Gender Differences In The Coach-athlete Relationship

Por: Sophia Jowett.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The 3 +1 Cs model of the coach-athlete relationship includes relational properties such as closeness, commitment,
complementarity and co-orientation [1]. This conceptual model has been offered in an attempt to understand the
important functions of the coach-athlete relationship in the sport milieu. This study aims to examine whether athletes’
gender affects the content, quality and intensity of the athletic relationship.

A total of 280 Greek coaches and athletes (121 dyads) participated in the study from a variety of individual sports. In
the athlete sample, there were 51 female and 70 male athletes. In the coach sample, 21 were females and 100 were
males. Coaches and athletes completed measures of their self-perceptions and meta-perceptions for the 3 Cs (GrCARTQs;
[1, 2]). A dyadic research design was employed and a structural equation modelling programme was utilised to test
gender differences among athletes. The model tested is shown in Figure 1. In each case a preliminary model was
tested which allowed every path and covariance (except the covariance between athlete and coach self-perceptions) to
be free and different for each gender. This was compared with a model where all the paths were constrained to be the
same for the two genders. If the constrained model produced a significantly poorer fit then the preliminary model had a
single extra constraint added. If this model was itself significantly poorer than the preliminary model then that
constraint was removed and a new one added. However, if the constraint of a path did not produce a significantly
poorer fit then that constraint was retained and a new constraint added.

For closeness the genders did not differ significantly. For commitment the only difference was coach assumed
similarity (z = 3.71, p < .001; male unstandardised = 0.50, p < .001, standardised = .69; female unstandardised = 0.81, p
< .001, standardised = .86). For complementarity, the only difference between the genders was over the covariance
between athlete and coach self-perceptions (z = 3.07, p = .002; male unstandardised = 0.01, p = .47, standardised = .01;
female unstandardised = 0.38, p < .001, standardised = .51).

Discussion / Conclusions
One significant gender difference found underlines that coaches coaching female athletes are more likely to assume
similarity in terms of commitment. It is proposed that this difference is related to the perceived female athletes’ low
self-concept. It is suggested that coaches by assuming similarity in terms of commitment attempt to protect and foster
their female athletes’ self-concept [cf 3]. A second finding has revealed that male athletes’ self-perceptions are more in
line with their coaches’ self-perceptions about the 3 Cs. Future studies should examine whether the constitution of the
relationship plays a role in coaches and athletes’ alignment of perceptions and their impact on outcome variables such
as satisfaction, conflict and performance.

[1]. Jowett S et al (in press). In Comprehensive Perspectives on Applied Sport Psychology. Human Kinetics.
[2]. Jowett S & Ntoumanis N (2003) Intern J Sp Psyh
[3]. Hinde RA et al (2001) Pers Relat 8, 187-204
This research study is supported by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Subcommittee of Women and Sport. Special
thanks go to Mrs Voula Patoulidou for helping with the data collection.

NOTA: O texto com a iconografia está no anexo.

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