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PSY FPX 8842 Assessment 3 Working with Diverse Populations on Social Cohesion


Capella University

PSY FPX 8842 Applied Sport Psychology

Prof. Name


Working with Diverse Populations on Social Cohesion

A team’s success, whether in amateur or professional sports, heavily relies on social cohesion. Defined by Eys and Kim (2017), cohesion includes athletes’ perceptions of unity and personal commitment to both the task and social goals of the team. This cohesion can be challenging to achieve, particularly for National Football League (NFL) teams, which average over 200 transactions per season (Spotrac, 2019). The situation is further complicated by prevailing social issues such as police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. Despite initial reluctance, the NFL officially endorsed social justice initiatives, most notably through the Inspire Change Program (NFL, 2020), following a former player’s kneeling protest during the National Anthem in 2016.

Demographic Composition and Challenges

The demographic makeup of NFL athletes adds another layer of complexity to cohesion efforts. According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (2019), 70.1% of NFL athletes are non-white, in stark contrast to the 39.9% non-white population in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019). Yet, until recently, public support from the league for its non-white players was insufficient. Addressing cohesion, therefore, requires tailored approaches for different athlete groups, based on an understanding of their backgrounds and experiences.

Approaches for White and Non-White Athletes

For white athletes, fostering an understanding of racial inequality and its impact on their non-white teammates is crucial. This can involve simple yet meaningful activities that draw on personal experiences, such as reflecting on unfair treatment based on arbitrary differences, similar to offensive versus defensive roles (NFL Communications, 2020). Non-white athletes, on the other hand, need environments that encourage open dialogue, requiring patience from their white teammates who may need time to understand unfamiliar concepts shaped by different upbringings (Crace & Hardy, 1997).

Navigating Gender Dynamics in Coaching

Coaching staff must also address gender dynamics to achieve social cohesion. Despite an increase in female participation in football, the coaching field remains predominantly male. This gender disparity, highlighted by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (2019), necessitates concerted efforts to address gender-based biases and microaggressions within coaching circles (Yang & Carroll, 2018).

Strategies for Male and Female Coaches

For male coaches, recognizing and addressing unconscious biases, such as microaggressions, is essential. Supporting female coaches involves providing them with assertiveness training and conflict resolution skills to manage potential tensions arising from differing coaching styles (Hanrahan & Andersen, 2010).

Effective Interventions for Social Cohesion

Direct intervention is the most effective strategy for fostering social cohesion among coaches and athletes. Yukelson’s (1997) four-part intervention model—assessment, education, brainstorming, and implementation—offers a structured framework for facilitating team-building initiatives. Actively involving participants in the process fosters receptivity and reduces the impact of preconceived notions, promoting inclusive environments conducive to cohesion (Eys & Kim, 2017).

Continued Efforts and Challenges

Despite progress, cultural nuances and individual differences present ongoing challenges. Continuous vigilance is necessary to prevent exclusionary behaviors and maintain a balance between social closeness and constructive criticism, which is essential for sustained progress in task cohesion within sports teams.

PSY FPX 8842 Assessment 3 Working with Diverse Populations on Social Cohesion


Crace, R. K., & Hardy, C. J. (1997). Individual values and the team concept: Effective team building in sport organizations. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 9(1), 41-59.

Eys, M., & Kim, J. (2017). Team building and group cohesion in the context of sport and performance psychology. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology.

Hanrahan, S. J., & Andersen, M. B. (2010). Routledge handbook of applied sport psychology: A comprehensive guide for students and practitioners. Routledge.

National Football League. (2020). Social justice inspiring change in communities nationwide.

NFL Communications. (2020). Houston, Florida, Saint Thomas Aquinas produce most NFL players.,-Florida,-Saint-Thomas-Aquinas-produce-most-NFL-players.aspx

Spotrac. (2019). NFL transactions. Spotrac.

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES). (2019). 2019 racial and gender report card.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2019). U.S. Census Bureau quickfacts: United States. Census Bureau QuickFacts.

PSY FPX 8842 Assessment 3 Working with Diverse Populations on Social Cohesion

Yang, Y., & Carroll, D. W. (2018). Gendered microaggressions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Leadership and Research in Education, 4, 28-45.

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