Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

Document Type



Contemporary youth sports environments present significant psychosocial challenges to the family system. Among the greatest challenges to address are spectator behaviors of parents, which in the public eye has deteriorated and is out of control. Spectator behaviors and their impact upon the sports environment and family system is the topic of investigation in this study. Within the state of Louisiana, the advent of Act 355 extends the consequences of parent behavior and presents challenges to families, referees, and sports organizations. To better understand how legislation impacts parent perceptions of their spectator behaviors, the author examined spectator behaviors parents are observing, their personal behaviors, and how perceptions of these behaviors change through an educational intervention. This study evaluated parent behavior through a lens of background anger and previously identified risky spectator behaviors. Current and former referees in Louisiana also shared their thoughts on the youth sport environment in light of this new legislation. The intent was to better understand parent behaviors and inform interventions to assist parents and sports organizations as they navigate the youth sport landscape.



Committee Chair

Chaney, Cassandra