Cross-domain relationships (CDRs) involve coaches knowing and caring about aspects of athletes’ lives beyond the sport context (e.g., family, school, relationships). Purposes of the current study included (a) comparing athletes’ levels of cross-domain relationships with head and assistant coaches, (b) evaluating gender, roster size, and sport type as correlates of CDRs with head and assistant coaches, and (c) examining relationships between CDRs with head and assistant coaches and motivational variables. Collegiate athletes (N = 294, 139 male, 155 female) completed surveys assessing study constructs. Results indicated that levels of CDRs with head coaches and assistant coaches did not differ. Male athletes had stronger CDRs with head coaches than female athletes did. While female athletes with female head coaches had moderate levels of CDRs with head coaches regardless of assistant coach gender, female athletes with male head coaches had stronger CDRs with head coaches when the assistant coach was female than when the assistant coach was male. Stronger CDRs with head coaches were related to greater perceived competence, enjoyment, and sport commitment, while CDRs with assistant coaches were not related. Findings suggest that researchers should not assume that CDRs with assistant and head coaches are similarly related to athletes’ motivational outcomes.
Cheryl Stuntz is an associate professor at St. Lawrence University, where she was appointed to the Gaines Professorship of Psychology in recognition of her scholarly contributions, commitment to the broad education of students, and service to the university. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and as an Editorial Board member for the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.