Abstract: The Coach Beyond Readiness Index (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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666P The Coach Beyond Readiness Index

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Samantha Bates, PhD, Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, OH
Dawn Anderson-Butcher, PhD, Professor, Ohio State University, OH
Background and Purpose: The prevalence of mental health concerns among student-athletes reflects the general student population. However, barriers to help-seeking are often heightened among this population. Although coaches play a key role in shaping a team's culture related to help-seeking, recent estimates suggest only 29% of coaches feel confident addressing mental health concerns among student-athletes. Opportunities exist for school leaders, athletic directors, and social workers to partner with youth sport coaches to support the highly diverse needs of the 7 million student-athletes participating in high school sports (NFHS, 2017). As such, school and community organizations need tools that help them understand how best to best train and prepare coaches to support student-athletes beyond the field, mat, and court. Recognizing this gap, researchers developed a Coach Beyond Readiness Index to assess coaches' confidence in supporting the whole child and student, not just the athlete. This study aimed to explore the underlying factor structure of this 45-item measure.

Method: This study utilized cross-sectional survey data from 5,656 youth sport coaches. Data were collected as part of a state-wide survey of youth sport coaches in one Midwestern state. The measure asks coaches about their ability to (1) teach sport skills, techniques, and tactics; (2) cultivate a positive youth sport environment; (3) utilize mental performance strategies to teach youth positive coping and life skills; and (4) address and respond to youths' social, emotional, and mental health needs. The 45-item Coach Beyond Readiness Index was piloted to help researchers understand coaches' readiness to facilitate positive developmental outcomes for young people participating in sport. All items were measured using a 5-point scale ranging from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. Five multiple imputations were pooled into one dataset to account for missing data. The analytic strategy was threefold: 1) item descriptive analysis, 2) exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and 3) confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).

Results: Descriptive results revealed six items had limited variability and were removed from further analyses. The EFA on the remaining 39 items revealed nine underlying factors (eigenvalue ranging from 3.469 to 6.479), accounting for 67% of the variance. Items on the nine underlying factors had loadings ranging from .61 to .81. A CFA was then used to test whether the 39 items loaded onto six latent factors. An examination of the modification indices and item squared multiple correlations (SMC) revealed that an additional four items were problematic and, therefore, dropped. The final version of the scale demonstrated good overall fit, SB χ2=125.19, df = 14, RMSEA = .08, with all 35 items loading on seven latent factors.

Conclusions and Implications: Results of the psychometric testing indicated support for the factorial validity of the 35-item Coach Beyond Readiness Index. This measure can provide school leaders, athletic directors, and school social workers with valuable information about coaches' readiness to support athletes beyond the playing field; and, in turn, can help schools and districts tailor their coach training to their community's local and specific needs.