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Article

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

Citation
Stevens M, Rees T, Coffee P, Haslam SA, Steffens NK & Polman R (2018) Leaders promote attendance in sport and exercise sessions by fostering social identity. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 28 (9), pp. 2100-2108. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13217

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 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.

Keywords
Leadership; Social identity; Attendance; Exercise; Mediation

Journal
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports: Volume 28, Issue 9

StatusPublished
Author(s)Stevens, Mark; Rees, Tim; Coffee, Pete; Haslam, S Alexander; Steffens, Niklas K; Polman, Remco
Publication date30/09/2018
Publication date online17/05/2018
Date accepted by journal08/05/2018
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/27214
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
ISSN0905-7188

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