Within the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) framework, research has considered the consequences of coaches’ autonomy supportive and controlling behaviors on various athlete outcomes (e.g., motivation and performance). The antecedents of such behaviors, however, have received little attention. Coaches (N = 443) from a variety of sports and competitive levels completed a self-report questionnaire to assess their psychological need satisfaction, well-being and perceived interpersonal behaviors toward their athletes. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that coaches’ competence and autonomy need satisfaction positively predicted their levels of psychological well-being, as indexed by positive affect and subjective vitality. In turn, coaches’ psychological well-being positively predicted their perceived autonomy support toward their athletes, and negatively predicted their perceived controlling behaviors. Overall, the results highlight the importance of coaching contexts that facilitate coaches’ psychological need satisfaction and well-being, thereby increasing the likelihood of adaptive coach interpersonal behavior toward athletes.
The authors are with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.