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Ben Jackson, Daniel F. Gucciardi and James A. Dimmock

Recent studies of coach–athlete interaction have explored the bivariate relationships between each of the tripartite efficacy constructs (self-efficacy; other-efficacy; relation-inferred self-efficacy, or RISE) and various indicators of relationship quality. This investigation adopted an alternative approach by using cluster analyses to identify tripartite efficacy profiles within a sample of 377 individual sport athletes (M age = 20.25, SD = 2.12), and examined how individuals in each cluster group differed in their perceptions about their relationship with their coach (i.e., commitment, satisfaction, conflict). Four clusters emerged: High (n = 128), Moderate (n = 95), and Low (n = 78) profiles, in which athletes reported relatively high, moderate, or low scores across all tripartite perceptions, respectively, as well as an Unfulfilled profile (n = 76) in which athletes held relatively high self-efficacy, but perceived lower levels of other-efficacy and RISE. Multivariate analyses revealed differences between the clusters on all relationship variables that were in line with theory. These results underscore the utility of considering synergistic issues in the examination of the tripartite efficacy framework.

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Ben Jackson, Daniel F. Gucciardi and James A. Dimmock

Drawing from a three-factor model of organizational commitment, we sought to provide validity evidence for a multidimensional conceptualization designed to capture adolescent athletes’ commitment to their coach–athlete relationship or their team. In Study 1, 335 individual-sport athletes (M age = 17.32, SD = 1.38) completed instruments assessing affective, normative, and continuance commitment to their relationship with their coach, and in Study 2, contextually modified instruments were administered to assess interdependent-sport athletes’ (N = 286, M age = 16.31, SD = 1.33) commitment to their team. Bayesian structural equation modeling revealed support for a three-factor (in comparison with a single-factor) model, along with relations between commitment dimensions and relevant correlates (e.g., satisfaction, return intentions, cohesion) that were largely consistent with theory. Guided by recent advancements in Bayesian modeling, these studies provide a new commitment instrument with the potential for use and refinement in team- and relationship-based settings and offer preliminary support for a conceptual framework that may help advance our understanding of the factors underpinning individuals’ engagement in sport.

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Kenneth H. Pitetti, James A. Jackson, Nancy B. Stubbs, Kathryn D. Campbell and Saraswathy S. Battar

Comparative and longitudinal studies were performed to determine the effect of Special Olympic activities on the physical fitness of participants. The comparative study compared cardiovascular fitness, percent body fat, and blood lipid profiles of non-Down, mildly mentally retarded adult Special Olympic participants (SOP) with those of nontraining, nonhandicapped (NTNH) and training nonhandicapped (TNH) adults. The results indicated that SOP displayed lower fitness profiles than TNH. Male SOP demonstrated fitness profiles similar to NTNH while female SOP showed lower cardiovascular fitness levels than both TNH and NTNH. The longitudinal study compared cardiovascular fitness and percent body fat of non-Down, mildly mentally retarded adult SOP before and after 4 to 18 months of Special Olympic activities. This latter study showed no significant change in body weight, percent body fat, or cardiovascular fitness during a time period that averaged over 13 months for each participant. The results indicated that the intensity level of activity for the SOP in this study failed to improve physical fitness.

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Daniel F. Gucciardi, Jay-Lee Longbottom, Ben Jackson and James A. Dimmock

Although researchers have experimentally examined the mechanisms underlying pressure-induced forms of suboptimal performance, or “choking under pressure,” there is a lack of research exploring the personal experience of this phenomenon. In an attempt to fill this void in the literature, this study explored experienced golfers’ perceptions of the choking experience within a personal construct psychology (Kelly, 1955/1991) framework. Both male and female golfers participated in either a focus group (n = 12; all males) or one-on-one interview (n = 10; female = 7, male = 3) using experience cycle methodology (Oades & Viney, 2000) to describe their perceptions of the choking experience. Discussions were transcribed verbatim and subsequently analyzed using grounded theory analytical techniques (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Analyses revealed five central categories representing the personal experience of choking under pressure: antecedents, personal investment, choking event, consequences, and learning experiences. The findings reported here suggest that the choking phenomenon, which can involve acute or chronic bouts of suboptimal performance (relative to the performance expectations of the athlete), is a complex process involving the interplay of several cognitive, attentional, emotional, and situational factors. Implications of the findings for a construct definition of choking are discussed, and several applied considerations are offered.

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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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James A. Dimmock, Marylène Gagné, Lauren Proud, Timothy C. Howle, Amanda L. Rebar and Ben Jackson

Sustained attention has been devoted to studying the factors that support (or thwart) individuals’ enjoyment of, interest in, and value judgments regarding their exercise activities. We employed a resistance-inducing (i.e., inoculation theory) messaging technique with the aim of protecting these desirable perceptions in the face of environmental conditions designed to undermine one’s positive exercise experiences. Autonomously motivated exercisers (N = 146, M age = 20.57, SD = 4.02) performed a 25-min, group-based, instructor-led exercise circuit, in which the activities were deliberately monotonous, and during which the confederate instructor acted in a disinterested, unsupportive, and critical manner. Shortly before the session, participants received either a control message containing general information about the exercise class or an inoculation message containing a forewarning about potential challenges to participants’ enjoyment/interest/value perceptions during the class, as well as information about how participants might maintain positive perceptions in the face of these challenges. Despite there being no between-conditions differences in presession mood or general exercise motives, inoculated (relative to control) participants reported greater interest/enjoyment in the exercise session and higher perceptions of need support from the instructor. Perceptions of need support mediated the relationship between message condition and interest/enjoyment.

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Timothy C. Howle, James A. Dimmock, Peter R. Whipp and Ben Jackson

With the aim of advancing the literature on impression management in physical activity settings, we developed a theoretically derived 2 by 2 instrument that was designed to measure different types of context-specific selfpresentation motives. Following item generation and expert review (Study 1), the instrument was completed by 206 group exercise class attendees (Study 2) and 463 high school physical education students (Study 3). Our analyses supported the intended factor structure (i.e., reflecting acquisitive-agentic, acquisitive-communal, protective-agentic, and protective-communal motives). We found some support for construct validity, and the self-presentation motives were associated with variables of theoretical and applied interest (e.g., impression motivation and construction, social anxiety, social and achievement goals, efficacy beliefs, engagement). Taken together, the results indicate that the Self-presentation Motives for Physical Activity Questionnaire (SMPAQ) may be useful for measuring various types of self-presentation motives in physical activity settings.

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Timothy C. Howle, James A. Dimmock, Peter R. Whipp and Ben Jackson

Two studies involving high school physical education students were conducted to investigate associations between 2 x 2 self-presentation motives and theorized antecedents. In Study 1 (n = 445), using path analysis, we found that positive predictive pathways emerged from fear of negative evaluation, trait agency and communion, self-presentational efficacy, and social self-efficacy to 2 x 2 motives. In Study 2 (n = 301), using cluster analysis, we found that approximately half the cohort was classified into a high motive endorsement cluster and half into a low motive endorsement cluster. The high cluster had significantly higher 2 x 2 motive, fear of negative evaluation, trait agency and communion, and self-efficacy scores. This work represents the first concerted effort to empirically examine proposed antecedents of 2 x 2 motives and serves to inform theorists and practitioners about dispositional and context-specific factors that may align with these motives.

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Ben Jackson, Peter R. Whipp, K.L. Peter Chua, James A. Dimmock and Martin S. Hagger

Within instructional settings, individuals form relational efficacy appraisals that complement their self-efficacy beliefs. In high school physical education (PE), for instance, students develop a level of confidence in their teacher’s capabilities, as well as estimating how confident they think their teacher is in their (i.e., the students’) ability. Grounded in existing transcontextual work, we examined the motivational pathways through which students’ relational efficacy and self-efficacy beliefs in PE were predictive of their leisure-time physical activity. Singaporean students (N = 990; age M = 13.95, SD = 1.02) completed instruments assessing efficacy beliefs, perceptions of teacher relatedness support, and autonomous motivation toward PE, and 2 weeks later they reported their motivation toward, and engagement in, leisure-time physical activity. Structural equation modeling revealed that students reported stronger other-efficacy and RISE beliefs when they felt that their teacher created a highly relatedness-supportive environment. In turn, their relational efficacy beliefs (a) supported their confidence in their own ability, (b) directly and indirectly predicted more autonomous motives for participation in PE, and (c) displayed prospective transcontextual effects in relation to leisure-time variables. By emphasizing the adaptive motivational effects associated with the tripartite constructs, these findings highlight novel pathways linking students’ efficacy perceptions with leisure-time outcomes.

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Ben Jackson, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Chris Lonsdale, Peter R. Whipp and James A. Dimmock

Despite the prevalence of group-/team-based enactment within sport and physical activity settings, to this point the study of relation-inferred self-efficacy (RISE) has been focused upon estimations regarding a single target individual (e.g., one’s coach). Accordingly, researchers have not yet considered whether individuals may also form RISE estimations regarding the extent to which the others in their group/team as a whole are confident in their ability. We applied structural equation modeling analyses with cross-sectional and prospective data collected from members of interdependent sport teams (Studies 1 and 2) and undergraduate physical activity classes (Studies 3 and 4), with the purpose of exploring these group-focused RISE inferences. Analyses showed that group-focused RISE perceptions (a) predicted individuals’ confidence in their own ability, (b) were empirically distinct from conceptually related constructs, and (c) directly and/or indirectly predicted a range of downstream outcomes over and above the effects of other efficacy perceptions. Taken together, these findings provide preliminary evidence that individuals’ group-focused RISE appraisals may be important to consider when investigating the network of efficacy perceptions that develops in group-based physical activity contexts.