The effect of parental feedback on young athletes' perceived motivational climate, goal involvement, goal orientation, and performance

Lael Gershgoren, Gershon Tenenbaum, Aaron Gershgoren, Robert C. Eklund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of parental feedback on young competitive athletes' Perceived Motivational Climate (PMC), goal involvement, goal orientation, and motor performance. Design: A pre-post experimental design was employed where two types of parental feedbacks were delivered to participants, and used as an independent variable (i.e., between subject factor), and pre-post sessions (i.e., Time) were used as a within-subject factor. Method: Young male soccer players (n = 81) and their parents were randomly assigned to either ego-oriented or task-oriented parental feedback conditions. Players performed six soccer penalty kicks and completed measures of parental PMC, general PMC, goal orientation, and goal involvement prior and after receiving feedback from their parents. Results: A series of RM mixed model MANOVAs and ANOVAs revealed that parental and general performance PMC, and ego involvement increased significantly among players receiving ego-oriented parental feedback. Players receiving task-oriented parental feedback increased significantly in parental and general mastery PMC, decreased significantly in performance PMC, while also becoming significantly more task-involved and less ego-involved. No pre-to-post between group differences were observed in goal orientation or performance. Conclusions: In this study, a single parental feedback statement resulted in athletes' perceptions of PMC and goal involvement changes. The findings were generally consistent with contentions in achievement goal theory (Nicholls, 1984, 1989) and suggest that parental effects on the young athlete's motivational climate and goal involvement in sport can be substantial. Implications for parental involvement in youth sport as well as future research directions are further discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Goal involvement
  • Goal orientation
  • Motivational climate
  • Parental feedback


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