J26 Perception of coach leadership style as a predictor of team cohesion in elite women’s touch rugby


  • Lucy Witherspoon Brunel University London




Coach leadership style can hold a bearing on the development of a cohesive and integrated team, which can influence performance goals. Cohesion, as explored in Chelladurai’s Multidimensional Model of Leadership (MML), is defined as the ability for a team to remain united in the pursuit of shared goals (Burke et al., 2014, In Beauchamp & Eyes (Eds.) Group Dynamics in Exercise and Sport Psychology (pp. 213). Taylor & Francis). To date, numerous studies have explored the impact of coach leadership styles on team cohesion, typically inferring detrimental effects of autocratic leadership styles. However, there is limited research conducted with an elite female sample, particularly in amateur international competition settings. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between perceived leadership behaviour and team cohesion within the Scotland women’s team at the European Touch Rugby Championships in 2022. Accordingly, it was hypothesised that: H1 Leadership behaviours of training and instruction, social support, positive feedback and democratic leadership would be positive predictors of task cohesion, and H2 Autocratic leadership behaviour would be negative predictors of both social and task cohesion. After securing institutional ethical approval (Ref: 33249-A-Nov/2023-47988-1) and permission from the board of Scottish Touch Association, members of the Scotland Women’s team competing at the European Championships in 2022 were contacted to take part in the study (N= 15). Participants completed the Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS) that assessed coach leadership behaviours and the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ) that assessed cohesion. Data were checked for univariate outliers and the Mahalanobis test revealed no multivariate outliers. Skewness and kurtosis established normality and multiple regression analyses was used to predict cohesion from the five LSS subscales. Overall, no significant results were found for ATGT (F5, 9 = 0.56, P > 0.05), ATGS (F5, 9 = 1.27, P > 0.05), GIT (F5, 9 = 0.66, P > 0.05), and GIS (F5, 9 = 0.70, P > 0.05). In conclusion, athlete perceived leadership did not predict team cohesion, but the direction of relationships between factors partially aligns with previous research and indicates that research with a larger sample of female elite athletes is warranted under non-retrospective conditions. Further research with female samples has the potential to provide insights into the intricate relationship between leadership and cohesion, which could improve performance for elite female teams.