A systematic observation of hostile aggression in Junior B hockey
Gee, Chris J.
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Aggressive behaviours within the sport of hockey appear to be increasing in both prevalence and consequence (Biasca, Wirth, & Tegner, 2002). Accordingly, this area of inquiry is currently garnering a considerable amount of attention from society and academics alike. The problem however, is that our current understanding of these behaviours has been deemed both incomplete and unreliable. The inconsistencies inherent within this body of knowledge have been traced back to a variety of methodological shortcomings. The purpose of this investigation was to assess hostile aggression using a more ecologically valid and comprehensive research design. Ten Junior B hockey games were tapped and subsequently coded by three independent observers, using a validated operational list. Two hundred and fifty-nine behaviours were extrapolated and examined according to the score differential, period, position of the aggressor, status of the aggressor's team, and whether the aggressor was a member of the home or visiting team. It was concluded that the frequency of aggressive behaviours significantly differed according to the score differential, and status of the aggressor's team (p < .01). However, these hostile acts did not differ according the aggressor's position, period, and the home versus away status of the aggressor's team (p > .01). It was also determined that the majority of aggressive acts (69.1 1%) across these ten games went unsanctioned. This highlights the profound influence that "positive misses" have on penalty measures of aggression, while concurrently highlighting the ecological validity present with observational designs. Consequently, by assessing aggressive behaviour in a more inclusive and ecologically valid manner, a more accurate picture of the frequency and distribution of hostile aggression may be provided.