A Mixed Methods Evaluation of a Web-based Program to Enhance Sport Parents’ Emotional Intelligence


The purpose of this research was to deliver and evaluate the Sport Parent Emotions and Coping Support (SPECS) program with a group of ice hockey parents using a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach. The SPECS program consists of four web-based educational modules designed to enhance hockey parents’ emotional intelligence (EI). Twenty-nine Canadian ice hockey parents (23 mothers, 6 fathers) were randomized to either an experimental or control group with pre- and post-program measures of trait EI completed three-weeks apart. Qualitative interviews were also conducted with 11 parents from the experimental group following their completion of the program. The results from a mixed ANOVA indicated a significant group X time interaction effect (p = .027; η;p2 = .17) and probing the interaction using simple effects analyses revealed that parents in the experimental group significantly increased their levels of trait EI, with small-to-medium sized effects (p = .005, η;p2 = .26, d =.43). The qualitative results demonstrated parents’ positive perceptions of the program’s content and delivery (e.g., relevance, provision of tools and strategies, convenience, and interactivity) and highlighted parents’ experiences regarding lightbulb moments (e.g., learning about themselves, their children, and ice hockey). The integration of the quantitative and qualitative findings provides insight into how aspects of the program may have contributed to changes in parents’ EI. Overall, this research yields practical implications for youth sport stakeholders interested in delivering sport parent education and support initiatives.