Better together? Exploring parental experiences in youth soccer from an interpersonal approach

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Aiming for a nuanced understanding of parents’ experiences in youth sport from an
interpersonal approach, this dissertation sought to advance current knowledge on parental
involvement, to examine the interplay and significance of persons and contexts through
relationships and interactions, and to explore how parents can be(come) meaningful coparticipants
in youth sport.
To pursue these aims, two scoping reviews on parental involvement and interpersonal coping
in (youth) sport as well as three empirical studies were conducted. Of those, one study
developed a conceptual model on cooperation between parents, coaches, and administrators.
Participants included parents, coaches, and administrators of U8 to U18 teams in German youth
soccer academies as well as parents in amateur soccer.
Key findings of this dissertation are: (1) Parents have the potential to impact and be impacted
by their child’s youth sport participation (Study 1); (2) the occurrence and perception of
competitive stressors, cognitive appraisals, and emotions seem consistent across parent and
child demographics as well as youth soccer trajectories (Study 2, Study 3); (3) parents’ stress
perceptions are tightly linked to the quality of relationships and interactions with children and
coaches highlighting the need for interpersonal coping research (Study 5); and (4) cooperation
between parents, coaches, and administrators is characterized through trial and error, power
differences, and parents being passive agents (Study 4).
Collectively, this dissertation presents novel contributions on a theoretical and
methodological level relevant to stress, interpersonal coping, and parent-coach relationships.
Further, implications can be drawn to enhance parents’ experiences in youth sport. Limitations
of the findings are discussed together with outlining fruitful trajectories for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKöln
PublisherDeutsche Sporthochschule Köln
Number of pages83
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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