In this study, involving 585 youth sport coaches (M age = 35.76), the authors investigated whether coaches who perceive their environment to be highly evaluative would report acting in a more controlling or pressuring way. In a subsample (n = 211, M age = 38.14), they examined the explanatory role of coaches’ experiences of psychological need frustration in this relation. They also considered whether years of coaching experience would serve as a buffer against the adverse effects of an evaluative context. In line with the tenets of self-determination theory, results of structural equation modeling indicated that an evaluative context was related to the use of a more controlling coaching style, with experiences of need frustration accounting for this relation. Coaching experience did not play any moderating role, suggesting that even more experienced coaches are vulnerable to the harmful correlates of an evaluative sport context.
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Sofie Morbée, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Nathalie Aelterman, and Leen Haerens
An De Meester, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Leen Haerens
The goals were to investigate whether extracurricular school-based sports reach students not engaging in community sports and whether extracurricular school-based sports participants are more physically active and/or autonomously motivated toward sports than nonparticipants.
1526 students (48.0% boys; 85.9% Belgian natives; age = 15.34 ± 1.83y) completed validated questionnaires to assess sports participation, physical activity (PA) and sports-motivation. Multilevel regression analyses were conducted.
Only 28.7% of all students (n = 438), and 19.7% of students not engaging in community sports (n = 123), participated in extracurricular school-based sports. Participants were significantly more physically active [β=44.19, S.E.=17.34, χ2(1)=6.50, p = .01] and autonomously motivated [β=.18, S.E.=.04, χ2(1)=25.62, p < .001] than nonparticipants, even after controlling for community sports participation. Boys were more physically active and autonomously motivated than girls (p < .001).
As participation is linked to higher PA-levels and autonomous motivation, increasing overall participation rates may contribute to children developing a more physically active lifestyle and achieving the PA guidelines.
Greet Maria Cardon, Leen Liesbeth Haerens, Stefanie Verstraete, and Ilse de Bourdeaudhuij
The present study aimed to investigate how classroom-based self-management lessons to promote physical activity were perceived by students, teachers, and parents. The self-management lessons were implemented by an external physical education specialist in 20 class groups at eight elementary schools. Program perceptions were evaluated in 412 children (mean age 9.7 ± 0.7) using a short questionnaire. Oral surveys were used with 20 teachers and 50 parent participants. Most children were enthusiastic about the program and more than half of them reported being more active. Teachers and parents also perceived the lessons as useful and half of them reported an improvement in children’s physical activity awareness. Eighty percent of the teachers and 32% of the parents perceived an increase in children’s physical activity levels. The SPARK self-management physical activity program appears to promote an active lifestyle in children and was positively received; the implementation of the program by the teachers needs further evaluation.
Lynn Van den Berghe, Greet Cardon, Nathalie Aelterman, Isabel Barbara Tallir, Maarten Vansteenkiste, and Leen Haerens
Burnout in teachers is related to different maladaptive outcomes. This study aimed at exploring the relationship between emotional exhaustion and motivation to teach in 93 physical education teachers. Results showed that teachers report more emotional exhaustion when they are less autonomously motivated, while the opposite relationship was found for controlled motivation. Next, four motivational profiles were identified by means of cluster analyses: (a) a relative controlled group, (b) a relative lowly motivated group, (c) a relative autonomous group, and (d) a relative highly motivated group. The controlled group reported most emotional exhaustion, whereas the relative autonomous and highly motivated group had the lowest scores on emotional exhaustion. The results indicate that being autonomously motivated may function as a “buffer” against the development of emotional exhaustion. This implicates that it is important for politicians, directors, teachers, and teacher educators to consider teachers’ type of motivation to teach to prevent emotional exhaustion.
Lynn Van den Berghe, Isabel B. Tallir, Greet Cardon, Nathalie Aelterman, and Leen Haerens
Starting from self-determination theory, we explored whether student engagement/disengagement relates to teachers’ need support and whether this relationship is moderated by teachers’ causality orientations. A sample of 2004 students situated in 127 classes taught by 33 physical education teachers participated in the study. Both teachers and students reported on students’ (dis)engagement, allowing investigation of the proposed relationships both at the student and teacher level. Most of the variance in need support was at the student level, but there was also between-teacher and between-class variance in need support. Engagement related to more need support, but only at the student level. In total, few moderation effects were found. Teachers with a relatively low controlled orientation were more need supportive when perceiving their students as emotionally and behaviorally engaged. By making teachers aware of these dynamics, automatic responses to student engagement can be better thought out. Recommendations for future research are discussed.
Nathalie Aelterman, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Lynn Van den Berghe, Jotie De Meyer, and Leen Haerens
The present intervention study examined whether physical education (PE) teachers can learn to make use of autonomy-supportive and structuring teaching strategies. In a sample of 39 teachers (31 men, M = 38.51 ± 10.44 years) and 669 students (424 boys, M = 14.58 ± 1.92 years), we investigated whether a professional development training grounded in self-determination theory led to changes in (a) teachers’ beliefs about the effectiveness and feasibility of autonomy-supportive and structuring strategies and (b) teachers’ in-class reliance on these strategies, as rated by teachers, external observers, and students. The intervention led to positive changes in teachers’ beliefs regarding both autonomy support and structure. As for teachers’ actual teaching behavior, the intervention was successful in increasing autonomy support according to students and external observers, while resulting in positive changes in teacher-reported structure. Implications for professional development and recommendations for future research are discussed.
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.
Tom De Clerck, Annick Willem, Sofie Morbée, Delfien Van Dyck, and Leen Haerens
A considerable amount of research based on self-determination theory has provided evidence for the pivotal role of the coaches’ motivating style in predicting sports club members’ motivation to participate in organized sports. This study also investigated the importance of the sports club leaders’ motivating style for members’ motivation. Specifically, it focused on the relation between the leaders’ motivating style and members’ motivation via the coaches’ motivating style (i.e., trickle-down effect), hereby relying on the perceptions of sports club members (N = 210). Results pointed to the existence of a trickle-down effect, showing that the leaders’ motivating style was reflected in the coaches’ motivating style, which in turn related positively to members’ autonomous motivation and negatively to members’ amotivation. This study provides a proof of principle of the trickle-down effect in sports clubs, urging researchers to further explore this effect in the sports context.
Nathalie Aelterman, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Hilde Van Keer, Lynn Van den Berghe, Jotie De Meyer, and Leen Haerens
Despite evidence for the utility of self-determination theory in physical education, few studies used objective indicators of physical activity and mapped out between-class, relative to between-student, differences in physical activity. This study investigated whether moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and rated collective engagement in physical education were associated with autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and amotivation at the between-class and between-student levels. Participants were 739 pupils (46.3% boys, M age = 14.36 ± 1.94) from 46 secondary school classes in Flanders (Belgium). Multilevel analyses indicated that 37% and 63% of the variance in MVPA was explained by between-student and between-class differences, respectively. Students’ personal autonomous motivation related positively to MVPA. Average autonomous class motivation was positively related to between-class variation in MVPA and collective engagement. Average controlled class motivation and average class amotivation were negatively associated with collective engagement. The findings are discussed in light of self-determination theory’s emphasis on quality of motivation.
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.