This study examined whether participation in contact sports influences moral functioning within the sport context, and whether these effects are mediated by ego orientation; the role of task orientation on moral functioning was also examined. Participants (N = 221) were college athletes participating in basketball, soccer, field hockey, and rugby. They completed questionnaires assessing sport participation, goal orientations, moral functioning, and social desirability. Structural equation modeling analysis indicated that participation in contact sports positively predicted ego orientation, which in turn predicted low levels of moral functioning. The direct effects of sport participation on moral functioning became nonsignificant in the presence of ego orientation, indicating that the latter construct mediates the relationship between the first two variables. Task orientation corresponded to high levels of moral functioning. These findings help us further understand the processes operating in contact sports and are discussed in terms of their implications for eliminating unsportspersonlike conduct from the sport context.
Maria Kavussanu and Nikos Ntoumanis
Nikos Ntoumanis and Spiridoula Vazou
The influence of the peer group on young people’s achievement motivation has been highlighted in the literature as an area that needs examination (e.g., Harwood & Swain, 2001). To this effect, a new measure of youngsters’ perceptions of the peer motivational climate (Peer Motivational Climate in Youth Sport Questionnaire; PeerMCYSQ) was developed and tested across three studies. In Study 1, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) with 431 athletes between the ages of 11 to 16 years suggested that the PeerMCYSQ had 6 factors that could also be subsumed into 2 higher order factors (Task-Involving climate: improvement, relatedness support, effort; Ego-Involving climate: intra-team competition, normative ability, intra-team conflict). In Studies 2 and 3 the 6-factor solution and the corresponding hierarchical one were tested using CFA with two independent samples (N = 606 and 495, respectively) of similar age. The results showed that the 6-factor model was problematic and that a 5-factor solution should be preferred instead. Further support to the 5-factor model was provided with hierarchical and multilevel CFAs. Suggestions for further research on peer motivational climate are discussed.
Johan Y.Y. Ng, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, and Nikos Ntoumanis
We examined motivation contagion in a hypothetical exercise setting. Exercise science students (n = 164) were provided with quotes of hypothetical male and female obese exercisers displaying different quality of motivation to start an exercise program. We used a 3 (exerciser motivation) × 2 (exerciser gender) × 2 (student gender) between-subjects experimental design to examine students’ (a) motivation to instruct, (b) interpersonal style, (c) perception of barrier efficacy of the exerciser, and (d) effort to identify factors that could maximize the effectiveness of an exercise program for the exerciser. Results showed that students displayed less controlled motivation and rated the exerciser as more capable of overcoming barriers to exercise when they perceived the exerciser to be autonomously motivated. However, students, particularly females, reported more autonomy support and invested more effort toward female exercisers with controlled motivation. Our findings indicate that motivation contagion effects are plausible in exercise settings and may affect interactions between fitness instructors and obese clients.
Kimberley J. Bartholomew, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani
This article outlines the development and initial validation of the Controlling Coach Behaviors Scale (CCBS), a multidimensional self-report measure designed to assess sports coaches’ controlling interpersonal style from the perspective of self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002). Study 1 generated a pool of items, based on past literature and feedback from coaches, athletes, and academic experts. The factorial structure of the questionnaire was tested using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses across Studies 2 and 3. The final CCBS model in Study 3 comprised 4 factors (controlling use of rewards, conditional regard, intimidation, and excessive personal control) and was cross-validated using a third independent sample in Study 4. The scale demonstrated good content and factorial validity, as well as internal consistency and invariance across gender and sport type. Suggestions for its use in research pertaining to the darker side of coaching and sport participation are discussed.
Alison Smith, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Joan Duda
Grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) and the self-concordance model (Sheldon & Elliot, 1999), this study examined the motivational processes underlying goal striving in sport as well as the role of perceived coach autonomy support in the goal process. Structural equation modeling with a sample of 210 British athletes showed that autonomous goal motives positively predicted effort, which, in turn, predicted goal attainment. Goal attainment was positively linked to need satisfaction, which, in turn, predicted psychological well-being. Effort and need satisfaction were found to mediate the associations between autonomous motives and goal attainment and between attainment and well-being, respectively. Controlled motives negatively predicted well-being, and coach autonomy support positively predicted both autonomous motives and need satisfaction. Associations of autonomous motives with effort were not reducible to goal difficulty, goal specificity, or goal efficacy. These findings support the self-concordance model as a framework for further research on goal setting in sport.
Ian M. Taylor, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Martyn Standage
Physical education teachers can influence students’ self-determination through the motivational strategies that they use. The current study examined how teachers’ reported use of three motivational strategies (providing a meaningful rationale, providing instrumental help and support, and gaining an understanding of the students) were predicted by perceived job pressure, perceptions of student self-determination, the teachers’ autonomous orientation, psychological need satisfaction, and self-determination to teach. Structural equation modeling supported a model in which perceived job pressure, perceptions of student self-determination, and teacher autonomous orientation predicted teacher psychological need satisfaction, which, in turn positively influenced teacher self-determination. The last positively predicted the use of all three strategies. Direct positive effects of teachers’ psychological need satisfaction on the strategies of gaining an understanding of students and instrumental help and support were also found. In summary, factors that influence teacher motivation may also indirectly affect their motivational strategies toward students.
James W. Adie, Joan L. Duda, and Nikos Ntoumanis
Grounded in the 2 × 2 achievement goal framework (Elliot & McGregor, 2001), the purpose of this study was to investigate the temporal relationships between achievement goals, competition appraisals and indices of psychological and emotional welfare among elite adolescent soccer players. A subsidiary aim was to ascertain the mediational role of competition appraisals in explaining the potential achievement goal and well-/ill-being relationships. Ninety-one boys (mean age = 13.82 years) involved in an elite soccer program completed multisection questionnaires capturing the targeted variables. Measures were obtained on five occasions across two competitive seasons. Multilevel regression analyses revealed that MAp goals positively, and MAv goals negatively, predicted within-person changes in well-being over two seasons. PAp goal adoption was positively associated to within-person changes in negative affect. PAv goals corresponded negatively to between-person mean differences in positive affect. The results of the indirect effects showed challenge appraisals accounted for within-person associations between a MAp goal focus and well- and ill-being over time. The present findings provide only partial support for the utility of the 2 × 2 achievement goal framework in predicting young athletes’ psychological and emotional functioning in an elite youth sport setting.
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.
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.
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.