Key players in sport teams. An exploratory study on the effects of attachment styles on intra-team relational networks.

Dizdari, Helga; Seiler, Roland (2020). Key players in sport teams. An exploratory study on the effects of attachment styles on intra-team relational networks. Psychology of sport and exercise, 51, p. 101798. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.psychsport.2020.101798

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Relationship issues in sport are considered vital for the overall wellbeing of athletes (Jowett, 2005). The way athletes interact, create and maintain relationships is thought to be powerfully influenced by the athletes’ attachment states of mind (Thomson & Jaque, 2018). To our knowledge, no study so far has investigated the impact players’ attachment styles, as personality dispositions, have on overall intra-team relationship dynamics. This paper examines intra-team social relational networks from the perspective of adult attachment theory. Cross-sectional data were collected from 10 sport teams (158 players) from different sports. Self-report data were collected to assess attachment style and social relationships with teammates. Social network analyses (SNA) were used to calculate players’ centrality scores based on incoming and outgoing relational nominations. Multilevel linear analysis was further performed to check inferential relationships between the study variables. Data showed that attachment styles of players, as personality dispositions, affected partly centrality degree positions within the various team social relational networks. The study offers an innovative perspective on the interactional and dynamic world of social relationships in sports teams and confirms that attachment style differences among players predispose them to particular positions within the team social relational networks. Although the current research has an exploratory character, it shows a new direction in the study of groups and sport team dynamics.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)

UniBE Contributor:

Dizdari, Helga and Seiler, Roland


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Elsevier Science




Roland Seiler

Date Deposited:

03 Dec 2020 08:50

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2020 02:57

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Attachment styles Relationships Social network analyses Team dynamics




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