Authors: Jerry F. Reynolds II, Kristin E. Trainor, and Matt Moore
Department of Social Work, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA
Jerry F. Reynolds II, PhD, LMSW
1613 W. Riverside Ave
Muncie, IN 47304
Jerry F. Reynolds II, PhD, LMSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. His research interests focus on family dynamics and parenting experiences in youth sport settings.
Kristin E. Trainor, PhD, LCSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Ball State University. Her research areas of interest include exploration of family dynamics and barriers to service provision in therapeutic settings.
Matt E. Moore is Chair and Associate Professor of Social Work at Ball State University. His research focuses upon the integration of social work principles in sport-based settings.
The Influence of COVID-19 Upon Perceptions of Parent Identity and Role Among Youth Sport Spectators
Parent experiences in youth sport settings during the COVID-19 pandemic are a notable and understudied phenomenon. Parents had varied experiences as a result of safety mandates and protocols that limited physical presence and engagement in their child’s sports activities. These limitations proved to be an emotional challenge for parents – balancing the responsibilities of protecting the safety of their families and providing sports experiences to promote both normalcy and acquire the life skills gained from sports participation in a fluid environment. In some instances, parents engaged in virtual spectating experiences which sought to minimize physical risks associated with COVID-19, but also did not require their physical presence to participate. Research on the virtual experience of parents is novel and from a sample of 112 parents across youth sport sectors in 18 states how the spectating modality influenced parental roles and identities was examined. Virtual spectating experiences reflected many challenges for parents, but also prompted much gratitude for allowing continued engagement in their child’s sports activities. This exploratory research prompts larger questions urging sport-based professionals to examine the influences of spectating modalities on experiences of parents. The authors captured retrospective parent reactions to their personal spectating experience and generated a grounded theory diagram to demonstrate relationships between factors shaping the parent identity and role in this context. Implications for sport-based professionals are discussed.(more…)