Parent Motivational Climate, Sport Enrollment Motives, and Young Athlete Commitment and Enjoyment in Year-Round Swimming

Rachel E. Williams, Christine M. Habeeb, Thomas D. Raedeke, Deirdre Dlugonski, Katrina D. Dubose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents are known to influence the athlete sport experience through motivational climates. Athletes’ perception of motivational climates and their own motives for sport participation influence enjoyment and long-term sport commitment. It is unknown, however, the extent parent motives for initially enrolling their child in a year-round sports program associate with children’s sport participation enjoyment and commitment. The purposes of this study were to (a) determine parent motives for enrolling their child (5-8 years) in year-round swimming and (b) explore the relationships of parent motives and motivational climates with child enjoyment and commitment. Parents (n = 40) completed questionnaires on enrollment motives and motivational climate, while children (n = 40) answered questions on enjoyment and commitment. Of the seven motives measured, parents enrolled children in swimming primarily for fitness benefits (M = 4.5, SD =.45) followed by skill mastery (M = 4.31, SD =.48) and fun (M = 4.10, SD =.51) reasons. Findings revealed the fitness motive was moderately, negatively correlated with the success-without-effort facet of a performance climate (r =-.50, p <.01). The fun motive was moderately, positively associated with commitment (r =.43, p <.01). Parent motives for enrolling their child in sport may impact the young child sport experience and long-term sport continuation via motivational climates, enjoyment, and commitment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-372
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was for completion of the first author’s master’s degree. The author would like to thank the Kinesiology Department of East Carolina University for funding participation incentives.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Western Kentucky University. All rights reserved.


  • Task
  • ego
  • parent-child dyads
  • sport commitment model
  • swim

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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