The relationship between ethical and abusive coaching behaviors and student-athlete well-being

Mariya A. Yukhymenko-Lescroart, Michael E. Brown, Thomas S. Paskus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Drawing on social- cognitive theory, this research examined the impact of college coaches' ethical and abusive behavior on their athletes' college choice satisfaction, perceptions of the team's inclusion climate, and team members' willingness to cheat. We examined the relative impact of these coaching behaviors controlling for team gender as well as the contextual influences of the profile of the sport, National Collegiate Athletic Association Division, and ethical climate at the school. Results from a multilevel analysis of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's quadrennial Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Learning of Students in College (GOALS) survey (N = 19,920 student-athletes) provided general support for our theoretically derived hypotheses. Ethical leadership was positively related to student-athletes' college choice satisfaction, as well as their perceptions of inclusion climate on the team. Abusive coaching behavior was also positively related to team members' willingness to cheat. Perceptions of the ethical climate at the school were related to all 3 outcomes. We found only partial support for the relationship between abusive behavior, inclusion climate, and college choice satisfaction. Unexpectedly, ethical leadership was unrelated to student-athletes' perceptions of their teammates' willingness to cheat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-49
Number of pages14
JournalSport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Applied Psychology


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