Date of Award

Summer 7-20-2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Marcia Bennett, PhD

Second Advisor

Mark Carlson-Ghost, PhD

Third Advisor

Jil Leverone, PhD


This study investigated the effects of family relationships/environment and sport participation on youth leadership development using the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey (MSS) questionnaire. Responses from 9th and 11th graders were used, resulting in 81,885 total participants between the ages of 13 and 19 for this archival, cross-sectional study. This study had two aims: One, to investigate the relationship between family relationships/environment and sport participation, and their impact on youth leadership skills and development; and two, to investigate whether participation in youth sports provides enough scaffolding to foster the development of youth leadership skills despite poor family relationships/environments. Scales were created for this study using questions from the MSS questionnaire. Linear regression was used to test three hypotheses: (1) Both positive family relationships and a positive family environment, as well as greater participation in sports, will each be associated with youth leadership ability; (2) Sport participation will be more strongly related to leadership ability than family relationships and environment; and (3) Adolescents that have non-supportive family relationships/environment and participate in sports will endorse better leadership skills than adolescents that do not participate in sports but have positive family relationships/environments. Results found hypotheses two and three were not supported, while hypothesis one was supported. Implications for findings are discussed including possible clinical application and future research directions.


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