Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Dr. Craig A. Wrisberg

Committee Members

Dr. Leslee A. Fisher, Dr. J. Amos Hatch, Dr. Cheryl B. Travis


Based on previous research, it is clear that we do not yet have a firm understanding of female athletes’ perceptions of cohesion. Evidence suggests that women define themselves in terms of relationships whereas men define themselves in terms of personal attributes (Gilligan, 1982; Mathes & Batista, 1985). Other studies suggest that female athletes are more socially oriented when it comes to their team than are male athletes (Kidd & Woodman, 1975). However, female athletes’ perceptions of cohesion have likely been minimized in previous sport research, from the development of questions (Carron & Chelladurai, 1981) through the analysis of data (Schutz, Eom, Smoll, & Smith, 1994). The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of NCAA Division I female athletes’ experience of team cohesion. More specifically, an attempt was made to gain a greater understanding of how female athletes interact with and relate to their teammates and how they feel these interactions and relationships may or may not impact the performance of the team and their own individual experience of sport. A semi-structured interview approach was utilized with 10 NCAA Division I female volleyball players. The 4 themes identified in the data were: constituents of cohesion, facilitators of cohesion, threats to cohesion, and consequences of cohesion. The results are discussed in relation to Carron and Hausenblas’ (1998) general framework of group cohesion. Implications for coaches and sport psychology practitioners and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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