Parents views of the role of sports coaches as mental health gatekeepers for adolescent males

Morgan Brown, Frank P. Deane, Stewart A. Vella, Sarah K. Liddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Many young males experience significant mental health concerns but do not access treatment. Community gatekeepers are individuals who are in contact with such groups and have the potential to support them in getting appropriate help. Sport coaches have been identified as potential gatekeepers for adolescent males, but are likely to need the support of parents for this role. This study investigated parent’s views of coaches as gatekeepers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 parents of adolescent males between the ages of 12 and 17 years, participating in five different sports. Four global themes emerged: communication; support; relationships; and, awareness. Many participants felt that the coach would be a good candidate for gatekeeper, but others felt that it would depend on how successful they are in relation to the skills identified in the themes. Future research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of gatekeeper training programmes for developing these skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-251
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Promotion
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • athletic triad
  • coach–athlete relationship
  • help-seeking
  • Mental health
  • prevention
  • vignette
  • young people

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