Parent-Initiated Motivational Climate and Young Child Enjoyment and Commitment in Year-Round Swimming
Many factors potentially influence a young athlete's sport enjoyment and commitment. Social agents, such as parents, explain a large part of the variance in youth sport experiences. While research suggests the environment created by parents' impact athlete sport experiences, it is unknown if this is true for young children in the early stages of sport participation (5-8 years of age). Previous research has failed to address the reasons why parents are initially enrolling their children in youth sport which could be associated with parent-initiated motivational climate and child enjoyment and commitment to year-round swimming. The purposes of this study were to: a) to determine the reasons parents enroll their children in year-round competitive swimming, b) to examine the relationship between parent-initiated motivational climate and child's swim enjoyment and commitment, c) to study the relationship between parent-initiated motivational climate and parent's motive for enrolling their child in year-round swimming, and d) to study the relationships between parent motives for enrollment in year-round swimming and child enjoyment and commitment to swimming. Forty parent-child dyads were recruited from registered USA Swimming club teams in Southeast United States. Parents completed questionnaires to measure parent and child demographics, child swim history, parent motives for year-round swim team enrollment, and parent-initiated motivational climate. Children completed a questionnaire assessing their enjoyment and commitment to year-round swimming. Overall, the primary reason parents enrolled their child in year-round swimming was for fitness benefits (M = 4.54 ± .45). The highest-rated parent-initiated motivational climate was a learning (mastery) climate (M = 3.72 ± .28). Children, on average, year-round swimming was rated very enjoying (M = 4.35 ± .65) and commitment was also rated high (M = 4.29 ± .89). Pearson-product correlations uncovered notable relationships. No relationships were found between any of the parent-initiated climates and child enjoyment and commitment in year-round swimming (p >.05). No significant relationships were found between a parent-initiated learning climate or parent-initiated worry-conducive climate and any of the seven parent motives for year-round swimming enrollment (p > .05). A success-without-effort climate was strong and moderately negatively associated with the fitness (r = -.50, p [less-than] .01) and skill/mastery of skill (r = -.38, p [less-than] .05) motives, respectively. Lastly, the only statistically significant relationship observed in respect to parent motives and child enjoyment and commitment was between the fun/excitement parent motive and child commitment to swimming (r = .43, p [less-than].01). The current findings illustrate why parents enroll younger children in year-round swimming and help explain the relationships between the parent motives for enrollment and child enjoyment and commitment to swimming. Thus, research suggests that between ages five and eight years of age, a parent initiated motivational climate may not be related to a child's enjoyment and commitment to swimming. Understanding parent motives for enrollment could be associated to the type of climate the parent is likely to create but may not necessarily be associated with child enjoyment and commitment in the first years of year-round swimming participations. The overarching goal is for parents and coaches to understand how motives for enrollment and motivational climates may associate with enjoyment and commitment to year-round swimming in young athletes.
Williams, Rachel. (June 2020). Parent-Initiated Motivational Climate and Young Child Enjoyment and Commitment in Year-Round Swimming (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/8604.)
Williams, Rachel. Parent-Initiated Motivational Climate and Young Child Enjoyment and Commitment in Year-Round Swimming. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, June 2020. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/8604. April 19, 2021.
Williams, Rachel, “Parent-Initiated Motivational Climate and Young Child Enjoyment and Commitment in Year-Round Swimming” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, June 2020).
Williams, Rachel. Parent-Initiated Motivational Climate and Young Child Enjoyment and Commitment in Year-Round Swimming [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; June 2020.
East Carolina University