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Ian M. Taylor, Nikos Ntoumanis, Martyn Standage, and Christopher M. Spray

Grounded in self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000), the current study explored whether physical education (PE) students’ psychological needs and their motivational regulations toward PE predicted mean differences and changes in effort in PE, exercise intentions, and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) over the course of one UK school trimester. One hundred and seventy-eight students (69% male) aged between 11 and 16 years completed a multisection questionnaire at the beginning, middle, and end of a school trimester. Multilevel growth models revealed that students’ perceived competence and self-determined regulations were the most consistent predictors of the outcome variables at the within- and between-person levels. The results of this work add to the extant SDT-based literature by examining change in PE students’ motivational regulations and psychological needs, as well as underscoring the importance of disaggregating within- and between-student effects.

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Martin J. Lee, Jean Whitehead, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis

This research examines the value-expressive function of attitudes and achievement goal theory in predicting moral attitudes. In Study 1, the Youth Sport Values Questionnaire (YSVQ; Lee, Whitehead, & Balchin, 2000) was modified to measure moral, competence, and status values. In Study 2, structural equation modeling on data from 549 competitors (317 males, 232 females) aged 12–15 years showed that moral and competence values predicted prosocial attitudes, whereas moral (negatively) and status values (positively) predicted antisocial attitudes. Competence and status values predicted task and ego orientation, respectively, and task and ego orientation partially mediated the effect of competence values on prosocial attitudes and of status values on antisocial attitudes, respectively. The role of sport values is discussed, and new research directions are proposed.

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Martyn Standage, Fiona B. Gillison, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Darren C. Treasure

A three-wave prospective design was used to assess a model of motivation guided by self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2008) spanning the contexts of school physical education (PE) and exercise. The outcome variables examined were health-related quality of life (HRQoL), physical self-concept (PSC), and 4 days of objectively assessed estimates of activity. Secondary school students (n = 494) completed questionnaires at three separate time points and were familiarized with how to use a sealed pedometer. Results of structural equation modeling supported a model in which perceptions of autonomy support from a PE teacher positively predicted PE-related need satisfaction (autonomy, competence, and relatedness). Competence predicted PSC, whereas relatedness predicted HRQoL. Autonomy and competence positively predicted autonomous motivation toward PE, which in turn positively predicted autonomous motivation toward exercise (i.e., 4-day pedometer step count). Autonomous motivation toward exercise positively predicted step count, HRQoL, and PSC. Results of multisample structural equation modeling supported gender invariance. Suggestions for future work are discussed.

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Juliette Stebbings, Ian M. Taylor, Christopher M. Spray, and Nikos Ntoumanis

Embedded in the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) framework, we obtained self-report data from 418 paid and voluntary coaches from a variety of sports and competitive levels with the aim of exploring potential antecedents of coaches’ perceived autonomy supportive and controlling behaviors. Controlling for socially desirable responses, structural equation modeling revealed that greater job security and opportunities for professional development, and lower work–life conflict were associated with psychological need satisfaction, which, in turn, was related to an adaptive process of psychological well-being and perceived autonomy support toward athletes. In contrast, higher work–life conflict and fewer opportunities for development were associated with a distinct maladaptive process of thwarted psychological needs, psychological ill-being, and perceived controlling interpersonal behavior. The results highlight how the coaching context may impact upon coaches’ psychological health and their interpersonal behavior toward athletes. Moreover, evidence is provided for the independence of adaptive and maladaptive processes within the self-determination theory paradigm.

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Nikos Ntoumanis, Anne-Marte Pensgaard, Chris Martin, and Katie Pipe

The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth account of amotivation in compulsory school physical education by examining its major causes, the way it is displayed, and how it can be tackled. From an initial participant pool of 390 British schoolchildren ages 14 to 15 years, 21 of them (15 girls and 6 boys) were selected to participate in semi-structured interviews. They were categorized as being amotivated based on their responses to a questionnaire measuring motivation in physical education. Three main perceived causes of amotivation were identified in the interviews: learned helplessness beliefs, low need satisfaction, and contextual factors. Amotivation was mainly displayed by nonattendance, low involvement in the class, and low intention to be physically active after leaving school. Students’ suggestions for reducing amotivation focused on the enhancement of positive affect, need satisfaction, and structural/organizational changes. The findings are discussed in conjunction with contemporary motivation theories and models of amotivation.

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Laura C. Healy, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Calum A. Arthur

Using a person-centered approach, the aim of this study was to examine how student-athletes’ motives for multiple-goal pursuit relate to indices of well- and ill-being. Student-athletes (N = 362) from British universities identified the most important sporting and academic goals that they were pursuing over the academic year. The participants rated their extrinsic, introjected, identified, and intrinsic goal motives for each goal and completed measures of well- and ill-being. Latent profile analysis revealed six distinct profiles of goal motives, with variations in both the strength of motives and the motivational quality. Follow-up analyses revealed between-profile differences for well- and ill-being; students with more optimal goal motive profiles reported higher and lower well- and ill-being, respectively, than those with less optimal goal motives. To experience well-being benefits when pursuing multiple goals, student-athletes should strive for their academic and sporting goals with high autonomous and low controlled goal motives.

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Eleanor Quested, Nikos Ntoumanis, Andreas Stenling, Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani, and Jennie E. Hancox

Purpose: This article outlines the development and validation of the Need-Relevant Instructor Behaviors Scale (NIBS). Drawing from self-determination theory, the NIBS is the first observation tool designed to code the frequency and the intensity of autonomy-, competence-, and relatedness-relevant behaviors of exercise instructors. The scale also captures the frequency of need-indifferent behaviors. Methods: The behaviors of 27 exercise instructors were coded by trained raters on two occasions, before and after they received training in adaptive motivational communication. Results: Findings supported the structural validity and reliability of the scale. The scale’s sensitivity to detect changes in frequency and intensity of need-relevant behaviors was also evidenced. Conclusions: The NIBS is a new tool that offers a unique, tripartite assessment of need-relevant behaviors of leaders in the physical activity domain.

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Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Nikos Ntoumanis, Jennifer Cumming, Kimberley J. Bartholomew, and Gemma Pearce

Using objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997), this study tested the interaction between self-objectification, appearance evaluation, and self-esteem in predicting body satisfaction and mood states. Participants (N = 93) were physically active female university students. State self-objectification was manipulated by participants wearing tight revealing exercise attire (experimental condition) or baggy exercise clothes (control condition). Significant interactions emerged predicting depression, anger, fatness, and satisfaction with body shape and size. For participants in the self-objectification condition who had low (as opposed to high) appearance evaluation, low self-esteem was associated with high depression, anger, and fatness and low satisfaction with body shape and size. In contrast, for participants with high self-esteem, these mood and body satisfaction states were more favorable irrespective of their levels of appearance evaluation. For female exercisers, self-esteem-enhancing strategies may protect against some of the negative outcomes of self-objectification.

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Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Anthony Papathomas, Jonathan Foster, Eleanor Quested, and Nikos Ntoumanis

We explored perceptions of social dance as a possible intervention to improve cognitive function in older adults with subjective memory complaints. A total of 30 participants (19 females; mean age = 72.6 years; SD = 8.2) took part in the study. This included 21 participants who had self-reported subjective memory complaints and nine spouses who noticed spousal memory loss. Semistructured interviews were conducted, and a thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Three main themes were constructed: (a) dance seen as a means of promoting social interaction; (b) chronic illness as a barrier and facilitator to participation; and (c) social dance representing nostalgic connections to the past. Overall, the participants were positive about the potential attractiveness of social dance to improve cognitive and social functioning and other aspects of health. In future research, it is important to examine the feasibility of a social dance intervention among older adults with subjective memory complaints.

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Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Nikos Ntoumanis, Hannah Uren, Afroditi Stathi, Catrina Wold, and Keith D. Hill

The aim of the current study was to explore perceptions of group-based walking and gather suggestions to inform the development of a group-based walking intervention among older adults in retirement villages. Twenty-four physically inactive residents (16 female, 8 male; age range: 69–88) and four managers from four retirement villages were interviewed. Inductive thematic analysis revealed six broad themes: lack of motivation, values versus constraints, fears and confidence, need for structure, creating a sense of belonging, and the physical environment as a double-edged sword. Proposed intervention strategies included using trained walk leaders, using small groups, planning for flexibility, setting attainable goals, creating a routine, creating opportunities for sharing experiences, and planning a variety of walks. Group-based walking programs may be used to promote physical activity but careful planning of such programs is needed to make them appealing and feasible to a diverse group of residents.