Perception of purpose and parental involvement in competitive youth sport
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Submission date: 2014-10-31
Final revision date: 2015-01-02
Acceptance date: 2015-01-02
Online publication date: 2015-01-29
Publication date: 2015-01-29
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(1):13–23
Because of the various demanding investments, parents develop various expectations regarding their children’s sport experience. The purposes of this study were twofold: (a) to determine whether there is a discrepancy between parents and athletes in terms of perception of purpose for engaging in youth sport, and (b) to explore whether the reported discrepancies impact parental involvement.

Participants and procedure
Participants included 25 club level athletes (19 girls, 6 boys), ages 13-17 (M = 14.96 years, SD = 1.49 years), and 24 pa­rents (18 women, 6 men) of these athletes, ages 39-55 (M = 48.26 years, SD = 4.44 years) from both individual and team sports. Parents and athletes completed their respective versions of both the Participation Motivation Questionnaire (PMQ) and Parental Involvement in Sport Questionnaire (PISQ). Optional individual interviews with 12 athletes and 12 parents were then conducted to further triangulate perceptions of purpose and parental involvement in youth sport.

Findings included four statistically significant negative correlations between the PMQ and PISQ, as well as a statistically significant discrepancy between parents and athletes on one subscale of the PMQ (p = .026). Also, statistically significant discrepancies were found between perceived and desired levels of parental involvement on three out of four subscales of the PISQ (there are 3 exact p-values since there were significant discrepancies for 3 out of the 4 subscales. They are: Directive Behavior: p < .001, Praise and Understanding: p = .042 and Pressure: p = .025).

Perceptions of parental involvement between the parents and their children were not congruent. Similarly, the parents and their children perceive why an athlete participates in sport somewhat differently. If further explored, parent-athlete relations and interactions could be improved to facilitate optimal youth sport participation.