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Why Do Sport Coaches Adopt a Controlling Coaching Style? The Role of an Evaluative Context and Psychological Need Frustration

Sofie Morbée, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Nathalie Aelterman, and Leen Haerens

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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Perceptions of a School-Based Self-Management Program Promoting an Active Lifestyle among Elementary Schoolchildren, Teachers, and Parents

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.

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Extracurricular School-Based Sports as a Stepping Stone Toward an Active Lifestyle? Differences in Physical Activity and Sports-Motivation Between Extracurricular School-Based Sports Participants and Non-Participants

An De Meester, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Leen Haerens

Purpose:

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.

Method:

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.

Results:

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).

Conclusion:

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.

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The Importance of the Leaders’ and Coaches’ Motivating Style for Sports Club Members’ Motivation to Participate in Organized Sports: Study of Trickle-Down Effects

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.

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Bicycling to School During the Transition From Childhood Into Adolescence: A Six-Year Longitudinal Study

Greet M. Cardon, Lea R.D. Maes, Leen L. Haerens, and Ilse M.M. De Bourdeaudhuij

Little is known about bicycling to school as children age. At baseline (2002) self-report data from 1070 children were gathered (51.9% boys; mean age: 10 years). The measurements were repeated in 2003 (n = 1039), 2004 (n = 907), 2005 (n = 549) and 2008 (n = 515). The rates of children bicycling to school significantly varied across time points from 46% at the age of ten, 69% at the age of 11, 83% at the age of 12, 70% at the age of 13 toward 78% at the age of 16. Starting from the age of 11, the average duration of time spent bicycling to school significantly increased over time. According to multilevel regression analyses 13.6% of the variance in rates of bicycling to school was situated at the school level, 39.6% at the pupil level and 46.7% at the measurement level. The differences in rates and durations across time points were independent from gender, BMI, SES and having siblings. Pupils engaging in bicycling to school at younger ages had a higher change of engaging in bicycling to school at 16 years old (ORs: 2.69–7.61; ICC bicycling rates: 0.46, ICC bicycling durations: 0.82). This finding emphasizes the need for promoting bicycling to school at young age.

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The Effects of Feedback Valence and Style on Need Satisfaction, Self-Talk, and Perseverance Among Tennis Players: An Experimental Study

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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Fostering a Need-Supportive Teaching Style: Intervention Effects on Physical Education Teachers’ Beliefs and Teaching Behaviors

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.

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Student (Dis)Engagement and Need-Supportive Teaching Behavior: A Multi-Informant and Multilevel Approach

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.

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Emotional Exhaustion and Motivation in Physical Education Teachers: A Variable-Centered and Person-Centered Approach

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.

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Students’ Objectively Measured Physical Activity Levels and Engagement as a Function of Between-Class and Between-Student Differences in Motivation Toward Physical Education

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.