Psychological Predictors of Job Performance and Career Success in Professional Sport

Rosanna Stanimirovic (2010). Psychological Predictors of Job Performance and Career Success in Professional Sport PhD Thesis, School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Rosanna Stanimirovic
Thesis Title Psychological Predictors of Job Performance and Career Success in Professional Sport
School, Centre or Institute School of Human Movement Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-07-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Stephanie Hanrahan
Total pages 204
Total black and white pages 204
Subjects 11 Medical and Health Sciences
Abstract/Summary The measurement of psychological factors specific to sport has provided sport psychologists with valuable information for performance enhancement interventions. It is necessary, however, to consider that the predictive validity of the measures when related to job performance or career success in professional sport is limited (Humara, 2000). Psychological factors that potentially contribute to job performance and career success in professional football were analysed in the current study. The aim of the thesis was to present evidence for a systematic method of assessment as recommended by Schmidt and Hunter (1998) that includes general mental ability (GMA) and appropriate supplementary measures for sport. The supplementary measure chosen was the Bar-On Emotion Quotient Inventory (EQ-i; BarOn, 1997), which is a measure of trait emotional intelligence (EI). Three studies were conducted to test the predictive validity of the measures when related to criteria specific to professional athletes playing in the Australian Football League (AFL). The first study explored the dimensional structure and factorial validity of the EQ-i in a sample of male athletes using direct hierarchical modelling. The psychometric properties of the EQ-i in sport had not yet been examined. Based on a total sample of 706 male athletes, the structure of a general factor, five second-order factors, and 15 first-order factors was a poor fit for the data. The factorial validity of the individual subscales was also examined at the item-level. Analyses demonstrated that 13 of the 15 subscales showed reasonable levels of fit. Information about the validity of the measure is presented to psychologists using the EQ-i with athletes. More independent research investigating the dimensional structure and factorial validity of the EQ-i in sport is required. The second study explored relationships between GMA, trait EI factors, and performance criteria in male professional footballers playing in the AFL. Athletes already contracted to a professional team (N = 152) and athletes recently recruited to a professional team about to commence their professional football careers (N = 115) completed the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) as a measure of GMA and the EQ-i. Regression analyses indicated that GMA contributed less than 1% of the variance to number of professional games played and the relationship was negative. EQ-i subscales contributed both positively and negatively to number of professional games played. The EQ-i subscale social responsibility predicted number of games played in the first 2 years of a professional career (ΔR2adj = .06, p < .05) and the EQ-i subscale stress tolerance predicted average number of disposals by midfield players in a season (ΔR2adj = .12, p < .01). The results provided some evidence for the predictive validity of GMA and trait EI factors in professional football and demonstrated the directions of the relationships were both positive and negative. The implications for professional practice in sport psychology are discussed. The third study measured the adjustment of AFL football players from the amateur to the professional level of competition. Rationale for the measurement of adjustment was based on various theoretical conceptualisations related to major life events (Moos & Tsu, 1976); adjustment to a new organisational role (Kammeyer-Mueller & Wanberg, 2005); and competencies to deal with environmental demands, challenges, and pressures (Bar-On, 1997, 2004, 2006). Participants (N = 17) were contracted to AFL clubs through the AFL national draft in 2007 and 2008. Adjustment factors measured included task mastery, role clarity, group integration, organisational commitment, and work withdrawal behaviours. Trait EI subscales were included in the analyses as predictors of adjustment. AFL games played and number of weeks missed due to injury were also included as possible predictor variables relevant to AFL. Regression analyses indicated that self-regard predicted the adjustment factors of task mastery (R2adj = .28, p < .05), role clarity (R2adj = .24, p < .05), and group integration (R2adj = .30, p < .01). Stress tolerance also predicted role clarity (R2adj = .23, p < .05). The regression coefficients were significant but negative. AFL games played predicted work withdrawal behaviours (R2adj = .30, p < .01). Overall, the results provided preliminary evidence for how adjustment can be conceptualised and measured in professional sport. Overall the results suggested that the utility of GMA in professional sport was poor and did not contribute significantly to career success or job performance. The predictive validity of the EQ-i in professional football was evident providing further evidence for the construct of trait EI in a professional sport context. Providing theoretical and empirical evidence to athletes and coaches about how psychological skills relate to performance at the professional level based on relevant criterion variables is important for the field of sport psychology. Ongoing research to determine construct validity of factors such as trait EI that predict job performance and career success in professional sport is warranted. Evidence of a relationship between psychological competencies and performance in professional sport may lead to increased emphasis on the development of those psychological competencies and potentially enhance the professional experience for the athletes and the return on investment for professional sporting organisations.
Keyword cognitive abilities
trait emotional intelligence
psychometric assessment
sport performance
construct validity
direct hierarchical modelling
factorial validity
Additional Notes landscape pages: 29-31 88-89 92-93 121-122 124 126 154

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Created: Tue, 09 Nov 2010, 23:29:55 EST by Miss Rosanna Stanimirovic on behalf of Library - Information Access Service