The purpose of this study was to examine the temporal pattern of pupils’ approach-avoidance achievement goal adoption in physical education across Key Stage 3 of secondary school. Moreover, we determined the predictive utility of implicit theories of ability and perceived competence in explaining change in achievement goals, along with the moderating influence of pupils’ year group. On four occasions, over a 9-month period, 511 pupils in Years 7, 8, and 9 completed measures of perceived competence, incremental and entity beliefs, and approach-avoidance goals. Mastery-approach, mastery-avoidance, and performance-avoidance goals exhibited a linear decline over time, whereas performance-approach goals showed no significant change. Theoretical propositions regarding the antecedents of approach-avoidance goal adoption were supported. Year group was found to moderate a number of these antecedent-goal relationships. Results suggest that Year 7 is a critical time for adolescents’ motivation in school physical education.
Victoria E. Warburton and Christopher M. Spray
Maria Kavussanu and Christopher M. Spray
This study examined the network of relationships among moral atmosphere, perceived performance motivational climate, and moral functioning of male youth football players. Participants were 325 footballers recruited from 24 teams of a youth football league. They responded to scenarios describing cheating and aggressive behaviors likely to occur during a football game by indicating their moral judgment, intention, and behavior, which represented moral functioning. The moral atmosphere of the team and participants’ perceptions of the team’s performance motivational climate were also measured. Structural equation modeling indicated that perceptions of an atmosphere condoning cheating and aggressive behaviors were associated with views that a performance motivational climate is salient in the team, while both moral atmosphere and perceived performance climate corresponded to low levels of moral functioning in football. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for eliminating unsportsmanlike conduct from sport.
Juliette Stebbings, Ian M. Taylor, and Christopher M. Spray
The current study explored coaches’ interpersonal behaviors as a mechanism for well- and ill-being contagion from coach to athlete and vice versa. Eighty-two coach–athlete dyads from individual sports completed selfreport measures before and after a training session. Structural equation modeling supported three actor–partner interdependence mediation models, in which coaches’ presession well- and ill-being were associated with changes in athletes’ well- and ill-being over the course of the session. These relationships were mediated by athletes’ perceptions of their coaches’ interpersonal styles during the session. The reciprocal transfer from athlete to coach was not fully supported. Nonetheless, coaches’ perceptions of their own interpersonal behaviors were associated with changes in their postsession well- and ill-being. Overall, evidence is provided for the contagion of affect from authority figures to those under their instruction but not vice versa.
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.
Juliette Stebbings, Ian M. Taylor, and Christopher M. Spray
Within the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) framework, research has considered the consequences of coaches’ autonomy supportive and controlling behaviors on various athlete outcomes (e.g., motivation and performance). The antecedents of such behaviors, however, have received little attention. Coaches (N = 443) from a variety of sports and competitive levels completed a self-report questionnaire to assess their psychological need satisfaction, well-being and perceived interpersonal behaviors toward their athletes. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that coaches’ competence and autonomy need satisfaction positively predicted their levels of psychological well-being, as indexed by positive affect and subjective vitality. In turn, coaches’ psychological well-being positively predicted their perceived autonomy support toward their athletes, and negatively predicted their perceived controlling behaviors. Overall, the results highlight the importance of coaching contexts that facilitate coaches’ psychological need satisfaction and well-being, thereby increasing the likelihood of adaptive coach interpersonal behavior toward athletes.
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.
Ian M. Taylor, Christopher M. Spray, and Natalie Pearson
The purpose of the study was to explore change in children’s physical self-concept and self-reported physical activity over a school transition period, as well as motivational and interpersonal influences on these two outcomes. Data were collected from 545 children (mean age = 10.82, SD = 0.39, 51% female) at three time points before and after the United Kingdom secondary school transition. Multilevel modeling revealed that physical self-concept and physical activity showed different patterns of decline over the course of the study. Changes in the extent to which physical education teachers were perceived to provide psychological need support, peer focus on self-referenced learning and mastery, and changes in autonomous motives toward physical education classes were positively associated with these outcome variables. The present study provides novel insight into important motivational and interpersonal factors that may need to be targeted to prevent negative developmental patterns over a potentially challenging period for children.
Sam N. Thrower, Christopher M. Spray, and Chris G. Harwood
The purpose of the current study was to utilize the RE-AIM (i.e., reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance) framework to evaluate the national-level scale-out of the Lawn Tennis Association’s “Optimal Competition Parenting Workshop” (OCPW) across a 4-year period. During 2018, 65 workshops were run across the United Kingdom, 1,043 parents registered, and 933 parents attended. Adopting a quasi-experimental design, multilevel analyses revealed significant increases in parents’ (n = 130) task goal orientation and competition tennis parenting efficacy, as well as significant decreases in ego goal orientation and unpleasant emotions. Children’s perceptions of both mother- and father-initiated ego-involving motivational climate and their own ego goal orientation significantly decreased across time. From 2019 to 2021, a further 64 workshops were delivered to 1,110 parents with no significant differences in parents’ satisfaction, enjoyment, instructor evaluation, or transfer intention over time when compared against workshop evaluations in 2018. Overall, the OCPW represents a well-received, practical, and effective brief intervention for enhancing parental involvement in junior tennis.
Sam S. Sagar, David Lavallee, and Christopher M. Spray
Coping with stress is an important element in effective functioning at the elite level in sports, and fear of failure (FF) is an example of a stressor that athletes experience. Three issues underpin the present preliminary study. First, the prevalence of problems attributed to FF in achievement settings. Second, sport is a popular and significant achievement domain for children and adolescents. Third, there is a lack of research on FF in sport among this population. Therefore, the objectives of the study were to examine the effects of FF on young athletes and to find out their coping responses to the effects of FF. Interviews were conducted individually with nine young elite athletes (5 males, 4 females; ages 14–17 years). It was inferred from the data that FF affected the athletes’ well-being, interpersonal behavior, sport performance, and schoolwork. The athletes employed a combination of problem-focused, emotion-focused, and avoidance-focused coping strategies, with avoidance strategies being the most frequently reported.