Title

Athletes' perceptions of coaching empowerment: The influences of gender, divisional status, and sport type on athletes' perceptions of empowerment by their collegiate sport coach

Date of Completion

January 1999

Keywords

Education, Physical|Education, Higher|Recreation

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examines the influences of gender, NCAA divisional status (I/III), and sport classification (team/individual) on athletes perceptions of empowerment by their collegiate sport coach. A scale was developed with a panel of leadership experts to measure athletes perceptions of coaching empowerment. Appropriate items were borrowed from existing leadership scales, and new items were constructed when necessary. The factors of coaching empowerment were labeled as delegation, goal oriented environment, knowledge, and decision participation. ^ 399 male and female student athletes from an equal number of Division I and Division III schools representing team and individual sports participated voluntarily. A 2 x 2 x 2 multivariate analysis of variance was performed to investigate gender, sport classification, and divisional status differences and interaction effects with respect to athletes' perceptions of empowerment by their collegiate sport coach. The Wilks' Lambda overall omnibus test was found to be significant for the main effects of gender (F = 6.714, p < .0001), division (F = 24.978, p = .0001), and sport classification (F = 11.317, p = .0001) with respect to empowerment. ^ The multivariate tests also indicated significance for the interactions of gender and division (F = 5.140, p < .0001), division and sport classification (F = 3.011, p < .018), and gender, division, and classification (F = 4.275, p < .002). Male athletes were found to be more empowered than female athletes with respect to goal oriented environment and decision participation. Division III was more empowered than Division I with respect to delegation and decision participation, while Division I was more empowered with respect to goal oriented environment. Team sports were more empowered than individual sports with respect to goal oriented environment, knowledge, and decision participation. Division I male team sports had the highest mean among all groups. These results suggest that males are more advantaged than females in collegiate sport, Division I places winning as its main focus, and Division III emphasizes athlete participation and development. The increased visibility team sports receive in comparison to individual sports was explained as the primary reason these athletes feel an increased sense of empowerment. ^