The Sport Information Resource Centre
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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Workplaces have changed and provided more employee options over the last few year both in physical space design, the flexibility in hours employers provide, and the options to work from offsite or on. These changes are in response to employers trying to create the most productive work environment for their employees and to satisfy the growing need to accommodate a new generation looking for more flexible work experiences.

Remote work is one of those accommodations that organizations have explored to meet this growing need. Research by Gallup in 2017 found that in 2012 39% of employees worked remotely at least part of the time, this grew to 43% by 2016. Current projections indicate that this number could continue to grow by 2020 up to 75% of employees who will spend at least some of their work time offsite. In looking at the different cohorts of employees, while 90% of Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers have worked remotely, it is 60% of Millennials taking full advantage of remote work options, compared to 33% of Baby Boomers (Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); Comaford, 2017)).

Not only has the number of employees working remotely increased, but the amount of time they work remotely has also increased. In 2012, 34% of employees worked less than 20% of their time remotely which decreased to 25% in 2016; while only 24% of employees worked 80-100% of their time remotely in 2012 compared to 31% in 2016. So why are these trends fluctuating?

The Case for the Onsite Workforce

Organizations often quote a number of reasons as to why having remote employees does not work to their benefit. Yahoo, Best Buy and IBM have moved to decrease the number of remote employees due concerns of decreased teamwork, collaboration and communication. Other claims include that:

“Speed, agility, creativity and true learning experiences within your team,” are just some of the benefits of working together, in-person, from an office…

– Michelle Peluso, IBM

Why do organisations say that they prefer having employees onsite?

Why Remote Makes Sense

“Choice empowers people and makes for a more content workforce”

– Sir Charles Branson, Virgin

On the other side of the coin, employees cite a number of reasons why working remotely appeals to them. The following are the top 5 reasons employees give for working remotely (Source: West Unified Communication Services Remote Workforce Study)

  1. Sick children
  2. Transportation issues
  3. To avoid a long commute
  4. To improve productivity
  5. To avoid distractions

From the point of view for an organization considering integrating remote employment options, the following reasons echo many of those given by employees:

The Engagement Debate

Engagement and productivity seem to be linked on both sides of the remote vs onsite debate. With research telling us that the ideal amount of their time that employees should work remotely in order to remain engaged is between 60% to less than 80% of their time (Gallup 2017), it is important for an organization considering having remote employees to look at how can we make remote work more engaging.

Best Practices

Consider some of the following suggested best practices for managers to help make remote employment fulfilling for both the organization and the employee(s):

 
So which comes out ahead in the onsite vs remote employee debate?

As has been outlined there are many contributing factors to be considered when deciding which environment is best for an organization. In the end it’s not really a case of right or wrong, but rather what enables your organization to achieve its goals most effectively.


This SIRCuit article was published November 14, 2017.

The purpose of this presentation by Sport Canada was to provide an overview of the retrospective analysis of the first 10 years of the program encouraging sport participation research in Canada.

The review was intended to understand:

This presentation closes out by identifying trends and gaps in the research, as well as questions on knowledge transfer and opportunities for the future of the program.

2017 Sport Canada Research Initiative (SCRI) Conference Knowledge Transfer Presentation

In today’s rapidly changing sport landscape, it’s critical to make every decision count – and make sure every dollar has impact. Many organizations are seeking ways to use data to inform decisions and assess outcomes. But how exactly do you to move from the concept of “evidence-informed” to tangible, deliberate application of research to your everyday work? In the spring of 2017, in collaboration with our partners at the Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee brought together nine researchers from across the country to tackle that very question.

Jenn Bruce and Jenny Davey of the Canadian Paralympic Committee present at the SCRI 2017 Conference

In this session, CPC staff will share the path from refining an overall sport strategy, to recognizing the importance of embedding research in strategic development and sustainability, to finally engaging with a research team that will grow with us as our needs evolve and progress. We will share an example of an early success story: through work with research partners at the Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP), we were able to revise criteria to a key funding initiative – the Canadian Tire Parasport Jumpstart Fund – and ensure that more funds will be better spent to get kids with disabilities involved in sport.

2017 Sport Canada Research Initiative (SCRI) Conference Knowledge Transfer Presentation

This article presents a case study of how stakeholder collaborations can maximize engagement. The case is based off of a collaboration between the Sport Information Resource Centre and Dr. Ann Pegararo from Laurentian University exploring an analysis of social media communications around important announcements in the conversation around concussion in sport.

Debra Gassewitz and Ann Pegararo present at the 2017 SCRI Conference

Learnings show:

Social Listening Analytics:

2017 Sport Canada Research Initiative (SCRI) Conference Knowledge Transfer Presentation

In adolescence, girls are less likely to participate in sport, are more likely to drop out of sport, and report more poor sport experiences compared to boys. Concerns related to appearance, body shape, size, and weight disproportionally affect girls during adolescence and may impact their sport experiences. To date, there is primarily anecdotal evidence on the impact of body image factors on sport outcomes. The purpose of this mixed-methods program of research was to assess body-related emotions (guilt, shame, envy, embarrassment, pride) among adolescent girls involved in sport, identify how the emotions change over time, and to test sport outcomes related to the emotions. Experiences of body image factors in sport were also explored.

Catherine Sabiston presents at the 2017 SCRI Conference

We have found that the negative body-related emotions increase over three years, whereas the positive emotions decrease. These changes in emotions are related to lower sport enjoyment and commitment, higher sport anxiety, and are linked to sport withdrawal and drop out. Girls also reported on the judgment-based nature of sport, the prevalence of body talk and weight comments from coaches, teammates, and opponents, and the importance of developing competence. Taken together, the findings from this research should help to inform strategies to foster positive body image among adolescent girls involved in sport – necessary strategies to keep more girls more engaged in sport longer.

Research methods

Adolescent girls involved in organized sport were recruited through team sport organizations and coaches to participate in a prospective longitudinal study. The sports were purposefully selected to represent primarily non-judgment and aesthetic sports (e.g., hockey, softball, soccer). Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire used to assess emotions and sport performance outcomes once a year for three years. Data were analyzed using structural equation and multilevel modeling to test changes over time and associations between emotions and sport performance outcomes.

Furthermore, if the participants reported dropping out of sport across the data collections, the reasons for drop out were evaluated and girls who reported any body image or weight and shape reasons were purposefully sampled to participate in individual interviews. The interviews were transcribed and coded using thematic analysis to explore the experience of sport among girls who report body image challenges.

Research results

Over 540 adolescent girls completed the baseline survey, while there were n=291 participants at time 2 and n=215 participants at time 3 (39% retention rate). Mean age was 14.15 years old (SD = 1.36) at baseline. Most girls were enrolled in soccer or hockey, and there were 24 additional sports identified. Over half of the girls reported participation in two (56.5%) or three or more (18.4%) sports at baseline. The number of sports decreased over time. In fact, within the first year, 21% of girls dropped out of at least one sport, and 6% dropped out altogether. After the second year, an additional 18% of girls dropped at least one sport, and 8% dropped all sports. In total, over 58% of girls reported disengagement from at least one sport over the three years.

All negative body image emotions (guilt, shame, envy, embarrassment) significantly increased over time, and pride experiences decreased. These changes in the body image emotions were significantly related to declining reports of enjoyment and commitment and increases in sport anxiety across three years.

Twelve adolescent girls who reported withdrawing from sport due to body image reasons were interviewed about their experiences in sport. Based on the thematic analysis, seven main themes were identified: (1) culture of “body talk” is normative; (2) body-consciousness leads to compensatory behaviors (i.e., dieting, exercise, covering up); (3) sport promotes appearance and fitness-related social comparisons; (4) different presentations of body consciousness in social vs. sport contexts; (5) negative evaluations of appearance influence perceptions of competence in sport; (6) evaluative and competitive nature of sport is detrimental; and (7) enjoyment of sport is impacted by social influences in and out of sport context. Overall, perceptions of competence may protect girls from complete disengagement in spite of high negative body-related emotions, and negative emotional experiences are prevalent in adolescent girls sport. Also, it was evident that providers of support (e.g., parents, peers, coaches) are contributing to experiences of body consciousness. Descriptive statistics from the questionnaire data also highlight many of these findings – including adolescent girls reporting weight and body-related comments from family (61%), peers (19%) and coaches and teammates (24%).

Limitations of this work include the volunteer non-representative sample of adolescent girls. Also, three time points limits the study of change over time. Nonetheless, the prospective longitudinal design is a strength of this work, as is the purposeful sampling strategies and mixed methodologies.

Policy implications

Taken together, these findings address the first priority outlined in the Ontario Government’s Sport Plan (Game On) by identifying factors that may help explain the lower rates of sport participation among girls and women. Based on these findings, to improve participation in sport, there is a need to develop strategies aimed at improving body-related emotional experiences in sport. Furthermore, policies and modifications to codes of conduct are needed to reduce weight commentary and body talk tolerance.  Education programs aimed at parents, coaches, and athletes are also needed.

Next steps

It is important to start testing potential modifiable factors that may help to explain the relationships between the emotions and sport outcomes. We have started to test self-compassion as a protective factor. Based on the qualitative findings, the protective effects of perceptions of competence should be tested to determine if high competence blunts the association between the negative emotions and sport outcomes. Finally, more work is needed to disseminate these findings and evaluate existing programs, policies, and frameworks for any focus on body image, weight commentary, and body talk.

Some of the work on self-compassion is featured in a SSHRC storytellers video

There is also a summary video of this project

Key stakeholders and benefits

A list of sport organizations, governments (units, branches or sectors) and/or groups that may benefit from the findings and describe those benefits here.

2017 Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference (Knowledge Transfer Paper)

Investigators: Catherine M. Sabiston, University of Toronto, Eva Pila, Jennifer Brunet, Peter R. E. Crocker, Kent C. Kowalski, Diane Mack, and Philip M. Wilson

SCRI Conference presentation video

The purpose of the study was to engage rural preadolescent children in the development of research questions that are relevant and meaningful to exploring their participation and commitment to sport and other recreational activities. The three objectives were 1) To understand the children’s experience in participation of sport, 2) To discover from the children’s perspective, factors that should be incorporated into future research, and 3) To discover the most appropriate methods for engaging children in the research processes.

Hope Bilinski presents at the 2017 SCRI Conference
Research methods

Methods used in this qualitative study were focus group interviews with preadolescent children in two rural communities in Saskatchewan. Researchers worked with a small group of children from both communities to develop the interview questions for the study. Once the interview guide was developed, focus groups were conducted with groups of 6 to 8 children in each community. Following the analysis of the data, researchers returned to the communities to meet with the children to confirm the findings.

Research results

The children in this study were active and productive participants in the development of the data collection tool and in providing valuable data about their experiences in sport participation.

Children identified the following four areas that are important to explore: 1) motivation for participation, 2) feelings relating to participation, 3) the balance between sport participation and other aspects of their lives, and 4) the pathway to participation. In each area children expanded on further aspects to explore. In motivation, children suggested exploring enjoyment, health benefits, the challenge of the activity, and the social aspect. In the feelings component children suggested exploring feelings generated by external (people, social media, pets, and the rural environment) and internal influences. (personality and confidence, skills, and abilities). An exploration of the “right” balance between sport participation and other aspects of life, such as family and personal time was considered important. The last component related to the path to participation or what steps children take that ultimately result in participation.

In the next phase of the study children responded to questions related to the above four areas Children reported that having fun and feeling happy was a strong motivation in beginning and remaining in a sport activity. Many children felt that having fun was more important than winning. An important aspect of motivation and one that contributed to the fun was being with friends. A few children commented on how you felt good when you participated in the sport and that meant you were healthy. Having pets and living in a rural environment was described as an advantage to their ability to be active.

Children expressed positive and negative feelings that arose when participating in sport and that these feelings contributed to their desire to participate and even do better or worse in an activity. Children reported feeling very happy and proud when family was present and cheering them on to feeling very sad and anxious when coaches or other players were yelling at them or the audience was not supportive. Children felt it was important for them to develop skills such as teamwork, leadership, and sportsmanship and that their confidence or belief in themselves played a role in their participation.

Finding the right balance was reported as having enough time to participate in sport activities but also having enough time to play with friends or do other activities with family. Children noted that when the balance is tipped to include too many organized sport activities, the whole family is affected by the cost, the time commitment with driving, and the sacrifices made in not attending other events. Children estimated that the right balance is 50/50 as this would give them time for them and their family to do other activities that were important to them.

Children described the path to participation as “I see it, I try it, and I do it”. Children reported that seeing activities, either on TV, through print or social media, seeing other children’s activities, or other forms of advertisement can put the “idea in their heads” that they should try the activity. Children were very interested in providing information about sport participation to other children. They also stated that most information they receive about activities comes from adults and having more children involved would be motivating. One popular suggestion was having children involved in creating a comic book aimed at providing information about the activities in their communities. Children also reported that trying the activity before committing to participation would be beneficial. They described that a day with short demonstrations and opportunity to try many different activities would assist them is seeing if the activity is fun, if they have the skills and personality for the sport, who the coaches are, how competitive it is, and who are other children interested in the sport. If they find they do not have the skills, they would practice the activity first before moving into a long term commitment. If the child feels confident that the activity is meeting their needs, they would move to a long term commitment to the activity.

The limitations of this study include a small sample size, the rural setting, and the possibility that children who were particularly interested in sports activities may have self-selected to participate. These limitations reduce the generalizability of the results.

Policy implications

While virtually every Canadian community has some type of organized sport or structured activity, participation is declining. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that rural children are less likely to participate in organized sports. Sport participation has many individual benefits and for rural communities is often the last remaining social infrastructure that serves to unite community members and could foster tourism and economic developments. Saskatchewan Sport is a provincial organization responsible for supporting the delivery of sport opportunities in the province and has a mandate to ensure its members priorities and concerns are addressed (SK Sport, 2012). SK Sport identified the need to enhance sport participation in rural communities, particularly in children, and collaborated on this research to gain an insider’s perspective about the children’s experiences and factors that should be explored in the future.

Next steps

It may be of interest to repeat the study in more rural, urban, and indigenous communities. Alternatively, this qualitative study provided a foundation for further qualitative exploration into any of the four concepts that emerged from the data, such as further exploration into motivation, what does having fun mean? Does the meaning differ between rural, urban, or indigenous populations? If competition in sport was reduced, would more children be motivated to participate? What effect does negative communication from coaches have on children’s participation in current or future sport? This qualitative work may also provide a foundation for a quantitative tool on examining children’s experience in sport. It would be of interest to make comparisons between rural, urban, and indigenous communities to help determine population specific interventions or strategies.

Key stakeholders and benefits

SK Sport noted that any advertising or recruitment information is created by adults. It may be of benefit to explore innovative approaches in developing materials or recruitment strategies that can be made for children and by children. Rural health regions or school divisions could partner with organizations such as SK Sport in enhancing sport in children.

2017 Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference (Knowledge Transfer Summary)

Investigators: Hope Bilinski, University of Saskatchewan; Tara-Leigh McHugh, University of Alberta; Ulrich Teucher, University of Saskatchewan

SCRI Conference presentation video.

Hazing is a complex issue that is entangled in the culture and tradition of Canadian University sport.  Hazing is defined as an event created to establish a team’s social hierarchy by humiliating, degrading, abusing and/or endangering newcomers regardless of a person’s willingness to participate in order to reinforce their social status on the team. Anecdotal reports and growing research indicate that hazing persists among university athletes, yet to date, we did not have foundational data to provide a baseline for understanding hazing trends across Canada.

Jay Johnson and the panel at the 2017 SCRI Conference

This study was a multi-year initiative to explore the prevalence and nature of hazing among student athletes within Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS)-now U Sports. Specifically, the study:

  1. Investigated the prevalence and nature of hazing behaviours among student athletes in the CIS with a particular focus on gender rates,
  2. Investigated existing strategies within athletic programs to manage hazing activities among university sponsored teams;
  3. Examined policies for the development of strategies to enhance policy effectiveness;
  4. Provide research-based strategies to sport administrators for responding to and preventing hazing among CIS student athletes; and
  5. Provide a template for the transfer of knowledge by which other sport organizations such as secondary schools, community sport or regional/national teams can address the hazing within their programs.

Athletes in the current study indicated that common hazing practices included those of public humiliation and degradation. Moreover, athletes reported that coaches were not only aware of hazing behaviours, but also present while hazing behaviours occurred. Athletes who experienced hazing perceived more positive outcomes of hazing than negative, and did not report hazing incidents because they believed experiencing hazing was part of being a member of the team. Finally, only a small percentage of athletes had participated in hazing prevention workshops. Taken together, the results provide evidence that hazing in Canadian athletics is highly prevalent, and that more hazing prevention interventions are needed for not only athletes but also coaches.

Research methods

This study was a mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) endeavor.

Stage One was the survey component of data collection which included web-based surveys in French and English of student athletes at Canadian universities. This consisted of a random sample population of U Sports student athletes across all sports played, which includes 52 institutions and 21 sports with men and women combined.

Stage Two was the interview component which included follow-up interviews with individual on-campus student athletes at sample institutions and individual on-campus interviews with coaching staff and athletic administrators at sample institutions across Canada. Individual interviews (of approximately 60-120 minutes in duration) were conducted from a regional sample structure to represent the breadth of Universities across Canada, and were conducted in equal numbers of men and women student athletes and coaches, across sports.

 Research results

Stage one

A total of 434 U Sports (formerly known as Canadian Interuniversity Sport) athletes from various universities across Canada participated in the current study. Of these participants, 201 were male and 233 were female. Eighty-four percent of participants were between the ages of 18-22 years, 13.60% between the ages of 23-26 years, 1.20% between the ages of 27-30 years, and 0.70% older than 31 years. The racial and ethnic make-up of the sample varied, with 4.80% of athletes identifying as Asian, 5.30% as African Canadian, 1.30% as First Nations, 1.10% as Hispanic or Latino, 1.10% as Pacific Islander, 81.80% as White, and 3.70% as other. Approximately 2% of survey respondents chose not to disclose their race/ethnicity. The majority of participants were full-time students (97.56%), while a small portion were part-time students (2.44%). Thirty percent of students were first-year undergraduates, 21.47% were second-year undergraduates, 18.66% were third-year undergraduates, 15.58% were fourth-year undergraduates, 9.72% were fifth- and sixth-year undergraduates, and 3.92% were enrolled in graduate studies.

Participants belonged to various varsity-level (93.50%) and club-level (13.10%) sports, with football (40.50%), soccer (9.25%), and ice hockey (9.25%) being the most popular sports for males, and basketball (18.03%), soccer (17.17%), and rugby (12.02%) being the most popular sports for females. Athletes were also asked to rate their overall experience as an athlete on their team. The majority (72.53%) of athletes reported their experience as mostly positive, 24.24% reported their experience as both positive and negative, and 1.34% reported their experience as mostly negative.

Hazing Experiences

To assess athletes’ experiences with hazing behaviours, a list of 22 hazing behaviours was presented to the athletes. For each behaviour, athletes were asked to indicate whether the respective behaviour: (a) happened to them; (b) happened to others on the team; (c) happened to them and others on the team; or (d) never happened to them or others on the team (see Table 1). Results showed that 57.8% (n = 251) of athletes indicated that at least one of the hazing behaviours happened to them and others on the team. Frequent hazing behaviours that happened to athletes and others on their team included: wearing embarrassing clothing (30.20%); singing or chanting in public at an unrelated sport event, practice, or game (28.10%); attending a skit night or roast (18.20%); drinking or eating vile concoctions (15.90%); being yelled, screamed, or cursed at by others (15.70%); associating with specific people and not others (11.10%); and acting as a personal servant to other members (10.40%). Females (56.57%) reported experiencing more hazing behaviours than males (43.43%).

Self-reported hazing. Athletes were asked to indicate whether they had ever been hazed. Of the athletes who reported experiencing at least one of the hazing behaviours that met the definition of hazing, 59% reported that they had been hazed, 34.30% reported that they had not been hazed, and 6.80% were unsure. Participants who had self-identified as having been hazed reported that hazing occurred across a range of different organizations, including varsity sport teams (86.08%), intramural club sports (20.93%), bands (20.62%), performing arts organizations (20.10%), military organizations (20%), other types of organizations (15.15%), and recreational clubs (9.48%). In terms of athletes’ involvement in hazing others, most indicated that they had never participated in hazing someone else (74.42%), and never participated in hazing activities as part of their team (70.55%).

Knowledge of Hazing

From the list of hazing behaviours that were provided, 38.02% of athletes indicated they were aware of such behaviours prior to joining the team, 48.34% indicated they were unaware of such behaviours, and 13.55% indicated they were somewhat aware. Fifty-three percentage of athletes had heard of members from other teams at their university engaging in hazing behaviours, and 28.89% had witnessed members from other teams engaging in hazing. Of the athletes who experienced at least one hazing behaviour, 60.60% reported that coaches were not aware, present, or involved in the hazing behaviours, while 33.90% reported that coaches were aware of the behaviours but not present, 33.71% reported that coaches were present during the behaviour, and 4.54% reported that coaches were involved in the behaviour. Additionally, 67.40% reported that team alumni were not present during any hazing behaviours.

Perceptions of the Nature of Hazing

Participants who reported experiencing at least one hazing behaviour indicated that the behaviours primarily took place off-campus in a private residence (74.90%), off-campus in a public space (25.82%), and on-campus in an outdoor public space (16.41%). Athletes also reported that hazing behaviours occurred during the day (7.25%), during the evening (59.36%), and both during the day and the evening (33.39%). Hazing behaviours primarily occurred on a weekend free of competition (77.61%) as opposed to on a weekday (12.27%) or on a weekend or weekday in which the team was competing (10.12%). In terms of social media, photos of hazing behaviours were not generally posted on a public web space, as approximately 80% of athletes reported that they have never posted pictures of their team’s hazing activities online. When asked if others had ever posted pictures of hazing activities on a public web space, 55.46% of athletes responded no, 25.58% responded yes, and 19% were unsure.

Attitudes Toward Hazing

Participants reported speaking about their or others’ hazing experience to a friend (77.13%), another member of their team (67.09%), and a team captain (41.67%). In contrast, Alternatively, participants indicated that they did not speak to a clergy member (88.13%), a counselor (86.85%), or a coach/advisor (79.20%) about their hazing experience. As a result of participating in hazing behaviours, 63.02% of participants felt more belonged to the team and 18.65% felt a sense of accomplishment. A smaller portion of athletes experienced negative feelings as a result of participating in hazing, including looking forward to their chance to do it to others (19.92%), feeling stressed (10.84%), feeling humiliated/degraded (9.08%), and feeling guilty (7.97%).

Of the participants who had self-identified as having been hazed, the majority of athletes did not report the hazing behaviours to university authorities (88.14%). A large portion of athletes indicated they did not report hazing events because they felt that experiencing hazing was part of being a member of a team (75.67%). Other athletes did not report hazing events because they: (a) were fearful that other team members would find out they reported the event, (b) were worried about being harmed by their teammates if they find out they reported the event (12.58%). Athletes also indicated that they did not want to get their team members in trouble (27.42%).

Exposure to Hazing Prevention and Intervention Strategies

The majority of the sample indicated that their team had never been provided with a list of ideas for positive team building activities as an alternative to hazing (55%). Most athletes indicated that they were told of anti-hazing policies during new student orientation (60.46%), and prior to joining the team or organization (62.53%). A small percentage of participants reported attending hazing prevention workshops presented by adults and peers, 22.30% and 12.21%, respectively.

Discussion

The results revealed that over half of the athletes indicated that they as well as others on their team experienced at least one hazing behaviour. Over one third of athletes indicated that coaches were aware of hazing behaviours, while another one third of athletes reported that coaches were present during the behaviours. Results also indicated that hazing behaviours primarily occurred off-campus in a private residence, on weekends free of competition, and at night. The majority of athletes who were exposed to hazing reported experiencing more positive feelings rather than negative feelings. A large portion of athletes did not report hazing incidents to university authorities because athletes believed that being exposed to hazing was part of being a member of the team. Finally, the results showed that most athletes learned about hazing policies during new student orientation and prior to joining the team.

Findings of the current study illustrated that hazing is prevalent in Canadian university athletics, with 58% of athletes experiencing at least one hazing behaviour. Interestingly, however, this is the lowest rate of hazing noted in any research study examining hazing among university athletes. Similar to past research in the US (Allan & Madden, 2012) some of the most common types of hazing behaviours reported by athletes in the current study included public humiliation and degradation, suggesting that types of hazing behaviours remain relatively consistent across various student membership groups (e.g., athletes, academic clubs, performing arts). Further, when participants who reported experiencing hazing were asked whether they had ever been hazed, only 60% self-identified as being a victim of hazing. This particular finding underscores the confusion among athletes regarding what constitutes and defines hazing, and is a consistent phenomenon noted in other hazing research.

Approximately 34% of athletes in the current study indicated that coaches were aware of hazing behaviour, but were not present. This finding is comparable to past research which has shown that 25% of college students believed their coaches/advisors had knowledge of the hazing. More alarmingly was the finding that 34% of athletes indicated that coaches were present during hazing behaviours. Taken together, the perceptions athletes had regarding their coaches’ knowledge of and presence during hazing parallels past research showing that the majority of athletes reported that their coaches allowed and tolerated hazing and some athletes even indicated that their coaches encouraged hazing by telling athletes whom to haze. Interestingly, the findings from the current study, coupled with past research, provide some evidence that athletes’ perceptions of their coaches’ behaviours pertaining to hazing do not coincide with coaches’ overt attitudes toward hazing. To illustrate, Caperchione and Holman (2004) found that the majority of university coaches disapproved of hazing practices, and believed that athletes should challenge, reject, and even report hazing practices.

Coaches even went as far as stating that athletes who refuse to participate in hazing rituals and ceremonies should be respected and admired by their peers. This notion of newcomers challenging and rejecting hazing practices, and subsequently being respected and even admired for doing so is considerably inconsistent with both the literature and the findings of this study. Additionally, it is extremely discouraging that some coaches may feign ignorance of any knowledge or may be present during hazing behaviours given that such behaviours support hazing practices, reinforce team hierarchy, and indirectly (and potentially directly) harm the welfare of the newcomer. Therefore, given coaches can play a vital role in the hazing process, they should not only develop and communicate strict team policies against hazing, but also engage in behaviours that support these policies.

Results of the present study suggest that athletes’ perceptions of the nature of hazing appear to be somewhat different than those outlined in previous research. For example, in the current study athletes indicated that hazing primarily occurred off-campus in a private residence, during weekends free of competition, and at night. They also reported that photos of hazing behaviours were not generally posted on social media outlets. However, students in Allan and Madden’s (2012) US study reported that hazing often occurred in a public space on campus and during the day, and that photos of hazing behaviours were posted online by either themselves or others on their team/organization. The reason for these varying findings may be due to the difference in populations sampled in the current study (student-athletes) to that sampled in Allan and Madden’s study (e.g., student-athletes, members of performing arts group, members of academic clubs, etc.). Athletes of teams, unlike members of student organizations, may spend more time together (e.g., attending practices at night) and therefore may have more opportunity to engage in hazing practices. Additionally, research has shown that athletes (along with members of fraternities and sororities) are more susceptible to experiencing hazing than other group memberships (Allan & Madden, 2012). Consequently, there has been a growing interest among practitioners and researchers with respect to implementing more effective hazing prevention efforts and stronger disciplinary policies within university athletic programs. In the current study, it is possible that athletes took several precautionary measures to avoid “getting caught” (e.g., not posting photos online) and potentially receiving some form of punishment, thereby feeding into the secrecy culture of hazing.

Similar to past US research, the majority of athletes in the current study perceived significantly more positive outcomes of hazing than negative. This finding suggests that athletes may consider many of the hazing behaviours as harmless and appropriate, especially when their teammates approve and support such behaviours. For instance, if a newcomer participates in a hazing behaviour that appears seemingly innocent (e.g., wearing embarrassing clothes) and does not perceive this experience as harmful, then they may be more likely to perceive hazing as a positive experience. In fact, nearly two thirds of athletes in the present study reported that they felt more part of the team after participating in hazing behaviours. This perspective appears to be consistent with the well-established belief that acquiescing to hazing practices leads to full membership into the group. Athletes might have justified their willingness to be hazed as important because of the subsequent award (e.g., membership). Further, the results showed that the majority of athletes who participated in hazing did not report the behaviours to university authorities. The primary reason for not reporting hazing behaviours was athletes’ perception that experiencing hazing was part of being a team member. This finding illustrates the extent to which hazing is a deep-seated tradition, and mirrors earlier hazing research showing that engaging in hazing behaviours is considered to be a normal aspect of sport. Athletes in the current study also indicated that they did not report hazing incidents because they were fearful of the negative consequences (e.g., being harmed and being treated as an outsider). Similarly, current and former athletes from a US study indicated that they were unwilling to speak out against hazing as it would lead to greater humiliation and alienation from the team. Collectively, these findings reinforce the need to educate athletes on the dangers of hazing and empower athletes to stand up against hazing traditions. We suggest that case studies, scenarios, and role playing could be used to teach athletes how to prevent and intervene hazing incidents. Based on the present study’s findings, the prevention strategies recommendation would also be in concert with coaches and administrators to enhance effectiveness.

While the majority of athletes in the current study noted that they had been told of anti-hazing policies during new student orientation as well as prior to joining their team, only a small percentage indicated that they had participated in hazing prevention workshops. Additionally, findings revealed that most athletes had never been provided with ideas of alternative, positive initiation activities. These findings highlight the need to adopt more proactive approaches to hazing prevention efforts, such as conducting workshops and team discussions. More specifically, sport stakeholders (e.g., administrators and sport psychology consultants) could use workshops and team discussions as platforms to challenge, diminish, and replace hazing traditions. In collaboration with coaches, stakeholders could use workshops to educate athletes about hazing by identifying hazing as a problem, discussing the dangers of hazing, and explaining how they (the athletes) could play an important role in eliminating hazing initiations. Moreover, through team discussions, stakeholders could collaborate with athletes by brainstorming positive initiation activities (e.g., cooperative team games and excursions). Such positive initiation activities could serve as alternatives to traditional degrading, humiliating, and harmful hazing initiations, while at the same time foster group cohesion, a sense of social identity, and strong interpersonal relationships. In fact, results from this study found that the idea of implementing alternative orientations (e.g., rock climbing and canoe tripping) with male and female athletes could lead to numerous outcomes such as enhanced group cohesion, diminished team hierarchies, and improved group identity and be a replacement for current hazing practices.

Due to ethical reasons, coaches were responsible for forwarding their athletes the study’s invitation email. Thus, it is possible that some coaches consciously decided not to forward the email to their athletes as an effort to maintain the culture of silence around hazing. On a similar note, while over 1000 athletes agreed to participate in the current study, more than half did not complete the survey. Of course, numerous factors may have influenced this incompletion rate. Given the nature of the topic (hazing) it is possible that athletes felt uncomfortable detailing their involvement in hazing, despite the fact that anonymity and confidentiality were ensured.

(Please see the ppt for Stage two results)

 Policy implications

We recommend that our findings be used to make recommendations for an effective, proactive policy that supports the development of positive values among sport teams, including a clear process for investigating and prosecuting violations related to hazing with clear sanctions or consequences. Such a policy can then strengthen the voice of participants and contribute to change from within. The targeted groups should be governing bodies, U Sports, individual universities, high school sport, provincial regulating bodies across sport, and club sport organizations.

The findings can be used to promote the implementation of effective policies and training programs that address the dangers of hazing, augmenting the likelihood of athlete retention by creating a social and competitive setting where athletes want to spend their time and efforts and families want to encourage and support their achievements. The success of the project is dependent upon the shared outcomes of the study and the use of these findings in the development of recommendations and educational materials to be widely distributed.  Some of the specific initiatives to achieve this include: multiple press conferences to release findings; formal written reports with findings and recommendations for participant institutions and for general public (via paper and website); shared findings via presentations at national meetings or conferences, some of which might include U Sports Annual General meetings, Regional general meetings, Coaching Association of Canada, community sport organizations such as the OHL, North American Society for Sport Management and the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.

A further recommendation is to develop and distribute workshop and educational materials based on findings and a curriculum that can be implemented by administrators (similar to mandated drug education for athletes) and educators in universities, to be modeled by other similar organizations such as secondary schools. The information generated may be sufficient for the co-researchers to develop book proposal(s) for an academic/research audience, or a general audience of community coaches, administrators and parents as well as generating articles for scholarly forums such as journals and newsletters.

Set up multi-media platforms, Facebook pages and twitter to educate and communicate with teams, coaches and athletes as well as the governing organizations to create a more transparent approach and conversation regarding hazing.

Next steps

Researchers might consider qualitatively examining perceptions of hazing among athletes, coaches, and athletic directors, with a particular focus on investigating existing and future hazing prevention strategies and interventions. This information could inform researchers and practitioners of the key ingredients needed in order to develop cost-effective, practical, and successful strategies and interventions. Investigating the coaching culture would also advance the literature on hazing in athletics. Additionally, researchers have noted that mentoring between current and new team members could serve as a positive socialization experience and could facilitate a positive, healthy team environment. In fact, recent research suggests that approximately 40% of Canadian intercollegiate athletes have never been peer-mentored by another athlete. The benefits of being peer-mentored by another athlete include increased satisfaction with teammates, as well as enhanced confidence and performance and a willingness to mentor other athletes. Coaches of teams notorious for upholding hazing traditions could attempt to facilitate an environment where veteran athletes are encouraged to mentor rookie athletes. This approach might help to reduce the prevalence of hazing in sport teams. Determining whether mentoring relationships between athletes would prevent hazing incidents warrants future investigation. This mentorship could also be extended to high school and club sport (feeder systems for university sport) to target high school athletes to educate and involve them in discussions and positive orientations to start cultural change prior to university and have more athletes stay in sport in general.

Research should also be conducted on the effectiveness of alternative interventions such as rock climbing and outdoor adventure based education to change the culture of hazing on teams.

Lastly, an important aspect of this phenomena that should be researched is the feeder system. Little is known what goes on with teams and athletes in Canada prior to arriving at University although US research indicated a high percentage of students experience hazing.

Key stakeholders and benefits

The Canadian Association for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment in Higher Education and sport organizations (e.g., U Sports, Sport Canada NSOs, Sport Manitoba, Canada West, Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations, Coaching Association of Canada, community sport organizations such as the OHL, North American Society for Sport Management and the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport).

2017 Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference (Knowledge Transfer Summary)

Investigators: Jay Johnson, University Of Manitoba; M. Holman; J. Chin‐San; E. Allan; M. Madden

SCRI Conference presentation video.

This study aims to gain a better understanding of the sports experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes. There is very little Canadian data so far on the reality of LGBT athletes. However, all existing studies on the subject look at the difficulties faced by LGBT athletes, such as rejection by peers, harassment, name-calling, giving up the sport, stress and under-performance.

Guylaine Demers presents at the 2017 SCRI Conference

For this project, we have the following objectives: 1) describe the positive and negative experiences of LGBT people on sports teams, 2) measure the attitude of heterosexual members of sports teams toward LGBT athletes, 3) identify and understand barriers to and elements facilitating the participation of LGBT people in sports, 4) determine the prevalence of homophobia on sports teams, and 5) describe the impact of homophobia on LGBT athletes.A total of 1,008 Canadian athletes aged 18 to 30 answered an online questionnaire, including 724 female athletes (71.86%), 282 male athletes (27.94%) and 2 intersex athletes (0.20%).

The study confirms that homophobia is still present in Canadian sport and that it affects all athletes, regardless of their sexual orientation. Indeed, 30% of heterosexual athletes, 67% of LGB athletes and 85% of trans athletes experienced at least one homophobic episode. The most frequent forms of LGBT-phobia that were reported were verbal insults, disparagement and offensive remarks. LGBT athletes who are subject to this treatment say they feel pressured to stay in the closet (not reveal or talk about their sexual orientation), are verbally insulted and are ignored or excluded by their peers.

Nevertheless, there is an improvement. Indeed, 97% of heterosexual athletes say they are very comfortable or comfortable with having LGBT teammates. The athletes who took part in the study also indicated that sports culture is changing in keeping with Canadian culture. Finally, athletes indicated that schools, coaches and parents need to be made aware early on so that LGBT-phobia is taken seriously in sports environments, so as to ensure that sports events are more welcoming.

Research methods

A total of 1,008 Canadian athletes aged 18 to 30 answered an online questionnaire, including 724 female athletes (71.86%), 282 male athletes (27.94%) and 2 intersex athletes (0.20%). 86% of respondents were under the age of 24. 68% identified as heterosexual, 15% as homosexual, 10% as bisexual and 6% as asexual, pansexual or queer. With respect to their gender identity, 84% of the respondents identified as cisgender and 16% as queer, two-spirit, trans woman or trans man.

For the next project stage, we will conduct a series of interviews with LGBT athletes who indicated their interest in the online questionnaire. The interviews will enable us to describe more accurately and in greater detail the reality of LGBT athletes in their sports environments with respect to LGBT-phobia.

Research results
Connor Taras shares his experiences as an Olympic Kayaker

According to the athletes who were consulted, LGBT-phobic behaviour can largely be explained by the attitude of teammates (openness or not to the presence of LGBT athletes), social media (outing an athlete, disparaging LGBT athletes) and the type of sport (e.g., “all figure skaters are gay”).

Nevertheless, there is an improvement. Indeed, 97% of heterosexual athletes say they are very comfortable or comfortable with having LGBT teammates. The athletes who took part in the study also indicated that sports culture is changing in keeping with Canadian culture.

Athletes feel that the following action could make sport more welcoming (ranked in order):

Policy implications

Improvement of sports environments

Still today, young people who are part of the LGBT minority experience discrimination and LGBT-phobia in sports. Although Canada is a world leader in terms of LGBT rights, our study shows that young athletes are still subject to LGBT-phobia in the sports world. In light of these figures from young athletes (aged 18 to 23, accounting for 85% of respondents), Sport Canada needs to support and encourage the organizations it funds to actively engage managers, coaches, technical directors and athletes in creating inclusive and welcoming sports environments, namely by adopting and promoting clear anti-homophobe and inclusive policies with respect to LGBT members.

Although only 13 trans athletes answered our questionnaire, 11 of them had been subject to trans-phobia. This clientele thus seems especially vulnerable. Future policies must include this population.

Next steps

Research questions

Related problems

Sports culture is especially difficult to change. Our study clearly showed that LGBT-phobia is linked to the type of sport, among other things. Still today we associate certain sports with the presence or absence of homosexual people: female versus male sports, individual sports versus team sports, stereotypically female sports versus stereotypically male sports, sports with predominantly homosexual participants. How can we change the culture and the perceptions of stakeholders in the Canadian sports system in spite of this culture and deeply rooted stereotypes and biases?

Key stakeholders and benefits

A list of sport organizations, governments (units, branches or sectors) and/or groups that may benefit from the findings and describe those benefits here.

2017 Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference (Knowledge Transfer Summary)

Principal Investigator: Guylaine Demers, Laval University

SCRI Conference presentation video

The aim of this project was to examine how the hosting of different forms of sport events for persons with disabilities were being leveraged to create opportunities for community participation, and influence community attitudes towards disability. Research on events demonstrates that it is necessary to intentionally and strategically construct programs and opportunities around the event if sustainable positive impacts are to be realized for the host community. To examine these issues, we focused on two types of large scale sporting events: integrated events where able-bodied athletes and athletes with a disability compete alongside one another (2014 Commonwealth Games – Glasgow, Scotland), and non-integrated events that have a distinct event for athletes with a disability separated by time, but occurring in the same or similar location (2015 Pan/Parapan American Games – Toronto, Canada). Each of the cities hosting the respective Games had established specific objectives concerning increasing accessibility and advancing social inclusion for persons with disabilities in the host region. Thus, we sought to examine how these objectives were then used to create strategic leverageable assets for the host community.

Laura Misener presents at the SCRI 2017 Conference

Conclusions:

Research methods
Photo: Dan Galbraith/Canadian Paralympic Committee

We gathered qualitative and quantitative data for both events.

We examined 42 relevant policy documents (e.g. Bids, Evaluations). Second, we conducted strategic interviews pre and post-event with decision-makers from Organizing Committees (OC), local and provincial governments, advisory groups, and event. This included 19 interviews for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games (CG2014) and 23 for Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games (TO2015) between January 2014 and October 2015. The interviews focused on the opportunity that the event afforded for increasing participation of persons with disabilities.

Onsite observations were undertaken during both G2014 and TO2015 events focusing on accessibility, representation of disability and parasport, audience knowledge, and overall event related leveraging impressions.

Survey data was collected using a global attitudes measure, the Scale of Attitudes Towards Disabled Persons (SADP; Antonek, 1981) from volunteers pre and post-event and spectators onsite at both events. A total of 2860 volunteers completed the pre-event survey and 1,824 volunteers post-event for CG2014. For TO2015, 2,896 volunteers completed the pre-event survey and 1,331 volunteers post-event. On-site spectator surveys were completed via tablets with 784 undertaken at CG2014 and 1,062 at TO2015. Data analysis focused on how involvement and/or exposure to an integrated and non-integrated parasport event influences attitudes towards persons with disabilities; and the relationship between awareness of the event and attitudes.

Research results

The results demonstrate a highly strategic and integrated policy approach to leveraging TO2015 for broader diversity outcomes aligned with a social understanding of disability, while CG2014 implemented legacy planning with a lack of strategic intent limiting potential long term social outcomes.

The emphasis on diversity enabled the TO2015 to advance an ideology of inclusion that covered all aspects of accessibility and opportunity, which became progressively embedded in the structure and functioning of the organization. The OC attempted to use the Games as a catalyst on issues of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility by engaging community leaders through targeted forums/advisory groups, some of which have been sustained post-Games. However, the integrated approach to organizing also meant the distinction for parasport and disability specific initiatives remained under-resourced, due to performance priorities of the Games. The CG2014 bid and pre-Games policy initiatives suggested that accessibility and opportunity for diversity in legacy plans were critical. However, none of the initiatives were resourced by the OC, and externally focused programs were on elite sport performance goals rather than broader participation.

During both Games, there were numerous missed opportunities for social change such as representation of disability in the media and commentating, and basic external accessibility opportunities (e.g. transportation). In the aftermath of the Games, even with some new pristinely accessible sport facilities, few leveraging strategies are evident focusing directly on enabling participation from persons with disabilities. The importance of negotiating everyday barriers such as accessible transportation, supportive services (e.g. coaches, staff), economic inequalities, and pathway development was lacking, demonstrating neglected potential of the event.

Spectator data showed a small shift in awareness of disability related issues as a result of the events, however volunteers who might have had direct contact with para-athletes had a more pronounced shift in understanding and awareness of disability. For each Games, volunteers’ attitudes towards disability demonstrated a marginal increase pre- to post-Games (CG2014 ~3%; TO2015 ~1%). Similarly, 30% for G2014, and 55% for TO2015 of spectators indicated that they felt the Games did change their attitude towards persons with disabilities. However, the survey results show very favourable overall perceptions regarding disability issues, which likely represents a ceiling effect in the events’ capacity to actually impact upon attitudes. The key question remains as to whether these apparently positive attitudes toward disability result in positive behaviours.

Policy implications

Our study has demonstrated events are an opportunity to pursue interventions that might prioritize accessible outcomes to education, transport, facility provision and parasport development. However, it was found that exploitation of the sport event itself is often limited by the able-bodied operational imperatives of delivery, to the detriment of disability specific issues. If major sporting events are to be part of a social change agenda, then specific, realistic, leveraging strategies embedded in existing community infrastructures need to be crafted and resourced. Major sporting events that contain parasport components can both accelerate and accentuate beneficial outcomes for persons with disabilities if there is recognition that structural inequalities cannot be alleviated over the course of Games time. Event host cities need to be accountable for sustainable resourced outcomes that help ameliorate social inequalities. Thus, sport policy more broadly needs to emphasize inclusive and accessible participation, and be thoughtful not to mirror able-bodied sports trends that have focused first, or only, on investment on elite pathway development, neglecting the structural inequalities which prevent broad based community participation.

Next steps
Photo: Adam Pulicicchio/Canadian Paralympic Committee

Further research must examine how disability sport events impact sport and physical activity participation for persons with physical disabilities in the host city once the event is complete. Do the strategies and resources developed as part of the event process result in greater opportunities for persons with disabilities to become active, and to what end? Research should address knowledge gaps of whether events’ process strategies address barriers to sport and physical activity participation by creating new pathways to participation and how this impacts the lived experiences of persons with disabilities. There is also a pressing need to address how disability is represented in the events process either to the detriment or the advantage of persons with disabilities.

Key stakeholders and benefits

Groups or organization attempting to leverage a parasport event in order to create opportunities for community participation, and influence community attitudes towards disability may benefit from the insights of this study.

2017 Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference (Knowledge Transfer Paper)

Investigators: Laura Misener, Western University; David Legg, Mount Royal University; Gayle McPherson & David McGillivray, University of the West of Scotland

SCRI Conference presentation video