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Cassandra Sparks, Chris Lonsdale, James Dimmock and Ben Jackson

Research grounded in self-determination theory has demonstrated the important role of teachers in shaping students’ physical education experiences. Utilizing a cluster-randomized controlled design, this study aimed to examine whether an interpersonally involving training program based on self-determination theory principles could enhance students’ in-class experiences. With 18 teachers (males = 8, females = 10, M age = 32.75, SD = 8.14) and a final sample of 382 students (males = 155, females = 227, M age = 13.20, SD = 1.66), we implemented linear mixed modeling to investigate the effects on students’ (a) perceived relatedness support and (b) enjoyment of physical education, tripartite efficacy beliefs (i.e., self-efficacy, other-efficacy, relation-inferred self-efficacy), self-determined motivation, and amotivation. Relative to those in the control condition, students in the treatment condition reported positive changes in teacher-provided relatedness support, enjoyment, other-efficacy, and peer-focused relation-inferred self-efficacy. These findings demonstrate support for strategies designed to aid physical education teachers’ relatedness-supportive instructional behaviors.

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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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Lauren K. Banting, James A. Dimmock and J. Robert Grove

This study examined the effect of motivational primes on participants (N = 171) during a cycling task. Relative to participants primed with a controlled motivational orientation, it was hypothesized that participants primed for autonomous motivation would report greater feelings of enjoyment, effort, and choice in relation to the cycling activity and report greater exercise intentions. Members of the autonomous prime group were expected to exercise for longer, at a greater percentage of their heart rate maximum, and report lower levels of perceived exertion than those in the controlled prime condition. It was found that, relative to participants in the controlled prime group, those who received the autonomous prime enjoyed the exercise more, exercised at a greater percentage of heart rate maximum, and reported a lower rating of perceived exertion. Furthermore, participants experiencing the controlled prime exercised for less time and had lower intentions to exercise than did other participants. Results highlight the importance of automatic processes in activating motivation for exercise.

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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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Yew Meng How, Peter Whipp, James Dimmock and Ben Jackson

This study examined whether the provision of choice in physical education (PE) enhanced students’ autonomous motivation, perceived autonomy support, and physical activity (PA) levels, relative to a “regular PE” control group. Students from eight intact high school PE classes (N = 257, Mage = 12.91) were randomly assigned to control (i.e., four classes) and intervention (i.e., four classes) conditions. Students in the intervention group were given a unique opportunity to choose their preferred participatory role in their PE units, while control students participated in normal teacher-led PE, and data were collected over a 15-week program (i.e., three units of five weeks each). The results indicated that a lack of choice in PE aligned with less positive perceptions of autonomy support among students within the control group, compared with their counterparts in the intervention group. In some choice formats, students exhibited significantly higher PA levels than students who undertook normal PE. These findings indicate that offering choice in high school PE lessons may encourage perceptions of autonomy support and levels of in-class physical activity.

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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.