Physical activity is associated with psychosocial and physical health benefits for breast cancer survivors. Little is known, however, about survivors’ decision-making processes when considering joining group physical activity programs designed for survivors. Guided by interpretive description methodology (Thorne, 2008), N = 15 breast cancer survivors who were considering or had made the decision to join a dragon boating team were interviewed about their decisions to participate. Four patterns of decision making were identified: searching for a way to care for physical and social needs, taking advantage of opportunities created by breast cancer, dove in with little contemplation, and hesitant to connect with other survivors. Results have implications for understanding decisions to participate in physical activity groups in this population and overcoming challenges to participation.
Beth B. Weisenbach and Meghan H. McDonough
Meghan H. McDonough and Peter R.E. Crocker
Self-determination theory suggests that when psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are met, participants experience more self-determined types of motivation and more positive outcomes. Limited research has examined this mediational role of self-determined motivation in adult physical activity participants, and very few studies have included assessments of relatedness. This study tested the hypothesis that self-determined motivation would mediate the relationship between psychological need fulfilment and affective and behavioral outcomes. Adult dragon boaters (N = 558) between the ages of 19 and 83 completed a questionnaire on motivational aspects of dragon boating. Competence, relatedness, and autonomy all significantly predicted self-determined motivation, but self-determined motivation only partially mediated their relationship with positive and negative affect. These findings demonstrate the importance of all three needs in adult activity motivation and suggest that the relationships between needs, self-determination, and outcomes may be complex.
Amanda J. Reynolds and Meghan H. McDonough
We examined whether coach involvement moderated the predictive effect of coach autonomy support on motivation both directly and indirectly via need satisfaction. 142 soccer players (106 female; 12-15 years) completed measures of coach autonomy support and involvement, need satisfaction, and motivation. For intrinsic motivation and identified regulation, need satisfaction mediated the effect of autonomy support, but there was also a moderated direct effect whereby autonomy support had a positive effect only when involvement was moderate to high. Autonomy support also positively predicted external regulation and negatively predicted amotivation via need satisfaction. Coach-athlete relationships that are both autonomy supportive and involved are associated with more adaptive forms of motivation, and findings suggest that lack of autonomy support may undermine need satisfaction and motivation.
Travis E. Dorsch, Alan L. Smith, and Meghan H. McDonough
The purpose of this study was to enhance understanding of how parents are socialized by their children's organized youth sport participation. Five semistructured focus groups were conducted with youth sport parents (N = 26) and analyzed using qualitative methods based on Strauss and Corbin (1998). Sixty-three underlying themes reflected parents' perceived socialization experiences resulting from their children's organized youth sport participation. Each theme represented 1 of 11 subcategories of parental change, which were subsumed within four broad categories of parent sport socialization (behavior, cognition, affect, relationships). Each category of parental change was interconnected with the other three categories. Moreover, six potential moderators of parent sport socialization were documented, namely, child age, parent past sport experience, parent and child gender, child temperament, community sport context, and type of sport setting (individual or team). Together, these findings enhance understanding of parent sport socialization processes and outcomes, thus opening avenues for future research on parents in the youth sport setting.
Shaina Riciputi, Meghan H. McDonough, and Sarah Ullrich-French
Physical activity–based positive youth development (PYD) programs often aim to foster character development. This study examined youth perspectives of character development curricula and the impact these activities have on their lives within and beyond the program. This case study examined youth from low-income families in a physical activity–based summer PYD program that integrated one character concept (respect, caring, responsibility, trust) in each of 4 weeks. Participants (N = 24) included a cross section of age, gender, ethnicity, and past program experience. Semi-structured interviews were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis and constant comparative methods. Thirteen themes were grouped in four categories: building highquality reciprocal relationships; intrapersonal improvement; moral reasoning and understanding; and rejection, resistance, and compliance. The findings provide participant-centered guidance for understanding youth personal and social development through physical activity in ways that are meaningful to participants, which is particularly needed for youth in low-income communities with limited youth programming.
Meghan H. McDonough, Catherine M. Sabiston, and Sarah Ullrich-French
Physical activity experiences may contribute to psychological and social wellbeing among breast cancer survivors. The main purpose of the current study was to qualitatively explore the development of social relationships, social support, and posttraumatic growth among breast cancer survivors participating in a dragon boat program over 19 months. Guided by interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009), semistructured interviews were conducted with 17 breast cancer survivors on five occasions over their first two seasons of dragon boating. Narrative accounts were developed for each participant, and four profiles emerged describing processes of social and posttraumatic growth development over time: “developing a feisty spirit of survivorship,” “I don’t want it to be just about me,” “it’s not about the pink it’s about the paddling,” and “hard to get close.” Profiles were discussed in terms of developing social relationships and support, providing support to others, physicality and athleticism, and negative interactions and experiences.
Meghan H. McDonough, Catherine M. Sabiston, Whitney A. Sedgwick, and Peter R.E. Crocker
Physical and psychosocial health risks are associated with both excess body weight and a sedentary lifestyle (National Institutes of Health [NIH], 1998). However, few researchers have focused on behavioral and motivational processes associated with exercise adoption and maintenance among overweight women. This study examined the efficacy of a team-based physical activity intervention on motivation and activity from a self-determination theory perspective. Overweight, inactive women (N=66) were randomly assigned to either a 12-week dragon boat program or a control condition. Participation in the dragon boat exercise was associated with increased intrinsic motivation and physical activity. Based on these data, the researchers suggest that this novel, team-based exercise intervention may improve motivation and activity levels in this at-risk population.
Robin J. Farrell, Peter R.E. Crocker, Meghan H. McDonough, and Whitney A. Sedgwick
Special Olympics programs provide competitive sport opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This study investigated athletes’ perceptions of motivation in Special Olympics. Using Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as a guiding framework to explore athletes’ experiences, 38 Special Olympians (21 males and 17 females) from British Columbia, Canada were interviewed. The data suggested that factors that enhanced autonomy, competence, and relatedness were linked to the participants’ motivation in Special Olympics programs. These factors included positive feedback, choice, learning skills, demonstrating ability, friendships, social approval, and fun. Social support from significant others was a key factor related to participation motivation. There was also evidence for the motivating aspects of extrinsic rewards. Motivation was undermined primarily by conflicts with coaches and teammates.
Catherine M. Sabiston, Meghan H. McDonough, and Peter R.E. Crocker
This study explored psychosocial experiences of breast cancer survivors involved in dragon boat programs. Twenty women (M age = 58.69, SD = 6.85) were interviewed for 45-60 min about their experiences as members of survivor dragon boat teams. Interviews were analyzed using constructivist grounded theory methods. The dragon boat program facilitated social support from women with common challenges and a shared understanding of survivorship. It also provided opportunities to (re)gain a sense of personal control, develop new identities as athletes, and overcome physical challenges. Together these elements contributed to positive psychological growth and linked to the literature on posttraumatic growth. Future physical activity interventions targeting breast cancer survivors may benefit from developing strategies that share key characteristics of dragon boating.
Lindley McDavid, Meghan H. McDonough, Bonnie T. Blankenship, and James M. LeBreton
This study used a randomized controlled design to test the pathways in basic psychological needs theory, where social relationships characterized by autonomy support, involvement, and structure foster psychological need satisfaction and well-being. Participants were recruited from a physical-activity-based youth program. A new staff training was implemented to manipulate the use of each interpersonal characteristic by program staff (N = 24 observed) and perceptions of each interpersonal characteristic, psychological needs, hope, and self-worth in youth (N = 379 surveyed pre- and postprogram). Staff in the intervention condition used greater overall observed autonomy support, involvement, and structure. Condition assignment did not lead to differences in youth perceptions, but observed staff behaviors positively predicted youth perceptions of staff and perceptions of staff positively predicted change in well-being. Findings indicate that the training manipulated how staff engaged youth, and autonomy support, involvement, and structure are useful strategies to foster well-being in youth.