Library Dissertation Showcase

Coach-athlete relationship, social support, and sport-related psychological well-being in NCAA Division I student-athletes

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2021

The coach-athlete relationship and social support have been highlighted as key organisational stressors that impact athlete’s well-being. However, this relationship is mainly cited in relation to burnout rather than psychological wellbeing as a whole. Recent evidence suggests that individual sport athletes have a greater prevalence of mental health concerns compared to team sport athletes (Nixdorf et al., 2016; Pluhar et al., 2019). Their results also showed differences in the stressors experienced between sport types. The first aim of this study was to further our knowledge of the relationships between social support, coach-athlete relationship and psychological well-being. Additionally, the study aimed to investigate the impact of sport type on the aforementioned variables. In a cross-sectional study, 153 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I student athletes (Mage 19.46, SD = 1.49) completed questionnaires on coach-athlete relationship, social support and sport-related well-being. Spearman’s rank order correlations indicate that, as hypothesised, coach-athlete relationship and social support were both positively correlated with well-being. Weak to moderate correlations were found between all subscales of coach-athlete relationship, social support, and well-being. Separate one-way multivariate analysis of variance tests (MANOVA’s) found that there were no significant differences between sport type on all outcome variables. The results of this study provide an understanding of the roles of coach-athlete relationship and social support on sport-related well-being. This may influence future coaching practices and procedures within university athletic departments, thus positively impacting student athletes’ well-being.


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