Attitudes towards soccer coaches’ use of punishment in Japan and England: A cross-cultural study

Haruka Hagiwara, Sandy Wolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Punishment serves a wide variety of functions, including retribution, deterrence, incapacitation,rehabilitation and behavioural shaping to comply with cultural norms. These uses, and theappropriateness of various forms of punishment, have been widely debated from practical,legal and ethical standpoints. Research demonstrates cross-cultural differences in the prevalence of types of punishment and societal attitudes towards punitive behaviour; these are known to exist in home, educational, work and sports environments. The present studyused a 2 × 2 × 2 design in which Japanese and English football (soccer) players and coaches read a vignette describing a coach who used either physical or verbal punishment inresponse to a troublesome player. Participants then rated the coach on items measuring acceptance of the coach’s behaviour and perceptions of his popularity. The results showed that the English and Japanese coaches and players viewed the coach similarly when he used verbal punishment. However, statistical interactions revealed that the English groups saw the coach as significantly more popular and acceptable when he used verbal rather than physical punishment, whereas the Japanese participants did not distinguish between the two forms of punishment. The Japanese group also scored higher on scales measuring Sensitivity to Punishment (SP) and Attitudes towards Punishment. The results are interpreted in terms of cross-cultural differences in these characteristics as well as to related variations in conceptsof individualism versus collectivism, shame and guilt, and attitudes towards leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-69
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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