The Impact of Teammate Interactions on Team Cohesion in Collegiate Athletics


Cohesion is considered to be one of the most important small group variables (Lott & Lott, 1965) and can be influenced by many individual and team factors (Carron & Spink, 1993). For instance, Carron and Spink (1993) theorized that teams with increased teammate interactions are more likely to experience high cohesiveness, yet no research to our knowledge has been conducted to empirically support this assumption. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine athletes’ perceptions of what constitutes an ideal amount of time interacting with teammates as well as the consequences of interacting frequently and infrequently in various team-related contexts. Participants were 165 athletes competing on varsity collegiate sport teams who completed an online questionnaire in which they were asked to report the minimum and maximum amount of hours per week that they would like to interact with teammates in various contexts. Descriptive statistics were calculated for interaction time within each context and a series of MANOVAs and t-tests were conducted to examine differences in the ideal amount of interaction time in each context based on gender, sport, year on team, amount of playing time, and living situation. Significant differences were found based on gender and living situation in a majority of contexts. The findings can be used to inform collegiate coaches and athletes concerning the ideal amount of interaction that should occur and how to navigate their athletes’ personal factors that may affect the preferred amount of time they want to spend with their teammates.