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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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Timothy C. Howle, James A. Dimmock, Nikos Ntoumanis, Nikos L.D. Chatzisarantis, Cassandra Sparks, and Ben Jackson

We tested the effects of advertisements about a fictitious exercise class—derived using the theoretical constructs of agency and communion—on recipients’ perceptions about, and interest in, the class. The final sample consisted of 150 adults (M age = 44.69, SD = 15.83). Results revealed that participants who received a communal-oriented message reported significantly greater exercise task self-efficacy and more positive affective attitudes relative to those who received an agentic-oriented message. Communal (relative to agentic) messages were also indirectly responsible for greater intentions to attend the class, via more positive self-efficacy beliefs and affective attitudes. These findings were obtained despite the use of another manipulation to orient participants to either agency or communion goals. The results indicate that the primacy of communion over agency for message recipients may extend to exercise settings and may occur irrespective of whether participants are situationally oriented toward agency or communion.

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Marlene Kritz, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Barbara Mullan, Afroditi Stathi, and Nikos Ntoumanis

The authors examined whether purposeful walking with peers at least once a week contributes to better behavioral and health outcomes in older adults than primarily walking alone. The authors used a longitudinal cohort design and recruited participants aged 60 years and older (N = 136) at the start of a 16-week walking intervention. Participants who walked on average at least once a week in the final 8 weeks of the intervention were included in the analysis (N = 79; 66 females, M age [SD] = 77.73 [6.91]). The authors found that autonomous motivation, walking self-efficacy, functional capacity, body fat, and physical activity improved more in the walking with peers group compared with the walking alone group, after controlling for whether participants lived alone/with others and their health status. The results extend current literature by providing longitudinal evidence for the added benefits of regular peer-accompanied walking in older adults and highlight the importance of investing in peer-supported interventions.

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Nikos L. D. Chatzisarantis, Vassilis Barkoukis, Panagiotis Petridis, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Nikos Ntoumanis, Sandra Gountas, John Gountas, Dimitrios Adam, and Martin S. Hagger

Previous research documented that “extremely high prioritization” strategies that involved allocation of all resources for time or energy on pursuing goals related to leisure-time physical activity and none of available resources on competing behavioral goals were optimal in terms of yielding highest levels of participation in physical activities. This study examined whether a “marginally higher prioritization” strategy that involved an intention to invest large but slightly more resources on physical activity than competing behaviors was optimal. In addition, we examined whether linear and quadratic models supported different conclusions about optimal prioritizations strategies. Response surface analyses of a quadratic model revealed that marginally higher prioritization was the most effective strategy. In addition, a linear regression model led us to incorrectly reject a “simultaneous goal pursuit” strategy in favor of an extremely high prioritization strategy. Findings suggest that prioritization strategies that “garner” low opportunity costs are the most optimal.

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Nikos Ntoumanis, Vassilis Barkoukis, Daniel F. Gucciardi, and Derwin King Chung Chan

We brought together various lines of work on motivation, morality, and doping by testing a theory-based model prospectively linking contextual and personal motivational variables, moral attitudes, moral disengagement in doping, doping intentions, and doping use. Participants were 257 Greek athletes who completed a questionnaire pack at the beginning of a sport season. In the case of doping use, we also obtained data close to the end of the same season. The model showed that perceptions of controlling coach behaviors predicted athlete need frustration, which in turn predicted low moral functioning and doping intentions/doping use. The findings highlight pathways (direct and indirect) by which the social environment may impact on athletes’ intentions and decisions to engage in doping and could pave the way for future antidoping interventions aimed at improving coaching interpersonal style.

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Laura C. Healy, Nikos Ntoumanis, Jet J.C.S. Veldhuijzen van Zanten, and Nicola Paine

This investigation sought to clarify mixed results in the literature exploring coach behaviors, basic psychological needs, goal motivation, and well- and ill-being. Regional-level team sport athletes (N = 241) completed questionnaires on the aforementioned variables at the beginning of the season. A subsample (n = 70) provided saliva samples to assess physical ill-being. At the end of the season, athletes (n = 98) reported their goal motivation and attainment. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that coach behaviors were related to needs satisfaction and thwarting, which were related to autonomous and controlled goal motives respectively. Autonomous motives were related to well- and ill-being; controlled motives were only related to ill-being. Over time, only end-of-season autonomous goal motives were related to goal attainment. The findings provide an insight into how coaches can facilitate optimum goal striving and well-being in their athletes.

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Thomas Curran, Andrew P. Hill, Nikos Ntoumanis, Howard K. Hall, and Gareth E. Jowett

Research adopting self-determination theory (SDT) supports a mediation model whereby coach motivational styles (autonomy support and interpersonal control) predict athletes’ engagement and disaffection in youth sport via the satisfaction and frustration of psychological needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness). Our study extends this research by examining SDT’s mediation model longitudinally with three waves of data. Two hundred fifty-two youth sports participants (M age = 12.98; SD = 1.84; range = 11–17; female n = 67) completed measures of study variables at the start, middle, and end of a competitive soccer season. Cross-lagged path analyses revealed that associations between the two coach motivational styles and athletes’ engagement were mediated by psychological need satisfaction. Furthermore, a positive reciprocal association between psychological need satisfaction and engagement emerged over time. This study therefore supports the temporal assumptions underpinning SDT’s mediation model but, importantly, evidences a mutually reinforcing interplay between athletes’ psychological needs and their engaged behavior.

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Eleanor Quested, Jos A. Bosch, Victoria E. Burns, Jennifer Cumming, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Joan L. Duda

Self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) posits basic psychological need satisfaction (BPNS) as essential for optimal functioning and health. Grounded in this framework, the current study examined the role of BPNS in dancers’ cognitive appraisals and hormonal and emotional responses to performance stress. Dancers reported their degree of BPNS 1 month before a solo performance. Threat and challenge appraisals of the solo were recorded 2 hr before the performance. Salivary cortisol and anxiety were measured 15 min before, and 15, 30, 45, and 60 min postperformance. Higher BPNS was associated with lower cortisol responses and anxiety intensity. Challenge appraisals mediated the association between BPNS and cortisol. Threat appraisals mediated the BPNS–anxiety intensity relationship. These findings point to the potential importance of performers’ BPNS for optimal emotional and hormonal homeostasis in performance conditions.

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Calum Alexander Arthur, Tim Woodman, Chin Wei Ong, Lew Hardy, and Nikos Ntoumanis

Leadership research that examines follower characteristics as a potential moderator of leadership effectiveness is lacking. Within Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership framework, we examined follower narcissism as a moderator of the coach behavior–coach effectiveness relationship. Youth athletes (male = 103, female = 106) from the Singapore Sports Academy (mean age = 14.28, SD = 1.40 years) completed the Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory (Callow, Smith, Hardy, Arthur, & Hardy, 2009), the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988), and indices of follower effort. Multilevel analyses revealed that athlete narcissism moderated the relationship between fostering acceptance of group goals and athlete effort and between high performance expectations and athlete effort. All the other transformational leader behaviors demonstrated main effects on follower effort, except for inspirational motivation.

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Doris Matosic, Nikos Ntoumanis, Ian David Boardley, Andreas Stenling, and Constantine Sedikides

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.