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Understanding the coach-athlete relationship from a cross-cultural perspective

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This thesis is comprised of four studies.

The first study aimed to examine the measurement invariance of the Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (11-item, athlete version CART-Q) employing a total of 1,363 athletes from Belgium (n =200), Britain (n =382), China (n =200), Greece (n =115), Spain (n =120), Sweden (n =169), and the United States of America (n =177). Multi-group mean and covariance structure (MACS) analyses supported the factorial validity of the CART-Q in a three-first order factor model across the seven countries. An examination of the latent mean differences of the CART-Q revealed that there are some variations in terms of the intensity athletes perceive in the quality of the relationship with their coach across the different countries. Overall, these results supply additional evidence of the psychometric properties of the CART-Q and highlight that it is a sound instrument that can be applied cross-culturally.

The second study attempted to identify the cultural nuances that exist in Chinese coach-athlete relationships from an derived-emic perspective. Eight-hundred Chinese coaches and athletes completed the long and short versions of the CART-Qs. Results supported the reliability across the CART-Q versions examined, while confirmatory factor analyses only supported the factorial validity of the three-first order factor model of the 11-item CART-Q. The findings indicated that the corresponding aspect of complementarity may not best capture the Chinese coach-athlete behavioural interactions. Thus, it suggested that future research should consider conceptualising and measuring the coach-athlete reciprocal interactions in terms of coaches dominant behaviours and athletes submissive behaviours within Chinese sports context.

The third study examined the nomological validity of the 11-item CART-Qs with 350 Chinese coach-athlete dyads. Big-Five personality traits and relationship satisfaction were employed as the criterion variables of coach-athlete relationships. Results revealed: (a) actor effects of personality traits, namely, conscientiousness, extroversion, and neuroticism, on both coaches and athletes perceptions of relationship quality and (b) partner effects of only athletes personality, namely, conscientiousness, extroversion, and neuroticism, on their coaches perceptions of relationship quality. The findings suggested that each relationship member s personality trait contributed independently to relationship quality, because no interaction effects of the coach s and the athletes personality traits on relationship quality were found. In addition, the findings also supported both actor and partner effects of the coach s and the athlete s perceptions of relationship quality on their satisfaction with training. Based upon the relevant theory and findings generated from the previous three studies, the fourth and final study aimed to fill the gap in the relevant literatures by expanding the construct of complementarity to include coach-athlete reciprocal behaviours, namely the coach s dominant and the athlete s submissive behaviours.

Study 4 included 4 phases reflecting the process undertaken to develop and validate the Dominant-Submissive Behaviours Scales. Phase 1 generated a pool of items based on the relevant literatures and feedback from the coaches and athletes; these items were then assessed by three panel groups including academic experts, coaches and athletes. In phase 2 and phase 3, confirmatory factor analysis was used to examine the construct validity, nomological validity, and internal reliability of the developed scales. As a result, the 10-item coach s dominant behaviour scale and the 10-item athlete s submissive behaviour scale were derived. Phase 4 employed athletes from five different countries to assess the cross-cultural validity of the submissive scale, and results supported the full structural invariance of the athlete s submissive behaviour scale across the five countries.

Overall, results confirmed the dominant-submissive scale is a valid measure for assessing another dimension of complementarity in coach-athlete relationships. Collectively, this thesis has expanded the current knowledge of coach-athlete relationships to a broader social-cultural context by recruiting coaches and athletes from eight different countries across two continents. It is therefore plausible to conclude that the conceptualisation of the 3+1Cs model and the CART-Q seem to be universal across diverse cultures at a generic level. However, future research needs to continue discovering the universals as well as the variations of human behaviours in the content and the quality of coach-athlete relationships. Key Words: Chinese, dominant, submissive, coach-athlete, relationships, cross-cultural, CART-Q



 editors comments   

Editor's comments -  [ The above is the abstract from an original PhD thesis; the final publication in the study for the author in pursuit of a doctorate; such works result in the author being awarded a PhD and the title of Dr. by an appropriately accedited University. PhD's are the culmination of a number of years work by the author supervised by two (normally PhD or MPhil qualified) academics and, with the addition of a further appropriately qualified academic (not normally from the same University) as part of a viva-voce examination team. Successful research work at PhD level is designed to add to the body of knowledge in the study area at some level.  

A PhD thesis often forms the foundation for journal articles for the author and leads to further enquiry in the form of what is called post-doctoral research. These works are characterised by comprehensive literature reviews, sometimes traditional yet multiple (and often mixed) methods, interesting if not ground breaking discussions and always directional signs toward further research; they provide for undergraduates not only a model for the possibilities for further study but a gift in terms of references in any given subject areas.

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Reference :    Yang, X. (2011). Understanding the coach-athlete relationship from a cross-cultural perspective. PhD Thesis. Loughborough: Loughborough University. Available at


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Download this file (PhD thesis_XinYang2011.pdf)PhD thesis_XinYang2011.pdfYang, X. (2011). Understanding the coach-athlete relationship from a cross-cultural perspective. PhD Thesis. Loughborough: Loughborough University
Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 11:34