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Maarten Vansteenkiste, Joke Simons, Bart Soenens and Willy Lens

The goal of the present study was to examine partially conflicting hypotheses derived from two motivational theories, namely self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000) and future time perspective theory (FTPT; Lens, 2001; Nuttin & Lens, 1985). In line with SDT, it was found that framing an exercise activity in terms of future intrinsic goal attainment (focusing on health and physical fitness) has a positive effect on effort expenditure, autonomous exercise motivation, performance, long-term persistence, and even sport club membership. On the other hand, framing an exercise activity in terms of future extrinsic goal attainment (focusing on physical appearance and attractiveness) undermined those outcomes compared to a no-future-goal control group. Correlational analyses indicate that future extrinsic goal framing led to non-autonomous persistence while future intrinsic goal framing resulted in autonomously driven perseverance at the free-choice activity. In contrast to FTPT, the no-future-goal control group did not differ from a future content-free goal group, in which the general future importance of the present task was stressed. Finally, presenting those goals in an autonomy-supportive rather than a controlling way resulted in the same motivational and behavioral benefits as future intrinsic goal framing. It is discussed how future time perspective theory and self-determination theory can be reconciled and integrated.

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Gert-Jan De Muynck, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Jochen Delrue, Nathalie Aelterman, Leen Haerens and Bart Soenens

Grounded in self-determination theory, this experimental study examined whether the valence (i.e., positive vs. negative) and style (i.e., autonomy-supportive vs. controlling) of normative feedback impact the self-talk, motivational experiences (i.e., psychological need satisfaction and enjoyment), and behavioral functioning (i.e., perseverance and performance) of tennis players (N = 120; M age = 24.50 ± 9.86 years). Positive feedback and an autonomy-supportive style positively influenced players’ enjoyment and perseverance, with psychological need satisfaction and self-talk playing an intervening role. While positive feedback yielded its beneficial effect via greater competence satisfaction and decreased negative self-talk, the beneficial impact of an autonomy-supportive communication style was explained via greater autonomy satisfaction.

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Leen Haerens, Nathalie Aelterman, Lynn Van den Berghe, Jotie De Meyer, Bart Soenens and Maarten Vansteenkiste

According to self-determination theory, teachers can motivate students by supporting their psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. The present study complements extant research (most of which relied on self-report measures) by relying on observations of need-supportive teaching in the domain of physical education (PE), which allows for the identification of concrete, real-life examples of how teacher need support manifests in the classroom. Seventy-four different PE lessons were coded for 5-min intervals to assess the occurrence of 21 need-supportive teaching behaviors. Factor analyses provided evidence for four interpretable factors, namely, relatedness support, autonomy support, and two components of structure (structure before and during the activity). Reasonable evidence was obtained for convergence between observed and student perceived need support. Yet, the low interrater reliability for two of the four scales indicates that these scales need further improvement.