AbstractSocial features of sport participation across competitive levels are linked to numerous markers of wellbeing, including athletes' self-perceptions (Marsh, 2007). One such feature is the relationship quality between an athlete and key social agents in the sport context. Coach-athlete relationships are consistently present in organized sport, but it cannot be assumed the salience and quality of said relationships remains stable over time (Jowett & Poczwardowski, 2007). Thus, it is warranted to conduct investigations that begin to address potential differences in associations between coach-athlete relationships and various sport-related outcomes over one's athletic tenure. It is possible that at different stages of one's competitive career, these associations differ. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to 1) examine the association between coach-athlete relationship quality and sport domain-specific self-esteem in collegiate athletes and 2) assess differences in the association by academic classification. Male and female collegiate athletes (N = 180, M age = 20.08 years, SD = 1.50) completed the Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (Jowett & Ntoumanis, 2004) and the Elite Athlete Self-Description Questionnaire (Marsh et al., 1997). Significant positive associations were found among coach-athlete relationship dimensions and self-esteem (r = .15-.36, p < .05). Fisher's Z-Transformation revealed a significant difference in the association between coach-athlete relationship quality and self-esteem between sophomores and seniors (z = 2.10, p < .05). The findings of this study support development of higher quality coach-athlete relationships and the enhancement of athlete self-perception to facilitate adaptive sport experiences for collegiate athletes.
Acknowledgments: Kathleen Mellano, Ph.D., Dan Smith, Ph.D., Jasmin Hutchinson, Ph.D.