Controlling coaching and athlete thriving in elite adolescent netballers

The buffering effect of athletes' mental toughness

Daniel F. Gucciardi*, Andreas Stamatis, Nikos Ntoumanis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The purposes of this study were to examine the association between controlling coach behaviours and athlete experiences of thriving and test the buffering effect of mental toughness on this relation. Design: A cross-sectional survey. Methods: In total, 232 female netballers aged 11 to 17 years (14.97 + 1.52) with between 1 and 15 years of experience in their sport (7.50 + 2.28) completed measures of controlling coach interpersonal style, mental toughness and thriving. Results: Latent moderated structural models indicated that (i) controlling coach behaviours were inversely related with experiences of vitality and learning; (ii) mental toughness was positively associated with psychological experiences of both dimensions of thriving; and (iii) mental toughness moderated the effect of coach's controlling interpersonal style on learning but not vitality experiences, such that the effect was weaker for individuals who reported higher levels of mental toughness. Conclusions: This study extends past work and theory to show that mental toughness may enable athletes to counteract the potentially deleterious effect of controlling coach interpersonal styles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-722
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Interpersonal style of communication
  • Latent interactions
  • Mentally tough
  • Motivational climate
  • Self-determination theory
  • Vitality

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