A qualitative examination of parental mental health and well-being in youth sport

Publication Name

International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology


Parents have multifaceted experiences as a result of their involvement in organised youth sport. Such experiences can have an influence on parents’ mental health and well-being. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of mental health and well-being among parents in relation to their involvement in organised youth sport. Eighteen Australian youth sport parents (12 mothers, 6 fathers; Mage = 47 years, SD = 4.74) participated in individual semi-structured interviews to better understand how their youth sport-specific roles and behaviours influence mental health and well-being. Following a descriptive thematic analysis, five themes were generated from the data: (a) sport as a platform for family unity; (b) cohesion and conflict between parents and other social agents; (c) requirements of youth sport and family equity; (d) interconnectedness of parent and child emotions in sport; and (e) sport as a context for self-improvement and parental validation. These findings provide meaningful insight with respect to how the youth sport environment, and parents’ roles within it, leads to positive and negative mental health experiences. We encourage applied scholars to consider the current findings when designing quality youth sport programmes that are tailored to all stakeholders (i.e., including parents).

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



Link to publisher version (DOI)