Narcissism and coach interpersonal style: A self-determination theory perspective

D Matosic, N Ntoumanis, I D Boardley, C Sedikides, B D Stewart, N Chatzisarantis

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27 Citations (Scopus)
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Athletes' sport experiences are often influenced by the interpersonal styles of communication used by their coaches. Research on personality antecedents of such styles is scarce. We examined the link between a well-researched personality trait, namely narcissism, and two types of coaching interpersonal style, namely autonomy-supportive and controlling styles. We also tested the mediating roles of dominance and empathic concern in explaining the relations between narcissism and the two coaching interpersonal styles. United Kingdom-based coaches (N = 211) from various sports completed a multi-section questionnaire assessing the study variables. Regression analyses revealed a positive direct relation between narcissism and controlling coach behaviors. Furthermore, empathy (but not dominance) mediated the positive and negative indirect effects of narcissism on controlling and autonomy-supported interpersonal styles, respectively. We discuss these findings in terms of their implications for coaching and the quality of athletes' sport experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254–261
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number2
Early online date21 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2017


  • Controlling
  • autonomy-supportive
  • dominance
  • empathy
  • sport


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