective is the third one proposing that it is important to make a clear distinction between three key elements; sportspersonship orientations, the development sportspersonship orientations, and the display of sportspersonship behavior (Vallerand & Losie, 1994; Vallerand, Brière, Blanchard, & Provencher, 1997; Vallerand, Deshaies, Cuerrier, Brière, & Pelletier, 1996). Vallerand and Losier (1994) have adopted a social-psychological view of sportspersonship that separates the latter from aggression. The multidimensional definition of sportspersonship underlines the content of the sportspersonship behavior and orientations. According to Vallerand et al. (1997), the multidimensional construct of sportspersonship consists of five clear and practical dimensions: 1) Full commitment toward sport participation; 2) Respect for social conventions; 3) Respect and concern for the rules and officials; 4) True respect and concern for the opponent; 5) Negative approach toward sportspersonship.

Like in the sportspersonship literature, different approaches of empathy have been offered in the literature. While some researchers focus mostly on the cognitive side of empathy (Eisenberg, Holmgren, & Fabes, 1998), others are more concerned with affective factors (Mehrabian & Epstein, 1972). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.