An Attachment Theory Perspective in the Examination of Relational Processes Associated With Coach-Athlete Dyads

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Northumbria University
  • | 2 Loughborough University
  • | 3 Université du Québec à Montréal
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The aim of the current study was to examine actor and partner effects of (a) athletes’ and coaches’ attachment styles (avoidant and anxious) on the quality of the coach-athlete relationship, and (b) athletes’ and coaches’ quality of the coach-athlete relationship on relationship satisfaction employing the actor-partner interdependence model (Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006). Coaches (N = 107) and athletes (N = 107) completed a questionnaire related to attachment styles, relationship quality, and relationship satisfaction. Structural equation model analyses revealed (a) actor effects for coaches’ and athletes’ avoidant attachment styles on their own perception of relationship quality and coaches’ and athletes’ perception of relationship quality on their own perception of relationship satisfaction, and (b) partner effects for athletes’ avoidant attachment style on coaches’ perceptions of relationship quality and for coaches’ perceptions of relationship quality on athletes’ perceptions of relationship satisfaction. The findings highlight that attachments styles can help us understand the processes involved in the formation and maintenance of quality relational bonds between coaches and athletes.

Louise Davis is now with the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Sophia Jowett is with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK. Marc-André K. Lafrenière is with the Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Comportement Social, Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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