Table 2

Emotional abuse: classifications, constituents and examples in sport

Relational maltreatmentClassificationsConstituentsExamples in sport
Emotional abuseVerbal emotional abuse
  • Shouting, belittling, name-calling, degrading or intimidating comments

  • Yelling demeaning comments at an athlete following an inadequate performance

  • Verbal acts of humiliation

  • Insulting an athlete in front of their team-mates or competition

Non-verbal emotional abuse
  • Hitting and throwing objects (no contact or intention to make contact)

  • Smashing an object (eg, water bottle) in front of an athlete out of anger or frustration

  • Intentional denial of attention or support

  • Refusal of performance feedback

  • Exclusion/expulsion from an activity

  • Chronic expulsion of an athlete from training or competition

  • In order for the described behaviours to be defined as relational maltreatment, they must occur within a critical relationship.