Parent, coach, and peer created motivational climates: Relationships to goal orientations and mental toughness

Nicholas Beck *, Trent A. Petrie *, Robert J. Harmison **, E. Whitney * and G. Moore ***

(*) University of North Texas,USA
(**) James Madison University,USA
(***) Wayne State University,USA

We examined a model of mental toughness development based on achievement goal theory (Ames, 1992; Nicholls, 1984). Five hundred ninety-nine male and female high school varsity athletes (Mage = 16.19 years) participated, completing self-report measures of parent, peer, and coach motivational climates, goal orientations, and mental toughness. The measurement model provided adequate fit with the data (CFI = .91; SRMR = .060; RMSEA = .067, 90% CI [.063, .072]). For the structural model, the mediated effects model provided the best fit, explaining 61% of the variance in the athletes’ mental toughness. Parent Task-Involving Climate (β = .47) and Coach Task-Involving Climate (β = .33), but not Peer Task-Involving Climate (β = .08), were associated with Task Goal Orientation (R2 = .58). Ego Goal Orientation (R2 = .32) was explained by Parent Ego-Involving Climate (β = .35) and Coach Ego-Involving Climate (β = .29), but not Peer Ego-Involving Climate (β = .03). Only Task Goal Orientation (β = .78) was related significantly to the athletes’ Mental Toughness; the Ego Goal Orientation pathway was not significant (β = -.02). These results highlight the potential positive influence of parents and coaches on athletes’ mental toughness through their endorsement of taskinvolving messages and pursuits that ultimately lead to the development and expression of a task goal orientation in adolescent athletes.

Keywords: Coaches, Goal orientation, Mental toughness, motivational climate, Parents, Youth sport