Relations among transformational leadership, need satisfaction, and psychological development in socio-economically disadvantaged sports participants

Jordan Donnelly, Daryl Cowan, Rosemary Arthur, Calum Arthur

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This study examines the effects of transformational leadership in relation to psychological life outcomes, via need satisfaction, within a sample of socio-economically disadvantaged, sport-based education programme participants.

Sport-based education programmes have become well established as a remedy for the hardships faced by socio-economically disadvantaged individuals, such as; enduring adversities, loneliness, and dissatisfaction with life. However, research largely focuses on the effectiveness of sport programmes within youth populations, with scant research understanding the impact of coach behaviour within such programmes within an adult sample.

Transformational leadership is proposed to be a particularly effective method for conceptualising coach behaviour at these programmes, due to its focus on developing, inspiring, and empowering others, whilst fostering more optimistic views of the future. Despite this, no published research has examined transformational leadership in a sample of adult sports programme participants, and the impact it may have on their everyday life.

By adopting a quantitative, cross-sectional design we measured the participants’ perceived feelings of coach transformational leadership with the use of the differentiated transformational leadership inventory, a measure with strong psychometric rigour, which is established in multiple contexts. Perceived feelings of need satisfaction (autonomy, competence, relatedness) was measured in relation to the participants’ attendance at the programme. Resilience, loneliness and life satisfaction were outcomes deemed pertinent by previous research into this sample, and were measured in relation to the participant’s everyday life.

With the use of a multiple mediation regression analysis, using PROCESS, we hypothesize an indirect relationship between transformational leadership and resilience, loneliness and life satisfaction, via need satisfaction. The findings of this study will also be used to inform a future intervention with this programme.


ConferenceThe British Psychological Society Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Annual Conference 2017
Abbreviated titleBPS DSEP Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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