Coach-athlete attachment and the quality of the coach-athlete relationship: implications for athlete's well-being

Louise Davis, Sophia Jowett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined whether athletes' attachment styles with the coach were linked to aspects of the coach-athlete relationship quality and, in turn, whether relationship quality was linked to athletes' well-being. One hundred and ninety-two athletes completed a questionnaire measuring their attachment styles and relationship quality with the coach as well as their feelings of positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA). Structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis found athletes' avoidant and secure attachment styles to be associated with aspects of coach-athlete relationship quality such as social support, relationship depth, and interpersonal conflict. Interpersonal conflict appeared to play a key role in athletes' PA and NA. From a practical perspective, an understanding of conflict management could provide a resource that allows athletes (and coaches) to enhance the quality of their sporting relationships. Specifically, an awareness of proactive strategies (e.g., steps to clarify expectations) and reactive strategies (e.g., cooperation during the discussion of disagreements) could potentially lead both coaches and athletes to "broaden" their viewpoints and in turn "build" connections that are capable of generating positive emotions including interest, excitement, happiness, and zeal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1454-1464
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2014


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