Exploring the relations between competitive youth sport parents' identity and moral intentions towards antisocial parent behaviour


There is emerging evidence that parents may experience cognitive, affective, and behavioural outcomes as a result of their involvement in their child's sport participation (Dorsch et al., 2009). Grounded in identity theory, we explored parents' personal and social identities and moral intentions towards other parents engaging in antisocial behaviour. Competitive youth hockey parents (N = 437) were randomly assigned to one of six conditions involving vignettes that either described a parent from their child's team (i.e., ingroup parent) or opposing team (i.e., outgroup parent) acting antisocially towards either an athlete on their child's team (i.e., ingroup athlete), opposing team (i.e., outgroup athlete), or their own child. Parents reported their response to the antisocial behaviour in the form of direct criticism, indirect criticism, or suggestions to report the behaviour to the coach, or to the league. Results revealed a significant main effect for parents' intentions to directly criticize ingroup parents, p = .03, ?2p = 0.012, and indirectly criticize outgroup parents, p < .001, ?2p = 0.034. Further, the strength of social identity to their child's sport team moderated the effect. Parents with stronger social identities were more likely to report higher intentions to indirectly criticize an outgroup parent. There were no significant main effects for reporting behaviour (to coach or league), and personal identity did not moderate relationships with moral intentions towards antisocial behaviour. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the findings to better understand antisocial parent behaviour in competitive youth sport.