Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Loughead, Todd


Group dynamics; Peer athlete mentoring; Sport




The benefits of mentoring for those who are mentored are well-documented in the organizational psychology literature (e.g., Eby et al., 2013). To a lesser degree, there is also evidence from organizational settings indicating that mentors benefit from being involved in mentoring relationships (e.g., Ghosh & Reio Jr., 2013). Despite the apparent advantages associated with mentorship, the explicit examination of peer mentoring relationships between athletes has only recently begun (e.g., Hoffmann & Loughead, 2016). Consequently, the central purpose of this dissertation was to gain a deeper understanding of peer athlete mentoring in sport. Three empirical research studies were conducted to address this objective. In Chapter 2, the experiences of elite, self-reported peer mentored athletes were explored via individual semi-structured interviews. The primary purpose of Chapter 2 was to identify the mentoring functions exhibited by athlete mentors. Briefly, the results pertaining to this purpose suggested that athlete mentors provided an assortment of specific mentoring functions to facilitate protégés’ progression through sport (instrumental mentoring) and development from a personal standpoint (psychosocial mentoring). The secondary purpose of Chapter 2 was to investigate the outcomes related to protégés’ mentoring experiences, the results of which highlighted that protégés benefitted in terms of enhanced performance and confidence, and also demonstrated a willingness to provide mentorship to their peers. The general objective of Chapter 3 was to develop a psychometrically sound questionnaire to measure peer athlete mentoring functions, using the results from Chapter 2 as the basis for the development of questionnaire items. The newly created 34-item, six-factor Athlete Mentoring Questionnaire (AMQ) was developed using a multi-phase approach that included a series of robust statistical analyses. Finally, using a case study design, the experiences of one former highly-regarded peer athlete mentor were explored in Chapter 4. Over multiple interviews, this individual indicated that he felt mentoring played a key role in an athlete’s ability to rise to elite sport. He suggested that he was motivated to mentor his protégés for their benefit but also for his own personal gains. Moreover, he described having an unwavering belief in and allegiance to his protégés and shared his views concerning the complexity of the ‘mentoring identity’ that he adopted. Overall, this former peer athlete mentor’s accounts suggest that he was involved in relational mentoring relationships. The findings from this dissertation shed light on the nature of peer athlete mentoring, have theoretical and practical implications, and offer several future research directions.