Parents at the sport competition: How they react, feel and cope with the event

Keywords: stress, emotions, mixed-methods, achievement goal theory, physiology


Background and Study Aim. Researchers rarely focus on documenting parental experiences at sport tournaments. Therefore, our purpose was to document parent cardiovascular, metabolic and emotional responses to watching their child compete while also paying attention to their thoughts before and after the competition, levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and coping strategies. Materials and methods. Parents, a mother and a father of same female adolescent, wore a device made by Firstbeat Technologies which continuously monitored their heart rate from Thursday evening to Monday evening. The competition was on Saturday, and it was the taekwondo Croatian National Championships for cadets. Their child had two fights: she won the first one and lost the second one. Parents completed a number of questionnaires and two open-ended questions regarding their expectations and overall experience. Results. Before the contest, dad expected his daughter would fight as best she could while giving her best effort. The mother hoped that her daughter would pass the first fight. Parents had a similar pattern of cardiovascular responses to watching their daughter compete but differed in intensity. Emotional profiles of the mother and father changed several times during the measurement period. Overall, parent's experienced low levels of stress, anxiety and depression and used numerous strategies to cope with the event. Conclusions. Although our research only included one pair of parents it suggests that parents experiences during the sport events are complex and worth investigating in future research on larger samples.


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Author Biographies

Rebeka Prosoli, University of Zagreb; Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb; Zagreb, Croatia.
Marc Lochbaum, Texas Tech University; Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, Texas Tech University; Lubbock, TX, USA.
Renata Barić, University of Zagreb; Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb; Zagreb, Croatia.


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How to Cite
Prosoli R, Lochbaum M, Barić R. Parents at the sport competition: How they react, feel and cope with the event. Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports. 2021;25(2):114-2.