Linking Narcissism, Motivation, and Doping Attitudes in Sport: A Multilevel Investigation Involving Coaches and Athletes

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Birmingham
  • 2 Curtin University
  • 3 Umeå University
  • 4 University of Southampton
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Research on coaching (Bartholomew, Ntoumanis, & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, 2009) has shown that coaches can display controlling behaviors that have detrimental effects on athletes’ basic psychological needs and quality of sport experiences. The current study extends this literature by considering coach narcissism as a potential antecedent of coaches’ controlling behaviors. Further, the study tests a model linking coaches’ (n = 59) own reports of narcissistic tendencies with athletes’ (n = 493) perceptions of coach controlling behaviors, experiences of need frustration, and attitudes toward doping. Multilevel path analysis revealed that coach narcissism was directly and positively associated with athletes’ perceptions of controlling behaviors and was indirectly and positively associated with athletes’ reports of needs frustration. In addition, athletes’ perceptions of coach behaviors were positively associated—directly and indirectly—with attitudes toward doping. The findings advance understanding of controlling coach behaviors, their potential antecedents, and their associations with athletes’ attitudes toward doping.

Doris Matosic and Ian David Boardley are with the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. Nikos Ntoumanis is with the School of Psychology & Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Andreas Stenling is with the Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. Constantine Sedikides is with the Psychology Department, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.

Address author correspondence to Doris Matosic at