Lindsey Swanson Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education, Health and

Human Sciences

Announces the Final Examination of

Lindsey Renée Swanson

for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

May 4, 2015 at 10:00 am

103 Ball Hall, University of Memphis

Memphis, TN

Biographical Sketch

Bachelor of Science, Psychology, Georgia College & State University Institution

Master of Science, Professional Counseling, Georgia State University

Advisory Committee

Suzanne Lease, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research, Committee chair

Christian Mueller, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research

Douglas Strohmer, Ph.D., Professor Chair, Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research

Sami Yli-Piipari, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Health and Sport Sciences

Major Field of Study

Counseling Psychology

Period of Preparation: 2012 – 2016

Comprehensive Examination Passed: August 2014

Understanding the Influence of the Coach and Team Relationships on Sport Motivation in Collegiate Student-Athletes


The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) reports ever-increasing numbers of students participating in collegiate sports. As the demand for and intensity of collegiate sports continue to grow, there is a need to understand the sport environment and assist in the development of environments conducive to the well-being of student-athletes. This study used the vocational and industrial-organizational theory of person-environment fit to conceptualize the collegiate sport environment as it shares numerous characteristics with a work environment. This study examined the relationships between the perceived cohesion student-athletes experience with their coaches and teammates and their motivation to perform. The impact of three moderators (athletic identity, sex, and sport type) on the cohesion – motivation relationship was also examined. Using data collected from 219 male and female collegiate student-athletes, hierarchical multiple regressions tested the effects of the perceived coach-athlete relationship and team-athlete relationship on predicting athletes’ motivation to perform as well as the moderating effects of athletic identity, sex, and sport type. The athletes’ perceived coach-athlete cohesion, team-athlete cohesion, and athletic identity predicted the intrinsic and self-determined motivation levels of student-athletes. Athletic identity moderated the relationship between perceived team-athlete cohesion and motivation; sport type moderated the relationship between perceived coach-athlete cohesion and motivation. For student-athletes who reported a low athletic identity, perceived cohesion with their team was more predictive of their motivation levels than it was for those who had higher athletic identity. The degree to which they perceived cohesion with coach was more strongly predictive of self-determined motivation levels for student-athletes of individual sports compared to student-athletes involved in team sports. Clinical implications of the findings and future research are discussed.

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