Strength coach-athlete relationships and self-efficacy
McCormick, Harvey Charles, Jr
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This research examined relational closeness between strength coaches and athletes at the Division One level. Closeness in these associations was examined in regard to coach and athlete gender, ethnicity, and age, and athlete self-efficacy in the strength and conditioning domain. Social cognitive and self-efficacy theories (Bandura, 1977,1986, 1997) served as the theoretical underpinnings for the research, though several additional theories informed the study of relationships (Homans,1974; Rusbult,1980a,b; Thibaut & Kelley, 1959; Wright, 1984). Closeness was defined by Kelley's (1983) definition of relational interdependence. This states that closeness between two people may be assessed by the frequency, diversity, strength, and duration of their interactions. Participants were 497 Division One Collegiate Athletes from 19 colleges and universities in the United States. Participants assessed a member of the strength and conditioning staff at their school or college on a version of the Relationship Closeness Inventory (RCI)(Berscheid, Snyder, & Omoto,1989b). This tests the frequency, diversity, and strength of a dyadic relationship as defined by Kelley (1983). Athletes also took the Strength and Conditioning Self-Efficacy Scale (SCSES), which assessed level of ability efficacy in the strength and conditioning domain. While male and female athletes equally described strength and conditioning coaches as either supervisors or friends, male athletes (n = 295) scored significantly higher than female athletes (n = 202) on all modified RCI sub-scales, demonstrating greater behavioral closeness to strength and conditioning coaches. Coach ethnicity, age, and athlete ethnicity were not significant factors, though coach gender did significantly influence athlete self-efficacy. In addition to the frequency and diversity RCI sub-scales, athlete age and duration of the relationship all correlated positively and significantly with the self-efficacy measure. Results suggest that male athletes are more likely to engage in close associations with strength and conditioning coaches than females and that these close relationships both contribute to enhanced athlete self-efficacy and may serve a social support function.
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