Informant Variance in Perceptions of Student-Athlete/Parent Relationship Qualities

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Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education



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A positive relationship with parents contributes to well-being during emerging adulthood, the developmental period that bridges adolescence and adulthood (Arnett, J. J. [2015]. Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties [2nd ed.]. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. In this study, we investigated discrepancies between parent and emerging adult perceptions of relationship qualities within the context of intercollegiate sport. Parent and student-athlete reports of parental contact, parental support, academic engagement, and basic need satisfaction were compared to determine whether agreement existed. Results examining 50 parent/student-athlete dyads from a Division I institution completed online measures of relationship qualities. Results revealed minimal agreement across all measures (κ = −.10 to .12). Parents reported significantly higher levels of basic need satisfaction and academic engagement while student-athletes reported significantly higher levels of tangible parental support, providing evidence of the importance of the choice of informant when assessing parent/student-athlete relationships. These findings build a foundation for future work on how reporter differences are linked to student-athlete outcomes.

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