Influences of coaches, parents, and peers on the motivational patterns of child and adolescent athletes

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Aug;22(4):558-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01277.x. Epub 2011 Mar 16.


The purposes of this study were to assess the relative impact of social influences initiated by coach, parents, and peers on children and adolescent athletes' motivational patterns, involving self-rated effort, enjoyment, competence, and competitive trait anxiety. Questionnaire data were collected from 408 youth swimmers (aged 9-18 years). Results of multi-group structural equation modeling analyses generally showed that compared with athletes in the other age group, the social influence from mother was stronger in childhood (mean age=10.87 years; SD=1.00), and that from peers was greater in adolescence (mean age=16.32 years; SD=1.15). The social influence from coach was more influential for athletes' effort and enjoyment in childhood, and competence in adolescence. We concluded that age appeared to moderate the impact of social influence from significant others on young athletes' sport experiences.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Athletic Performance / psychology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Parents*
  • Peer Group*
  • Social Environment
  • Swimming / psychology*