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Developing upon cross-sectional research (Smith, Ntoumanis, & Duda, 2007) supporting the self-concordance model (Sheldon & Elliot, 1999) as a framework for contextual goal striving, the current study investigated the assumptions of the model in relation to season-long goal striving in sport. The study additionally examined the role of coping strategies in the persistence of goal-directed effort. Structural equation modeling analysis with a sample of 97 British athletes indicated that start-of-season autonomous goal motives were linked to midseason effort, which subsequently predicted end-of-season goal attainment. Attainment was positively related to changes in psychological need satisfaction, which, in turn, predicted changes in emotional well-being. In a second model, autonomous and controlled motives positively predicted task- and disengagement-oriented coping strategies, respectively. In turn, these strategies were differentially associated with effort. The findings provide support for contextual adaptations of the self-concordance model and demonstrate the role of coping strategies in the goal striving process.
Alison L. Smith is with Education/Sport Development & Recreation, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom. Nikos Ntoumanis is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Joan L. Duda is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Maarten Vansteenkiste is with the Psychology Department, University of Gent, Gent, Belgium.