Sport participation frequently involves prosocial behavior among in-group members (i.e., teammates), yet the competition found in sport often breeds hostility toward out-groups (i.e., opponents). Using sport as a lens to better understand associations among group-relevant moral behaviors, we conducted four meta-analyses to aggregate existing findings regarding associations among moral behaviors enacted in interteam realms (i.e., prosocial and antisocial behavior toward teammates and opponents). As a secondary goal, we tested whether sample age and gender distribution moderate these associations. A systematic literature search produced 39 relevant effect sizes (total N = 9,240) from studies that used the Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior in Sport Scale (Kavussanu & Boardley, 2009). Prosocial behavior toward teammates had a moderate positive association with prosocial behavior toward opponents, and antisocial behavior toward teammates had a strong positive association with antisocial behavior toward opponents. Age moderated the association between prosocial behavior toward teammates and antisocial behavior toward opponents such that there was a positive correlation across studies that sampled adult athletes, contrasting against a negative correlation for studies that sampled youth athletes. This aggregation of existing literature advances our theoretical understanding of how small group processes may shape athletes' moral behavior and holds several practical implications. Notably, battling concerns that promoting in-group ties within sport teams may inadvertently foster out-group derogation, efforts to promote strong team environments (i.e., team-building) should align with strategies that also promote prosocial behavior outside of team boundaries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Applied Psychology