PSYCHOLOGICAL (EMOTIONAL) CHILD ATHLETE ABUSE

“This study investigates the prevalence of emotional abuse of elite child athletes by their coaches in the UK. Previous research has focused primarily on the parent–child relationship, with little attention given to date on the sports environment.

12 “Participants were reflecting on experiences from about 10 years previously, so their responses represented the residual impact of their experiences that had survived over this period.

“Abusive behaviours were categorized under eight headings: belittling, humiliating, shouting, scapegoating, rejecting, isolating, threatening and ignoring.

“Results showed that all of the participants reported experiencing belittling and shouting by their coach, nine athletes reported frequent threatening behaviour, nine reported frequent humiliation, seven reported scapegoating, six reported rejection or being ignored and four reported being isolated when they were elite child athletes.

“All participants reported that the behaviour of their coaches changed and became more negative after they were identified as elite performers.

“Participants reported feeling stupid, worthless, upset, less confident, humiliated, depressed, fearful and angry as a result of the behaviour of their coaches.

“The results provide tentative evidence that the behaviour of some coaches is a threat to the psychological well-being of elite child athletes.”

See the report: [The emotional abuse of elite child athletes by their coaches by Misia Gervis* and Nicola Dunn 24 JUN 2004 Child Abuse Review Vol 13, Issue 3, pages 215–223, May/June 2004]

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