Examining the impact of the Respect in Sport
Parent Program among minor hockey athletes

This study examined differences in minor hockey athletes’ experiences according to the year their league implemented the Respect in Sport Parent Program (RiSPP). Athletes completed online measures of spectators’ behaviours (Omli & LaVoi, 2009), prosocial and antisocial behaviours (Kavussanu & Boardley, 2009), and parental support and pressure (Anderson et al., 2003). One way ANOVAs revealed significant differences in athletes’ perceptions of parental support prosocial behaviours towards teammates, and antisocial behaviours towards opponents. Athletes in leagues that had adopted the RiSPP in 2011 reported significantly higher parental support compared to athletes in leagues which did not have the program, higher prosocial behaviours towards teammates than athletes in leagues that had adopted the program in 2014/15, and higher prosocial behaviour towards opponents than athletes in leagues that had adopted the program in 2014/15. Large effect sizes were found for all significant differences between groups. There were no significant differences in perceptions of parental pressure or spectator behaviours. These results suggest the RiSPP is associated with positive athlete experiences in sport; adoption of the program may also reflect leagues’ prioritization of positive athlete experiences.


Interpersonal problems such as harassment, bullying, and sexual abuse by both peers and adults are becoming increasingly recognized as a problem among children and youth in schools, and are also gaining attention in sports. With an increase in awareness comes concerted educational efforts to address interpersonal problems, including prevention programs targeting adults in schools and in the community. Respect in Sport (RiS) is an online, preventative education program for coaches designed to create safe and healthy sport environments for participants by targeting key areas that are paramount to prevention and intervention in bullying, abuse, neglect, and harassment in sports. The purpose of the current study was to examine the extent to which coaches perceived the Respect in Sport program to have impacted their knowledge and practice in these areas. Participants included coaches from Alberta Gymnastics, Ontario Gymnastics, and Sport Manitoba who completed the RiS training in the last three years. A total of 1,091 participants, representing 51 different sports, were asked to complete a selfreport survey regarding their perceptions of the impact of RiS on their coaching practice. Results from this study revealed that an overwhelming percentage of participants perceived the Respect in Sport program to have enhanced their knowledge and practice in key areas of the program’s objectives. Further examination of results across type and level of sports, age and sex of coaches and athletes, and time at which coaches were certified in Respect in Sport revealed few significant differences, and the effect sizes were small. The results of this study have implications for further program development, implementation, and ongoing systematic evaluation. With the heightened demand for implementing and evaluating programs that are evidence-based, the results of this study also have implications for school psychologists working in schools and in the community.

Respect in Sport: The Perceived Impact on
Parental Behavior in Minor Hockey Pg.23-33

Abstract: The reported increase of unethical conduct in all levels of sport diminishes the value of sport and risks turning away participants and fans at all levels. This paper focuses on root causes of inappropriate behavior in sport related to parental involvement. Literature suggests that negative parent behavior affects the safety and enjoyment of participating athletes. In an effort to deal with negative behaviors, Respect Group developed the Respect in Sport (RiS) education program geared to parents. The aim of this research is to explore the effectiveness of RiS and its impact on a group of minor hockey parents in Calgary, Canada. A survey was administered to all parents/guardians who completed the RiS program after a three-year period. Three key findings include: 1) Increased awareness—Parents report they are more aware of their behavior and that of others’ in relation to what is supportive and what is not. 2) Need for more integration— Study participants identify that real change will only come when the program is imbedded into the culture of the sport. Some wish to see the program made mandatory annually to increase cultural integration. 3) More accountability— Participants explain they believe the program is a step forward in improving respect and reducing maltreatment. The findings provide valuable insight in the development of mitigative strategies to address inappropriate parent behaviour. The findings may also be transferable to other sports and support education as a way to affect positive, albeit incremental change in sport culture.


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