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Sophia Jowett

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Vaithehy Shanmugam, Sophia Jowett, and Caroline Meyer

The purpose of this study was twofold: to explore the utility of components related to the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model of eating disorders within an athletic population and to investigate the extent to which the model can be applied across gender, sport type, and performance standard to explain eating psychopathology. Five hundred and eighty-eight (N = 588) male and female British athletes completed a battery of self-report instruments related to eating psychopathology, interpersonal diffculties, perfectionism, self-esteem, and mood. Structural equation modeling revealed that eating psychopathology may arise from an interaction of interpersonal diffculties, low self-esteem, high levels of self-critical perfectionism, and depressive symptoms. Analysis further highlighted that the manner in which eating psychopathology may arise is invariant across athletes’ sport type and performance standard, but not across gender. The current findings suggest that the tested components of the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model are pertinent and useful in explaining eating psychopathology among athletes.

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Louise Davis, Sophia Jowett, and Marc-André K. Lafrenière

The aim of the current study was to examine actor and partner effects of (a) athletes’ and coaches’ attachment styles (avoidant and anxious) on the quality of the coach-athlete relationship, and (b) athletes’ and coaches’ quality of the coach-athlete relationship on relationship satisfaction employing the actor-partner interdependence model (Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006). Coaches (N = 107) and athletes (N = 107) completed a questionnaire related to attachment styles, relationship quality, and relationship satisfaction. Structural equation model analyses revealed (a) actor effects for coaches’ and athletes’ avoidant attachment styles on their own perception of relationship quality and coaches’ and athletes’ perception of relationship quality on their own perception of relationship satisfaction, and (b) partner effects for athletes’ avoidant attachment style on coaches’ perceptions of relationship quality and for coaches’ perceptions of relationship quality on athletes’ perceptions of relationship satisfaction. The findings highlight that attachments styles can help us understand the processes involved in the formation and maintenance of quality relational bonds between coaches and athletes.

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Marc-André K. Lafrenière, Sophia Jowett, Robert J. Vallerand, Eric G. Donahue, and Ross Lorimer

Vallerand et al. (2003) developed a dualistic model of passion, wherein two types of passion are proposed: harmonious (HP) and obsessive (OP) passion that predict adaptive and less adaptive interpersonal outcomes, respectively. In the present research, we were interested in understanding the role of passion in the quality of coach–athlete relationships. Results of Study 1, conducted with athletes (N = 157), revealed that HP positively predicts a high-quality coach–athlete relationship, whereas OP was largely unrelated to such relationships. Study 2 was conducted with coaches (N = 106) and showed that only HP positively predicted the quality of the coach–athlete relationship. Furthermore, these effects were fully mediated by positive emotions. Finally, the quality of the coach–athlete relationship positively predicted coaches’ subjective well-being. Future research directions are discussed in light of the dualistic model of passion.