Everyone else is doing it: The association between social identity and susceptibility to peer influence in NCAA athletes

Scott A. Graupensperger, Alex J. Benson, M. Blair Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors examined athletes' conformity to teammates' risky behaviors through a performance-based manipulation paradigm. They hypothesized that athletes who strongly identified with their team would be at increased risk of conforming to teammates' behaviors. Athletes (N = 379) from 23 intact National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams completed surveys (e.g., social identity) and reported the extent to which they would engage in risky behavior scenarios (e.g., drinking and driving). Then, researchers displayed ostensible responses that were manipulated to appear as though teammates reported high engagement in the risky behaviors. Finally, athletes again responded to the hypothetical scenarios and a conformity index was created. Results indicated that social identity, at both individual and group levels, positively predicted conformity- indicating that athletes with stronger social identities are more susceptible to peer influence. Although these findings highlight a pernicious aspect of social identity, they also provide insight into how group-level processes could be leveraged to prevent risky behaviors in student-athletes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology

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