Psychological well-being in the coach-athlete-SEPP triad: the case for an interpersonal perspective

Richard A.C. Simpson, Faye F. Didymus, Toni L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The importance of psychological well-being (PWB) is widely acknowledged in global research and policy and has important ramifications for health, performance, and engagement in high-performance sport organizations. Despite this compelling knowledge, and investigation of well-being at an individual level, little is known about PWB among close sport relationships. The aim of this presentation is to explore the interpersonal antecedents and outcomes of PWB among athletes, coaches, and sport and exercise psychology practitioners (SEPPs). Underpinned by an interpretative paradigm, triadic interview methods were used to collect data on the interpersonal nature of PWB among three coach-athlete-SEPP triads (n=12) within individual-based sports. Data were analysed using an abductive approach to reflexive thematic analysis. Themes that reflected the interpersonal nature of well-being among the coach-athlete-SEPP triad included: shared values and characteristics, meaningful experiences of growth and development, interpersonal resilience, factors linked to the organization (e.g., perception of organizational climate), psychological safety, situational properties of stress, and relational dynamics (e.g., alignment, adjustment and development, underpinning relational properties). PWB was found to be transferred among the triad through three interpersonal mechanisms (i.e., interpersonal coping, emotional contagion, and social appraisal). These findings implicate two key recommendations. First, we recommend that researchers extend understanding of how PWB changes over time among key close relationships in sport to extend theoretical knowledge. Second, organizations and practitioners are encouraged to consider how interventions, mentoring, and relationship-building schemes can be tailored within wider education and support packages to augment and manage PWB among their athletes, coaches, and support personnel.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 13 Jul 2022
Event16th European Congress of Sport and Exercise Psychology - Padova, Italy, Padova, Italy
Duration: 11 Jul 202216 Jul 2022

Academic conference

Academic conference16th European Congress of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Abbreviated titleFEPSAC


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