A Theoretical Framework of Sports Team’s Well-Being: An Integrative Perspective of Role Equivocality and Emotional Intelligence on Trust and Happiness

Drew Sannes, Minnesota State University


The purpose of this study is to develop and provide an integrative conceptual model of sports teams’ well-being to achieve a win-win situation of happiness for all stakeholders of sports teams, grounded in role theory and commitment-trust theory. I first conceptualized well-being as an ultimate consequence by exploring sub-dimensions of happiness and providing relevant hypotheses linking with the respective antecedents. Second, I explored the effect of antecedents of sports team’s well-being as an anchor between the positive and negative sides of the resultant outcomes – i.e., trust and happiness. Third, I examined the role of trust as a mediating factor in the relationship between the antecedents and sports team’s well-being. Then, I proposed a model of sports teams’ well-being to understand a mechanism among relevant measurements. Literature suggests that two ambivalent components affect psychological satisfaction and happiness by trading off the effect of each dimension. Those two contributing factors include equivocality, having a negative characteristic caused by different role, multiple information sources and communication methods, while emotional intelligence entails a positive characteristic comprised of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Then, those antecedents affect strength of trust (level of trust for self and teammates regarding expected performance) and ultimately determine student-athletes’ well-being (objective performance, cohesiveness and overall satisfaction belonging to a team). Particularly, trust mediates the relationship between the antecedents and student-athletes’ well-being by diluting negative factors while intensifying positivity. The theoretical and practical implications of this conceptual model are discussed.