Peer Relationship Profiles and Motivation in Youth Sport

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Alan L. SmithPurdue University

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Sarah Ullrich-FrenchPurdue University

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Eddie Walker IIPurdue University

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Kimberly S. HurleySouthern Illinois University, Edwardsville

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The purpose of this study was to (a) describe peer relationship profiles of youth sport participants and (b) assess the motivational salience of these profiles by examining profile group differences on sport motivation-related variables. Youth sport camp participants (N = 243) ages 10 to 14 years (M = 11.8, SD = 1.2) completed a multisection questionnaire that contained sport-contextualized measures of perceived friendship quality (positive, conflict), perceived peer acceptance, perceived competence, enjoyment, anxiety, self-presentational concerns, and self-determined motivation. The positive friendship quality, friendship conflict, and peer acceptance responses were cluster-analyzed, yielding five peer relationship profiles that were consistent with expectations based on previous research (i.e., Seidman et al., 1999). Profile differences were obtained for all motivation-related variables and were in theoretically consistent directions. Those young athletes categorized in more adaptive peer relationship profiles had more adaptive motivation-related responses. The findings support theoretical perspectives on social relationships and motivation as well as the efficacy of a person-centered approach to the examination of peer relationships in sport.

Department of Health & Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2046

Department of Kinesiology & Health Education, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1126.

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