The Influence of Athletes’ Psychological Needs on Motivation, Burnout, and Well-Being: A Test of Self-Determination Theory

Click name to view affiliation

Stephen Shannon Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute, Ulster University Jordanstown Campus, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland
Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Well-Being, Ulster University, Derry, Northern Ireland

Search for other papers by Stephen Shannon in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6720-8189 *
,
Noel Brick School of Psychology, Ulster University, Coleraine, Northern Ireland

Search for other papers by Noel Brick in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Garry Prentice Dublin Business School, Dublin, Ireland

Search for other papers by Garry Prentice in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Gavin Breslin School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Search for other papers by Gavin Breslin in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Sport provides a significant role in the lives of athletes; however, both positive and negative mental health effects may occur from sporting experiences, including burnout and/or well-being. A cross-sectional survey was conducted including 685 athletes (Mage = 23.39, SD = 6.22, 71% = male), testing multiple, complementary, self-determination theory hypotheses linked to well-being, and burnout. A multistage modeling approach encompassing confirmatory factor and path analysis was utilized, with results showing significant variance explained for well-being (R2 = .30) and burnout (R2 = .35). Several direct effects were found in line with self-determination theory, including between; needs-support and needs-satisfaction (β = 0.48), and needs-control and needs-frustration (β = 0.44); needs-satisfaction and motivational orientation (β = 0.25); needs-satisfaction and well-being (β = 0.37), and needs frustration and burnout (β = 0.25); and motivational orientation and burnout (β = −0.27), and motivational orientation and well-being (β = 0.18). Indirect effects were found for well-being and burnout via coach needs-support, needs-satisfaction, and motivational orientation in sequence (β = 0.24 and β = −0.22, respectively), in addition to burnout via coach needs-control, needs frustration, and motivational orientation in sequence (β = −0.12). To conclude, coach-based, sporting mental health interventions that promote the utilization of needs-supportive behaviors, while also highlighting the need to minimize needs-controlling behaviors, are recommended for the prevention of burnout and the promotion of well-being in athletes.

  • Collapse
  • Expand
  • Adie, J.W., Duda, J.L., & Ntoumanis, N. (2008). Autonomy support, basic need satisfaction and the optimal functioning of adult male and female sport participants: A test of basic needs theory. Motivation and Emotion, 32(3), 189199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-008-9095-z

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Balaguer, I., González, L., Fabra, P., Castillo, I., Mercé, J., & Duda, J.L. (2012). Coaches’ interpersonal style, basic psychological needs and the well-and ill-being of young soccer players: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 30(15), 16191629. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2012.731517

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bartholomew, K.J., Ntoumanis, N., Ryan, R.M., Bosch, J.A., & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2011). Self-determination theory and diminished functioning: The role of interpersonal control and psychological need thwarting. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(11), 14591473. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167211413125

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bartholomew, K.J., Ntoumanis, N., Ryan, R.M., & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2011). Psychological need thwarting in the sport context: Assessing the darker side of athletic experience. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 33(1), 75102. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.33.1.75

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bartholomew, K.J., Ntoumanis, N., & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2009). A review of controlling motivational strategies from a self-determination theory perspective: Implications for sports coaches. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2(2), 215233. https://doi.org/10.1080/17509840903235330

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bechter, B.E., Dimmock, J.A., Howard, J.L., Whipp, P.R., & Jackson, B. (2018). Student motivation in high school physical education: A latent profile analysis approach. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 40(4), 206216. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2018-0028

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bhavsar, N., Bartholomew, K.J., Quested, E., Gucciardi, D.F., Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., Reeve, J., & Ntoumanis, N. (2020). Measuring psychological need states in sport: Theoretical considerations and a new measure. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 47, Article 101617. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101617

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Breslin, G., Smith, A., Donohue, B., Donnelly, P., Shannon, S., Haughey, T., Vella, S., Swann, C., Cotterill, S., MacIntyre, T., Rogers, T., & Leavey G. (2020). International consensus statement on the psychosocial and policy-related approaches to mental health awareness programmes in sport. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 5(1), Article 585. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000585

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Byrne, B.M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with AMOS, EQS, and LISREL: Comparative approaches to testing for the factorial validity of a measuring instrument. International Journal of Testing, 1(1), 5586. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327574IJT0101_4

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cheon, S.H., Reeve, J., Lee, Y., & Lee, J.W. (2018). Why autonomy-supportive interventions work: Explaining the professional development of teachers’ motivating style. Teaching and Teacher Education, 69, 4351. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2017.09.022

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cordeiro, P., Paixão, P., Lens, W., Lacante, M., & Luyckx, K. (2016). The Portuguese validation of the basic psychological need satisfaction and frustration scale: Concurrent and longitudinal relations to well-being and ill-being. Psychologica Belgica, 56(3), 193209. https://doi.org/10.5334/pb.252

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Delrue, J., Reynders, B., Broek, G.V., Aelterman, N., De Backer, M., Decroos, S., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2019). Adopting a helicopter-perspective towards motivating and demotivating coaching: A circumplex approach. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 40, 110126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.08.008

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Devlieger, I., Mayer, A., & Rosseel, Y. (2016). Hypothesis testing using factor score regression: A comparison of four methods. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 76(5), 741770. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164415607618

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Emm-Collison, L.G., Sebire, S.J., Salway, R., Thompson, J.L., & Jago, R. (2020). Multidimensional motivation for exercise: A latent profile and transition analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 47, Article 101619. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101619

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Felton, L., & Jowett, S. (2013). “What do coaches do” and “how do they relate”: Their effects on athletes’ psychological needs and functioning. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 23(2), e130e139. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.12029

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. Sage.

  • Gerber, M., Gustafsson, H., Seelig, H., Kellmann, M., Ludyga, S., Colledge, F., & Bianchi, R. (2018). Usefulness of the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ) as a screening tool for the detection of clinically relevant burnout symptoms among young elite athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 39, 104113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.08.005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gunnell, K.E., Crocker, P.R., Wilson, P.M., Mack, D.E., & Zumbo, B.D. (2013). Psychological need satisfaction and thwarting: A test of basic psychological needs theory in physical activity contexts. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(5), 599607. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2013.03.007

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gustafsson, H., DeFreese, J.D., & Madigan, D.J. (2017). Athlete burnout: Review and recommendations. Current Opinion in Psychology, 16, 109113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.05.002

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hancox, J.E., Quested, E., Ntoumanis, N., & Duda, J.L. (2017). Teacher-created social environment, basic psychological needs, and dancers’ affective states during class: A diary study. Personality and Individual Differences, 115, 137143. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.03.033

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Howard, J.L., Gagné, M., Van den Broeck, A., Guay, F., Chatzisarantis, N., Ntoumanis, N., & Pelletier, L.G. (2020). A review and empirical comparison of motivation scoring methods: An application to self-determination theory. Motivation and Emotion, 44(4), 534548. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-020-09831-9

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hu, L.T., & Bentler, P.M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 155. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Isoard-Gautheur, S., Guillet-Descas, E., & Lemyre, P.N. (2012). A prospective study of the influence of perceived coaching style on burnout propensity in high level young athletes: Using a self-determination theory perspective. The Sport Psychologist, 26(2), 282298. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.26.2.282

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Keyes, C.L. (2005). Mental illness and/or mental health? Investigating axioms of the complete state model of health. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(3), Article 539. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.73.3.539

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li, C., Kawabata, M., & Zhang, L. (2018). Validity and reliability of the Sport Motivation Scale-II for Chinese athletes. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 16(1), 5164. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2016.1153130

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li, C., Wang, C.J., & Kee, Y.H. (2013). Burnout and its relations with basic psychological needs and motivation among athletes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(5), 692700. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2013.04.009

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Longo, Y., Gunz, A., Curtis, G.J., & Farsides, T. (2016). Measuring need satisfaction and frustration in educational and work contexts: The Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale (NSFS). Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(1), 295317. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9595-3

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lonsdale, C., Hodge, K., & Rose, E. (2009). Athlete burnout in elite sport: A self-determination perspective. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27(8), 785795. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410902929366

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lundqvist, C. (2011). Well-being in competitive sports—The feel-good factor? A review of conceptual considerations of well-being. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4(2), 109127. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750984X.2011.584067

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Madigan, D.J., Gustafsson, H., Smith, A., Raedeke, T., & Hill, A.P. (2019). The BASES expert statement on burnout in sport. The Sport and Exercise Scientist, 61, 67.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Madigan, D.J., Olsson, L.F., Hill, A.P., & Curran, T. (2022). Athlete burnout symptoms are increasing: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of average levels from 1997 to 2019. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 44(3), 153168. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2020-0291

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Matosic, D., Ntoumanis, N., & Quested, E. (2016). Antecedents of need supportive and controlling interpersonal styles from a self-determination theory perspective: A review and implications for sport psychology research. In M. Raab, P. Wylleman, R. Seiler, A.M. Elbe, & A. Hatzigeorgiadis (Eds.), Sport and exercise psychology research (pp. 145180). Academic Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McNeish, D., & Wolf, M.G. (2020). Thinking twice about sum scores. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 22872305. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-020-01398-0

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morales-Sánchez, V., Crespillo-Jurado, M., Jiménez-López, D., Morillo-Baro, J.P., Hernández-Mendo, A., & Reigal, R.E. (2020). Relationships between controlling interpersonal coaching style, basic psychological need thwarting, and burnout, in adolescent soccer players. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(13), Article 4909. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134909

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ntoumanis, N., Ng, J.Y., Prestwich, A., Quested, E., Hancox, J.E., Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., & Williams, G.C. (2021). A meta-analysis of self-determination theory-informed intervention studies in the health domain: Effects on motivation, health behavior, physical, and psychological health. Health Psychology Review, 15(2), 214244. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2020.1718529

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ntoumanis, N., Quested, E., Reeve, J., & Cheon, S.H. (2018). Need supportive communication: Implications for motivation in sport, exercise, and physical activity. In Persuasion and communication in sport, exercise, and physical activity (pp. 155169). Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pelletier, L.G., Rocchi, M.A., Vallerand, R.J., Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2013). Validation of the revised sport motivation scale (SMS-II). Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(3), 329341. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.12.002

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pope, J.P., & Wilson, P.M. (2012). Understanding motivational processes in university rugby players: A preliminary test of the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation at the contextual level. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 7(1) 89107. https://doi.org/10.1260/1747-9541.7.1.89

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Quested, E., Ntoumanis, N., Viladrich, C., Haug, E., Ommundsen, Y., Van Hoye, A., & Duda, J.L. (2013). Intentions to drop-out of youth soccer: A test of the basic needs theory among European youth from five countries. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11(4), 395407. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2013.830431

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Raedeke, T.D. (2007). Advances in athlete burnout research. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 38, 337341.

  • Raedeke, T.D., & Smith, A.L. (2001). Development and preliminary validation of an athlete burnout measure. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 23(4), 281306. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.23.4.281

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reardon, C.L., Hainline, B., Aron, C.M., Baron, D., Baum, A.L., Bindra, A., ... Engebretsen, L. (2019). Mental health in elite athletes: International Olympic Committee consensus statement (2019). British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(11), 667699. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2019-100715

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rejeski, W.J., & Brawley, L.R. (1988). Defining the boundaries of sport psychology. The Sport Psychologist, 2(3), 231242. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.2.3.231

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rocchi, M., & Pelletier, L. (2018). How does coaches’ reported interpersonal behavior align with athletes’ perceptions? Consequences for female athletes’ psychological needs in sport. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 7(2), 141154. https://doi.org/10.1037/spy0000116

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rocchi, M., Pelletier, L., & Desmarais, P. (2017). The validity of the Interpersonal Behaviors Questionnaire (IBQ) in sport. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 21(1), 1525. https://doi.org/10.1080/1091367X.2016.1242488

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rodrigues, F., Macedo, R., Teixeira, D.S., Cid, L., Travassos, B., Neiva, H., & Monteiro, D. (2021). The co-occurrence of satisfaction and frustration of basic psychological needs and its relationship with exercisers’ motivation. The Journal of Psychology, 155(2), 165185 https://doi.org/10.1080/00223980.2020.1862738

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 319338. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327965PLI1104_01

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2008). Self-determination theory and the role of basic psychological needs in personality and the organization of behavior. In O.P. John, R.W. Robins, & L.A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (Vol. 3, pp. 654678). Guilford Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. Guilford Publications.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ryan, R.M., & Frederick, C. (1997). On energy, personality, and health: Subjective vitality as a dynamic reflection of well-being. Journal of Personality, 65(3), 529565. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1997.tb00326.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shannon, S., Breslin, G., Haughey, T., Sarju, N., Neill, D., Lawlor, M., & Leavey, G. (2019). Predicting student-athlete and non-athletes’ intentions to self-manage mental health: Testing an integrated behaviour change model. Mental Health & Prevention, 13, 9299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhp.2019.01.006

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shannon, S., Prentice, G., & Breslin, G. (2021). Athletes’ psychological needs and coaches’ interpersonal behaviors: A within-person latent profile analysis. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 43(1), 7182. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2019-0295

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shannon, S., Prentice, G., Brick, N., Leavey, G., & Breslin, G. (2022). Longitudinal associations between athletes’ psychological needs and burnout across a competitive season: A latent difference score analysis. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 44(2), 240250. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2021-0250

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sheehan, R.B., Herring, M.P., & Campbell, M.J. (2018a). Associations between motivation and mental health in sport: A test of the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, Article 707. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00707

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sheehan, R.B., Herring, M.P., & Campbell, M.J. (2018b). Longitudinal relations of mental health and motivation among elite student-athletes across a condensed season: Plausible influence of academic and athletic schedule. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 37, 146152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.03.005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sheldon, K.M., Osin, E.N., Gordeeva, T.O., Suchkov, D.D., & Sychev, O.A. (2017). Evaluating the dimensionality of self-determination theory’s relative autonomy continuum. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(9), 12151238. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167217711915

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stenling, A., Lindwall, M., & Hassmén, P. (2015). Changes in perceived autonomy support, need satisfaction, motivation, and well-being in young elite athletes. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 4(1), 5061. https://doi.org/10.1037/spy0000027

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vallerand, R.J. (2007). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in sport and physical activity: A review and look at the future. In G. Tenenbaum & R.C. Eklund (Eds.), Handbook of sport psychology (pp. 5983). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vansteenkiste, M., & Ryan, R.M. (2013). On psychological growth and vulnerability: Basic psychological need satisfaction and need frustration as a unifying principle. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 23(3), Article 263. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032359

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Warburton, V.E., Wang, J.C., Bartholomew, K.J., Tuff, R.L., & Bishop, K.C. (2020). Need satisfaction and need frustration as distinct and potentially co-occurring constructs: Need profiles examined in physical education and sport. Motivation and Emotion, 44(1), 5466. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-019-09798-2

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 730 730 225
Full Text Views 2278 2278 267
PDF Downloads 66 66 16