Parent and athlete perceptions of the respect in sport parent program


The Respect in Sport Parent Program (RiSPP) is an educational program that seeks to promote positive behaviours among sport participants. The RiSPP has recently been implemented as a mandatory program among several youth sport leagues across Canada. The purpose of this study was to examine parent and athlete perceptions of the RiSPP. Minor hockey athletes (n = 56) and parents (n = 189) completed open- and closed-ended online questions regarding their use and perceptions of the RiSPP. Descriptive statistics were used to examine participants' use of the RiSPP, and open-ended comments were subjected to content analysis (Patton, 2002). 55.2% of parents reported they had a 'neutral' view of the RiSPP, and 30.9% of parents reported that their perception of the program improved after taking it. 45.5% of parents reported that they discussed the program with their child, 26% reported discussing the program with their spouse/significant other, and 18% discussed the program with other hockey parents. The three most frequently reported aspects of the program that parents discussed with their child included treatment by coaches, officials, and other player; 'being the best player you can'; and bullying, harassment, or abuse. However athletes reported that their parents most frequently discussed proper hydration; 'being the best player you can'; and proper nutrition. Open-ended comments pertained primarily to the content of the program, the cost of the program, implementation and policy issues, concerns that the program would not 'fix' problem parents, and suggestions for program improvement. There was a greater proportion of positive comments about the content of the program compared to negative comments.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant awarded to the last author.