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Date of Award

1992

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Martin T. Gipson

First Committee Member

Douglas W. Matheson

Second Committee Member

Edward Leland

Abstract

Coaches of high school athletes are one potentially important source of athletes' social support. This leads to the possibility that at least some coaches provide little social support to their players and thus could contribute to players' injury rates. I examined the social support high school football coaches provide their players in a specific circumstance where coach social support might be considered forthcoming, the circumstance of injured players. I sent a 21-item, 9-point Likert scale questionnaire to 2,000 California, Texas, Ohio, and Florida high school football coaches, asking about the amount of social support they provided to their injured players. A total of 668 questionnaires were returned. The social support items were reasonably homogeneous (coefficient alpha .84). Mean levels of self-reported coach social support ranged from 3.1 (almost no social support provided) to 9.0 (strong social support, provided consistently), with a mean of 6.9 (median=7.0) and a S.D. of 1.0. I then examined the relationship between the social support reported to be provided and coach-reported numbers of minor and major player injuries in a typical season. Both relationships were low and negative, but significant (r = -.14 in both cases,p is less than .0005), indicating a weak tendency for the players of low social support coaches to experience more injuries than those of high social support coaches. The results overall suggest that (a) coach social support of athletes is indeed quite low in some cases, and (b) coach social support may be an important element in determining the injury rates of high school athletes.

Pages

81

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