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The purpose of this study was to identify and examine how sport parents engage in autonomy-supportive parenting in the family home setting. A total of 44 parents and children from 19 families were initially interviewed. Data from these families were profiled to identify seven families that adopted a highly autonomy-supportive parenting style. The seven families’ data were then examined using a theoretically focused qualitative analysis using the three dimensions of autonomy-supportive parenting. Sport parents engaged in autonomy support (vs. control) through flexible conversations and supporting decision making. The themes of boundary setting and establishing expectations based on values were indicative of structure. The authors found high levels of involvement across contexts. These findings depict the nature and types of social interactions in the family home that created an autonomy-supportive emotional climate, which often extended to sport, providing a foundation for future theoretical development and applied research in sport.
The authors are with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.