A mixed methods exploration of the gendered perspectives of female sports coaches

  • Paula Murray

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The purpose of this project of research was to investigate the perceptions of female coaches and their gendered identities using quantitative and qualitative data. A mixed-methods approach was taken using questionnaires and interviews. Videos depicting a coach interacting with athlete/athletes were shown to participants prior to completing the questionnaires. This method was used in order to investigate if there was a difference in how male and female coaches are perceived because of their gender and investigate if the masculinity/femininity of a female coach would influence others’ perceptions of their ability and the coach-athlete relationship. Semi-structured interviews were used to investigate how the influence of gender on perceptions of coaches may have influenced the experiences of female sport coaches. An unstructured interview was conducted to investigate the effect of gender across a coach’s career.
This thesis has contributed to the body of knowledge concerning how female coaches are perceived and female coaches’ experiences in sport. It has advanced the literature on Social Role Theory to the context of sport. The main findings of this research are: (a) female coaches are rated higher than male coaches for relationship quality and empathy when in an emotional scenario, (b) female coaches perceived to be masculine are rated consistently higher within relationship quality and competency in a coaching scenario, (c) female coaches’ experiences are affected by their traditional social role associated with gender and by society’s gendered perceptions of sport, and (d) there are more factors which discourage rather than encourage the progression of female coaches.
Date of AwardSep 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Abertay University
SupervisorRoss Lorimer (Supervisor) & Rhiannon Lord (Supervisor)


  • Sport coaching
  • Gender
  • Perceptions

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