In an attempt to investigate the nature of the coach-athlete relationship in a systematic way, Jowett and colleagues (e.g., Jowett & Cockerill, in press; Jowett & Meek, 2000a) employed the interpersonal constructs of Closeness, Coorientation, and Complementarity (3 Cs) to reflect coaches’ and athletes’ emotions, cognitions, and behaviors respectively. This study utilized the 3 Cs in order to examine the nature of a single typical coach-athlete dyad that experiences interpersonal conflict. The dyad was interviewed and their responses were content analyzed. The analysis revealed a marked difference in the coach’s and athlete’s perceptions about their athletic relationship and areas of emotional isolation, disagreements, and incompatibility. The findings are discussed within the 3 Cs model.
Four studies were conducted to assess the psychometric properties and the theoretical basis of a version of the Inventory of Desirable Responding in Relationships, which was originally developed and validated for the assessment of romantic relationships, in a different relational context (i.e., coach-athlete relationships). The first study aimed to address the content validity of the modified inventory, the Inventory of Desirable Responding in Coach-Athlete Relationship (IDR-CART) scale. The second study employed factor analytic techniques to examine its psychometric properties. Results confirmed the two-factor structure of the inventory: self-deception (CART-SD) and impression management (CART-IM). In the third study, data were collected under public and anonymous conditions. Results revealed, however, that neither condition supported the factor structure, thereby casting doubt on theoretical assumptions. The fourth study demonstrated that CART-SD is associated with indices of relationship quality, providing evidence of convergent validity. Limitations and future research directions are discussed.
Louise Davis and Sophia Jowett
The present preliminary study aimed to develop and examine the psychometric properties of a new sport-specific self-report instrument designed to assess athletes’ and coaches’ attachment styles. The development and initial validation comprised three main phases. In Phase 1, a pool of items was generated based on pre-existing self-report attachment instruments, modified to reflect a coach and an athlete’s style of attachment. In Phase 2, the content validity of the items was assessed by a panel of experts. A final scale was developed and administered to 405 coaches and 298 athletes (N = 703 participants). In Phase 3, confirmatory factor analysis of the obtained data was conducted to determine the final items of the Coach-Athlete Attachment Scale (CAAS). Confirmatory factor analysis revealed acceptable goodness of ft indexes for a 3-first order factor model as well as a 2-first order factor model for both the athlete and the coach data, respectively. A secure attachment style positively predicted relationship satisfaction, while an insecure attachment style was a negative predictor of relationship satisfaction. The CAAS revealed initial psychometric properties of content, factorial, and predictive validity, as well as reliability.
Sophia Jowett and Duncan Cramer
Guided by the work-family interface literature, this study examined the concept of spillover in a sample of elite athletes. It was conceptualized that there would be potential negativity and interference between athletes’ intense demands of competitive sport and efforts to maintain positive relationships with their partners. Antecedents and consequences of the potential spillover phenomenon were assessed in a sample of 87 elite-level athletes who had either romantic or marital, heterosexual relationships. Findings indicated that while trust, commitment, and communication were not strongly related to spillover, negative transactions were. Moreover, the occurrence of spillover was negatively related to sport satisfaction and positively to depressive symptoms. Finally, it was found that a mechanism by which perceived negative transactions were linked to athletes’ satisfaction and depression was through spillover. Spillover can help explain how personal relationships and sport are likely to contribute to athletes’ performance accomplishment and overall well-being.
Louise Davis and Sophia Jowett
Grounded in Bowlby’s (1969/1982, 1988) attachment theory, this study aimed to explore (a) the pervasiveness of the three main functions of attachment within the context of the coach-athlete relationship, (b) the associations of athletes’ attachment styles with such important variables as satisfaction with the relationship and satisfaction with the sport, and (c) the process by which athletes’ attachment styles and satisfaction with sport are associated. Data were collected through self-report measures of attachment functions and styles as well as relationship satisfaction and sport satisfaction from 309 student athletes (males = 150, females = 159) whose age ranged from 18 to 28 years (Mage = 19.9, SD = 1.58 years). Athletes’ mean scores indicated that the coach was viewed as an attachment figure fulfilling all three functions of secure base, safe haven, and proximity maintenance. Bivariate correlations indicated that athletes’ avoidant and anxious styles of attachment with the coach were negatively correlated with both relationship satisfaction and sport satisfaction. Mediational regression analysis revealed that athletes’ satisfaction with the coach-athlete relationship may be a process that links athletes’ attachment styles with levels of satisfaction with sport. The findings from this study highlight the potential theoretical and practical utility of attachment theory in studying relationships within the sport context.
Luke Felton and Sophia Jowett
The current study aimed to examine whether (a) mean differences and changes in athletes’ attachment style predicted psychological need satisfaction within two diverse relational contexts (coach and parent) and well-being, and (b) mean differences and changes in need satisfaction within the two relational contexts predicted well-being. One hundred and ten athletes aged between 15 and 32 years old completed a multisection questionnaire at three time points over a span of 6 months to assess the main study variables. Multilevel modeling revealed that insecure attachment styles (anxious and avoidant) predicted well-being outcomes at the within- and between-person levels. Avoidant attachment predicted need satisfaction within the parent relational context at both levels, and need satisfaction within the coach relational context at the between-person level. Need satisfaction within both relational contexts predicted various well-being outcomes at the between-person level, while need satisfaction within the parent relational context predicted vitality at the within-person level.
Sophia Jowett and Geoffrey A. Meek
This study examined the interpersonal athletic relationship of four married coach-athlete dyads. In order to facilitate the examination of this unique relationship, the interpersonal constructs of closeness, co-orientation, and complementarity were integrated into a conceptual-based model. The main purpose of this study was to establish the utility of the constructs in understanding the coach-athlete relationship in married couples. Following in-depth interviews, the responses of the participants were content analyzed. Analysis revealed that the coaches and athletes’ close relationship facilitated the formulation of a cooriented view of relevant and important issues which subsequently affected the way in which cooperative interactions were expressed in training. The relationship-oriented aspects of this unique dyad are discussed in relation to a proposed conceptualization of the coach-athlete relationship, and future directions are presented.
Sophia Jowett and Melina Timson-Katchis
The study aims to explore the nature of influences that parents exert on the quality of the dyadic coach-athlete relationship. A conceptual model was proposed as a guiding framework for the study. The proposed model incorporates Sprecher, Felmlee, Orbuch, and Willets’ (2002) notion of social networks and Jowett and Cockerill’s (2002) conceptualization of coach-athlete relationships. Fifteen participants from five coach-athleteparent triads were interviewed, and content analysis revealed that athletes’ parents (a “psychologically significant” network member) provided a range of information, opportunities, and extensive emotional support, all of which influenced the quality of the coach-athlete relationship as defined by closeness, commitment, and complementarity. Results are discussed based on previous relevant research along with recommendations for future research directions and practical applications.
Alkisti Olympiou, Sophia Jowett, and Joan L. Duda
The study’s objective was to investigate the motivational significance of the coach-athlete relationship in team sports. 591 athletes completed the Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire (Newton, Duda, & Yin, 2000) to assess perceptions of the coach-created motivational climate and two Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaires to assess direct perceptions (Jowett & Ntoumanis, 2004) and meta-perceptions (Jowett, in press) of the relationship quality. Canonical correlation analyses revealed that the perceived task-involving features of the coaching climate, in which role importance, co-operation, and improvement are emphasized, were associated with experiencing higher levels of closeness, commitment, and complementarity with the coach. Perceptions of the ego-involving features of the coach-created environment which emphasizes punitive responses to mistakes, rivalry, and unequal recognition were associated with lower levels of perceived closeness, commitment, and complementarity with the coach. These results support the notion that the coach-athlete relationship has implications for the motivation of athletes participating in team sports.
Vaithehy Shanmugam, Sophia Jowett, and Caroline Meyer
In the current study, we had two aims. First, we investigated the associations between eating psychopathology, situational interpersonal difficulties, and dispositional interpersonal difficulties among athletes and nonathletes. Second, we examined the mediating role of self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, and depression in these associations. A total of 152 athletes and 147 nonathletes completed self-report instruments pertaining to relationship quality with significant others, as well as social anxiety, loneliness, self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, depression, and eating psychopathology. Social anxiety and loneliness were found to be the only significant independent predictors of eating psychopathology among both athletes and nonathletes. However, such associations were indirectly mediated through depression for athletes and through self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, and depression for nonathletes. The findings of this study suggest that the psychosocial mechanisms involved in the eating psychopathology of athletes are relatively similar to that of nonathletes. Thus, it can be tentatively proposed that treatments and interventions that target reducing interpersonal conflicts currently available for the general population should also be offered to athletes.