The purpose of this investigation was twofold: first, to describe the social support networks of athletes with respect to who provides what types of support and in what perceived amounts, and second, to compare the support networks of low- and high-stressed athletes. Results indicated that social support is provided by coaches, teammates, friends, and parents, and that each makes a unique contribution to the athletes’ social support network. Coaches and teammates were identified as providing types of support requiring expertise in sports, and friends and parents were identified as providing complementary types of support not requiring such expertise. Few differences were found between the social support networks of low- and high-stressed athletes.
Lawrence B. Rosenfeld is with the Department of Speech Communication, Jack M. Richman is with the School of Social Work, and Charles J. Hardy is with the Department of Physical Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.