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Sarah E. Williams, Jennifer Cumming, Nikos Ntoumanis, Sanna M. Nordin-Bates, Richard Ramsey, and Craig Hall

This research validated and extended the Movement Imagery Questionnaire-Revised (MIQ-R; Hall & Martin, 1997). Study 1 (N = 400) examined the MIQ-R’s factor structure via multitrait-multimethod confirmatory factor analysis. The questionnaire was then modified in Study 2 (N = 370) to separately assess the ease of imaging external visual imagery and internal visual imagery, as well as kinesthetic imagery (termed the Movement Imagery Questionnaire-3; MIQ-3). Both Studies 1 and 2 found that a correlated-traits correlated-uniqueness model provided the best fit to the data, while displaying gender invariance and no significant differences in latent mean scores across gender. Study 3 (N = 97) demonstrated the MIQ-3’s predictive validity revealing the relationships between imagery ability and observational learning use. Findings highlight the method effects that occur by assessing each type of imagery ability using the same four movements and demonstrate that better imagers report greater use of observational learning.

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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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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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John W. Mahoney, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Cliff J. Mallet

We argue that basic psychological needs theory (BPNT) offers impetus to the value of mental toughness as a mechanism for optimizing human functioning. We hypothesized that psychological needs satisfaction (thwarting) would be associated with higher (lower) levels of mental toughness, positive affect, and performance and lower (higher) levels of negative affect. We also expected that mental toughness would be associated with higher levels of positive affect and performance and lower levels of negative affect. Further, we predicted that coaching environments would be related to mental toughness indirectly through psychological needs and that psychological needs would indirectly relate with performance and affect through mental toughness. Adolescent cross-country runners (136 male and 85 female, M age = 14.36) completed questionnaires pertaining to BPNT variables, mental toughness, and affect. Race times were also collected. Our findings supported our hypotheses. We concluded that BPNT is generative in understanding some of the antecedents and consequences of mental toughness and is a novel framework useful for understanding mental toughness.

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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.

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John W. Mahoney, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Clifford J. Mallett, and Nikos Ntoumanis

In light of the extant literature, the aim of the current study was to compare adolescents’ perspectives on mental toughness and its development across performance contexts, and to explore if such perspectives align with Bronfenbrenner’s (2001) bioecological model. Eighteen mentally tough adolescents (9 boys, 9 girls, Mage = 15.6 years) from three performance contexts (i.e., sport, academia, and music) participated in focus groups, 7 of whom also participated in follow-up one-to-one interviews. Inductive analyses revealed that mental toughness was conceptualized by 9 personal characteristics, and that while similar across performance contexts, some difference between previous mental toughness conceptualization and the current study existed. Analyses also revealed that mental toughness development was predicated on significant others, supportive social processes, critical incidents, and curiosity. These findings resonated with the properties of the bioecological model. Future research into how bioecological factors combine to facilitate mental toughness development during critical stages of life was suggested.