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Internationally, very little research has been done into peer aggression and victimization in sports clubs. For this exploratory study, 98 coaches from various sports were interviewed in depth about their views on peer aggression and victimization and their ways of handling these issues. To put the coaches’ views and practices in perspective, they were contrasted with those of a reference group of 96 elementary school teachers and analyzed qualitatively. The interviews demonstrated that sports coaches currently were unaware of the construct of peer aggression, were unable to estimate the actual extent of peer aggression and victimization at their clubs, and were likely to overestimate their own impact, control, and effectiveness in handling the issue. This study underlines the need for coaches to develop their skills in recognizing and handling peer aggression and victimization and the need to develop sports-club-specific observation instruments and peer aggression programs.
The authors are with the Dept. of Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands.