Coaching Abuse Experiences in Young Elite Female Artistic Gymnasts: An Ethical Appraisal
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Artistic gymnastics coaches continue to face criticism stemming from the training requirements they place on their young gymnasts. The purpose of this study is to discover and examine coaching abuse experiences of young elite female artistic gymnasts, and provide an ethical appraisal of such abuse using two distinct moral frameworks. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with former elite artistic gymnasts. Data analysis was guided by phenomenological methods and a textural description of the phenomenon was created. Findings revealed that gymnasts’ experienced forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse from their coaches, and attributed these experiences in part to a lack of coaching education. Furthermore, the shared experiences of the gymnasts were not consistent when two moral frameworks were applied to the data. Based on the ethical implications of coaching abuse in elite female gymnastics, recommendations for mitigating coaching abuse toward young female gymnasts and future research were also discussed.