An investigation into the nature and role of the client-trainer relationship in exercise: applying the 3+1CS model

Rowe, Louise (2018) An investigation into the nature and role of the client-trainer relationship in exercise: applying the 3+1CS model. Doctoral thesis, Loughborough University.

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This thesis is offered as a series of three studies which applies the 3 + 1Cs relationship model (Jowett, 2007) to the study of the trainer-client interpersonal relationship in structured health-related fitness environments. The proposition that a rewarding and enjoyable working relationship should play an essential role in developing a client’s motivation for, and commitment to, exercise is intuitive. However, the conceptual basis of this relationship, along with its determinants and consequences, remains to be investigated in trainer-led exercise settings. By establishing the theoretical suitability of the 3 + 1Cs model for this context, the thesis provides a valid framework for future study of this topic. It addresses a gap in the extant research by investigating whether the trainer-client relationship is a significant social variable which has the potential to promote adaptive motivation towards exercise and psychological well-being. The first study interviewed trainer – client dyads to determine how the underlying constructs of the 3 + 1Cs model were expressed in the context of their interpersonal working relationship and to evaluate the applicability of the model. The second study used the code categories generated in the first study to develop and validate a questionnaire designed to measure relationship quality in client-trainer dyads.

Evaluation of the structural validity of the questionnaire was used to provide further confirmation of the relevance of the 3C + 1 relationship model to this context. The third study used this questionnaire to investigate some of the antecedents and determinants of the trainerclient relationship in a sample of exercisers. Client perceptions of the trainer’s trait emotional intelligence was investigated as a relationship antecedent. The psychological consequences of the relationship were tested using Self-Determination Theory (SDT: Deci & Ryan, 2000) by examining the association of relationship perceptions with need satisfaction, intrinsic and identified motivational regulation and psychological well-being (subjective vitality). The findings of these studies support the conceptual validity of the 3Cs for the study of clienttrainer relationships in health-related exercise. The validation of the 12-item Client-Trainer Relationship Questionnaire (CTR-Q) and confirmation of its structural and criterion validity endorses this conclusion. Clients’ perceptions of their working relationship were found to be significantly and positively related to their perceptions of their trainer’s trait emotional intelligence (a relationship antecedent). Relationship quality was also significantly and positively associated with the psychological consequences of psychological need satisfaction. In turn psychological need satisfaction was significantly associated with autonomous motivational regulation and subjective vitality. In conclusion, the thesis has shown that the client-trainer relationship operates as a key social variable congruent with SDT propositions to affect clients’ motivation and psychological well-being. The effectiveness of this relationship can be influenced by a potentially modifiable personal characteristic of the trainer, namely trait emotional intelligence.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Doctoral)
Departments: Academic Departments > Medical & Sport Sciences (MSS) > Sports and Physical Activity
Additional Information: Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University, UK, December 2017.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2018 12:34
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 19:32


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