Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/22533
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport eTheses
Title: Life skills development through youth sport: Antecedents, consequences, and measurement
Authors: Cronin, Lorcan
Supervisor(s): Allen, Justine
Dimeo, Paul
Keywords: positive youth development
life skills
youth sport
coaching
psychological well-being
self-esteem
positive affect
satisfaction with life
autonomy support
teamwork
leadership
goal setting
time management
problem solving and decision making
interpersonal communication
social skills
emotional skills
Issue Date: Jul-2015
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: Cronin, L., & Allen, J. (2015). Developmental experiences and well-being in sport: The importance of the coaching climate. The Sport Psychologist, 29, 62–71.
Abstract: Youth sport is acknowledged as an ideal setting for promoting positive youth development. In particular, youth sport participation has been linked to life skills development and psychological well-being. The coaching climate has been proposed to play a role in facilitating such positive outcomes. Nonetheless, few measures exist to examine life skills development through sport and it is unclear how positive youth development may be facilitated by the coach. Using existing and newly developed measures, this thesis examined how the coaching climate is related to life skills development and psychological well-being in youth sport participants. Phase 1 of this programme of research investigated Benson and Saito’s (2001) conceptual framework for youth development theory and research within sport. Study 1 examined a model whereby the coaching climate is related to life skills development (personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative); which, in turn, is related to participants’ psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). Data from 202 youth sport participants suggested that an autonomy supportive coaching climate was positively related to all four life skills. Further analysis revealed that the development of personal and social skills mediated the relationships between coach autonomy support and all three indices of psychological well-being. However, the validity of the scale used to measure life skills was brought into question during this study. Therefore, the studies which follow developed and validated a new scale which could accurately assess eight key life skills young people learn through sport. Phase 2 of this programme of research involved developing and validating a scale which measures life skills development through sport. Study 2 outlines the initial development of a scale which would assess whether young people learn the following life skills through sport: teamwork, goal setting, time management, emotional skills, interpersonal communication, social skills, leadership, and problem solving and decision making. This study involved defining each of the eight life skills, deciding what components made up each life skill and developing items which could assess each life skill. The initial item pool was reviewed by 39 academics, with between two and seven experts assessing the items for each of the eight life skills. Using the ratings and comments provided by experts, the first version of the Life Skills Scale for Sport (LSSS) was developed. Study 3 reduced the number of items contained within the LSSS from 144 to 47 items using both exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and descriptive statistics. For this task, 338 youth sport participants completed the LSSS. EFA results supported the unidimensional factor structure of each of the eight subscales. Each subscale also displayed adequate internal consistency reliability. Study 4 examined the factor structure of the LSSS using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) with an independent sample of 223 youth sport participants. After the removal of four emotional skills items, seven of the eight subscales and the revised 43-item scale displayed adequate model fit. Results supported both the convergent and discriminant validity of the LSSS and each of the eight subscales displayed adequate internal consistency reliability. Study 5 assessed the test-retest reliability of the LSSS with an independent sample of 37 youth sport participants. Each participant completed the scale on two occasions which were two weeks apart. Results revealed that time 1 and time 2 scores were relatively unchanged over this two-week period, providing evidence of test-retest reliability. Phase 3 of this programme of research involved re-testing Benson and Saito’s (2001) framework. Study 6 retested the coaching climate – life skills development – psychological well-being model from Study 1 using the LSSS. Data from 326 youth sport participants suggested that an autonomy supportive coaching climate was positively related to young people learning teamwork, goal setting, time management, emotional skills, interpersonal communication, social skills, leadership, and problem solving and decision making. The total amount of life skills a young person developed through sport was positively related to their self-esteem, positive affect and satisfaction with life. Again, the factor structure and reliability of the scale was supported. The findings from this PhD research suggest that the coaching climate plays an important role in young peoples’ development through sport. Specifically, an autonomy supportive coaching climate was positively related to life skills development and psychological well-being in youth sport participants. This thesis also provides researchers with a valid and reliable measure of life skills development through sport. Future research using the LSSS should examine other factors (e.g., peer relationships) which may promote positive youth development through sport. Additionally, future studies can use the LSSS to examine the efficacy of existing programmes (e.g., the SUPER programme) which teach life skills through sport. Such research will help guide coaches and sports programmes efforts to promote positive youth development through sport.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/22533

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