Renee Brown

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Marc Ryan Flett

Committee Co-Chair

Sean Bulger

Committee Member

Suzanne Hartman

Committee Member

Andrea Taliaferro


An abundance of research in sport-based positive youth development (PYD) indicates that coaches should be positive, promote autonomy-supportive and authoritative coaching styles, and caution the use of authoritarian leadership, while too often ignoring elements of authoritarian leadership such as discipline and structure. However, most of the studies conducted targeted middle-upper socioeconomic status (SES) suburban, White populations, with little emphasis on the inner-city underserved context. Parenting and teaching literature provides strong support for authoritarian styles in the underserved setting (Hartman & Manfa, 2015; Smetana, 2011). Similarly, the few studies conducted in the underserved sport settings show support of authoritarian styles (Brown et al., in preparation; Cowan et al., 2012; Flett et al., 2012; Flett et al., 2013; Richardson, 2012). The purpose of this study is to extend the previous year's season-long qualitative study of a single girl's basketball team (Brown et al., in preparation) to include perspectives from parents of that team and quantitative surveys from players across the league.;Participants included five head coaches with 14.2 years of experience and 80 players from the five teams in the league. The study incorporated interviews with six parental/primary caregivers from Team C; and quantitative surveys for players in the league. An abductive approach was used to develop thematic categories from the interview data (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014).;Quantitative results revealed that players are improving life skill development over time. Additionally, in order for coaches to have the biggest impact, they must use authoritative coaching styles and foster a caring and mastery climate. More importantly, results indicated that authoritarian coaching was a unique predictor of life skills development, however, it did not affect life skill development in a negative or positive manner. Qualitative results revealed that parents/primary caregivers relied on the coach as a unique source of support and guidance to supplement, complement or compensate their adolescent's home life. Additionally, parents/primary caregivers strongly preferred authoritarian coaching combined with authoritative components to instill values and positively influence life skill development.