Swimming Coaches’ Perceptions of Sexual Exploitation in Sport: A Preliminary Model of Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity

in The Sport Psychologist
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Bringer, Brackenridge, and Johnston (2002) identified role conflict and ambiguity as an emerging theme for some swimming coaches who felt under increased scrutiny because of wider concerns about sexual exploitation in sport (Boocock, 2002). To further understand this emerging theme, 3 coaches who had engaged in sexual relations with athletes, or had allegations of abuse brought against them, took part in in-depth interviews. Grounded theory method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) was adopted to explore how these coaches responded differently to increased public scrutiny. The findings are discussed in relation to how sport psychologists can help to shape perceptions of coaching effectiveness that are congruent with child protection measures. Reflective practice is proposed as one method by which coaches may embed child and athlete protection in their definition of effective coaching, rather than seeing it as an external force to which they must accommodate.

Joy Bringer is Senior Sport Scientist (Sport Psychology) with Sports Council for Wales, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff CF11 9SW UK. E-mail: joy.bringer@scw.co.uk. Celia H. Brackenridge is with the School of Sport and Education at Brunel University, Middlesex UB8 3PH UK. Lynne H. Johnston is with the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU UK.

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