Relational demography in coach-athlete dyads

  • Z Zhang
  • J Surujlal
Keywords: Trust, gender, ethnicity, athlete, dyads, justice, benevolence, integrity, competence


This study used an adapted version of Zhang's (2004) trust questionnaire to examine perceived characteristic and trust differences between coach and athlete dyads that differ in gender or ethnicity as well as in dyads that were similar. The four different gender dyad groups were male athlete with male coach (MAMC), female athlete with female coach (FAFC), female athlete with male coach (FAMC), and male athlete with female coach (MAFC). The four ethnic dyad groups were White athlete with White coach (WAWC), non-White athlete with non-White coach (NANC), non-White athlete with White coach (NAWC), and White athlete with non-White coach with (WANC). A series of MANOVAs were conducted and significant differences were found for both gender and ethnicity dyad groups on a linear combination of the perceived characteristics of the coach and trust in the coach. An examination of the means of trust in the coach indicated that FAFC had the highest trust in the coach (M = 3.78) while MAFC the lowest (M = 3.33). In terms of ethnic dyad groups, NANC had the highest trust (M =3.63) while WANC the lowest (M = 2.86). Follow up ANOVAs indicated that the perceived competence of the coach, F (3, 301) = 3.22, p = .02, and perceived integrity of the coach, F (3, 301) = 2.63, p = .05, were significantly different between the four gender dyad groups. FAFC had the highest perceptions of the coach‟s competence (M = 4.23) and integrity (M = 3.97) while MAFC had the lowest means of perceived coach's competence and integrity, M = 3.10 and M = 3.41 respectively. With regard to ethnic dyad groups, the follow up ANOVAs found that the perceived competence of the coach, F (3, 301) = 5.74, p = .001, and perceived benevolence of the coach, F (3, 301) = 3.35, p = .019, were significantly different between the four groups. NAWC had the highest perceived competence of the coach (M = 4.21) while WANC had the lowest means (M = 3.03) and NANC had the highest perceived benevolence of the coach (M = 3.73) and WANC had the lowest means of 2.78. This study provides empirical evidence regarding trust between athlete and coach through different comparisons. Athletes in general have a predisposition to trusting coaches. In the South African context this may perhaps be a positive finding since the presence of mutual trust could be an enabling mechanism to develop cohesiveness in sport organisations thereby ensuring that both coaches and athletes work more effectively.

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eISSN: 1117-4315