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Participation in Sport and Moral Functioning: Does Ego Orientation Mediate Their Relationship?

Maria Kavussanu and Nikos Ntoumanis

This study examined whether participation in contact sports influences moral functioning within the sport context, and whether these effects are mediated by ego orientation; the role of task orientation on moral functioning was also examined. Participants (N = 221) were college athletes participating in basketball, soccer, field hockey, and rugby. They completed questionnaires assessing sport participation, goal orientations, moral functioning, and social desirability. Structural equation modeling analysis indicated that participation in contact sports positively predicted ego orientation, which in turn predicted low levels of moral functioning. The direct effects of sport participation on moral functioning became nonsignificant in the presence of ego orientation, indicating that the latter construct mediates the relationship between the first two variables. Task orientation corresponded to high levels of moral functioning. These findings help us further understand the processes operating in contact sports and are discussed in terms of their implications for eliminating unsportspersonlike conduct from the sport context.

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Peer Motivational Climate in Youth Sport: Measurement Development and Validation

Nikos Ntoumanis and Spiridoula Vazou

The influence of the peer group on young people’s achievement motivation has been highlighted in the literature as an area that needs examination (e.g., Harwood & Swain, 2001). To this effect, a new measure of youngsters’ perceptions of the peer motivational climate (Peer Motivational Climate in Youth Sport Questionnaire; PeerMCYSQ) was developed and tested across three studies. In Study 1, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) with 431 athletes between the ages of 11 to 16 years suggested that the PeerMCYSQ had 6 factors that could also be subsumed into 2 higher order factors (Task-Involving climate: improvement, relatedness support, effort; Ego-Involving climate: intra-team competition, normative ability, intra-team conflict). In Studies 2 and 3 the 6-factor solution and the corresponding hierarchical one were tested using CFA with two independent samples (N = 606 and 495, respectively) of similar age. The results showed that the 6-factor model was problematic and that a 5-factor solution should be preferred instead. Further support to the 5-factor model was provided with hierarchical and multilevel CFAs. Suggestions for further research on peer motivational climate are discussed.

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The Controlling Interpersonal Style in a Coaching Context: Development and Initial Validation of a Psychometric Scale

Kimberley J. Bartholomew, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani

This article outlines the development and initial validation of the Controlling Coach Behaviors Scale (CCBS), a multidimensional self-report measure designed to assess sports coaches’ controlling interpersonal style from the perspective of self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002). Study 1 generated a pool of items, based on past literature and feedback from coaches, athletes, and academic experts. The factorial structure of the questionnaire was tested using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses across Studies 2 and 3. The final CCBS model in Study 3 comprised 4 factors (controlling use of rewards, conditional regard, intimidation, and excessive personal control) and was cross-validated using a third independent sample in Study 4. The scale demonstrated good content and factorial validity, as well as internal consistency and invariance across gender and sport type. Suggestions for its use in research pertaining to the darker side of coaching and sport participation are discussed.

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Effects of a Sport Education Intervention on Students’ Motivational Responses in Physical Education

Tristan L. Wallhead and Nikos Ntoumanis

This study looked at the influence of a Sport Education intervention program on students’ motivational responses in a high school physical education setting. Two intact groups were assigned curricular interventions: the Sport Education group (n = 25), which received eight 60-min lessons, and the comparison group (n = 26), which received a traditional teaching approach to sport-based activity. Pre- and postintervention measures of student enjoyment, perceived effort, perceived competence, goal orientations, perceived motivational climate, and perceived autonomy were obtained for both groups. Repeated-measures ANOVAs showed significant increases in student enjoyment and perceived effort in the Sport Education group only. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that increases in task-involving climate and perceived autonomy explained a significant amount of unique variance in the Sport Education students’ postintervention enjoyment, perceived effort, and perceived competence responses. The results suggest that the Sport Education curriculum may increase perceptions of a task-involving climate and perceived autonomy, and in so doing, enhance the motivation of high school students toward physical education.

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Relationship of Intensity and Direction of Competitive Anxiety with Coping Strategies

Nikos Ntoumanis and Stuart J.H. Biddle

The purpose of the present study was to examine how coping strategies in sport relate to differences in levels of anxiety intensity and to the interpretation of these levels as being facilitative or debilitative to performance. British university athletes were asked to recall a recent stressful situation in their sport, the coping strategies they used, and the intensity and direction of their anxiety symptoms. Results showed that perceptions of facilitative cognitive anxiety were related to the use of problem-focused coping. High levels of cognitive anxiety intensity were related to emotion-focused coping and avoidance coping. With regard to somatic anxiety, there was a significant interaction between the intensity and direction dimensions in that similar high levels of anxiety intensity were related to different coping strategies, depending on whether somatic anxiety was perceived to be facilitative or debilitative. From a practical point of view, the results show that athletes with positive perceptions of their anxiety level are able to use effective coping strategies. Lastly, suggestions are offered for further exploration of the nature of the interrelationship between coping strategies and anxiety.

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Goal Striving, Goal Attainment, and Well-Being: Adapting and Testing the Self-Concordance Model in Sport

Alison Smith, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Joan Duda

Grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) and the self-concordance model (Sheldon & Elliot, 1999), this study examined the motivational processes underlying goal striving in sport as well as the role of perceived coach autonomy support in the goal process. Structural equation modeling with a sample of 210 British athletes showed that autonomous goal motives positively predicted effort, which, in turn, predicted goal attainment. Goal attainment was positively linked to need satisfaction, which, in turn, predicted psychological well-being. Effort and need satisfaction were found to mediate the associations between autonomous motives and goal attainment and between attainment and well-being, respectively. Controlled motives negatively predicted well-being, and coach autonomy support positively predicted both autonomous motives and need satisfaction. Associations of autonomous motives with effort were not reducible to goal difficulty, goal specificity, or goal efficacy. These findings support the self-concordance model as a framework for further research on goal setting in sport.

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“It’s Better Together”: A Nested Longitudinal Study Examining the Benefits of Walking Regularly With Peers Versus Primarily Alone in Older Adults

Marlene Kritz, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Barbara Mullan, Afroditi Stathi, and Nikos Ntoumanis

The authors examined whether purposeful walking with peers at least once a week contributes to better behavioral and health outcomes in older adults than primarily walking alone. The authors used a longitudinal cohort design and recruited participants aged 60 years and older (N = 136) at the start of a 16-week walking intervention. Participants who walked on average at least once a week in the final 8 weeks of the intervention were included in the analysis (N = 79; 66 females, M age [SD] = 77.73 [6.91]). The authors found that autonomous motivation, walking self-efficacy, functional capacity, body fat, and physical activity improved more in the walking with peers group compared with the walking alone group, after controlling for whether participants lived alone/with others and their health status. The results extend current literature by providing longitudinal evidence for the added benefits of regular peer-accompanied walking in older adults and highlight the importance of investing in peer-supported interventions.

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Psychological Need Thwarting in the Sport Context: Assessing the Darker Side of Athletic Experience

Kimberley J. Bartholomew, Nikos Ntoumanis, Richard M. Ryan, and Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani

Research in self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002) has shown that satisfaction of autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs in sport contexts is associated with enhanced engagement, performance, and well-being. This article outlines the initial development of a multidimensional measure designed to assess psychological need thwarting, an under-studied area of conceptual and practical importance. Study 1 generated a pool of items designed to tap the negative experiential state that occurs when athletes perceive their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness to be actively undermined. Study 2 tested the factorial structure of the questionnaire using confirmatory factor analysis. The supported model comprised 3 factors, which represented the hypothesized interrelated dimensions of need thwarting. The model was refined and cross-validated using an independent sample in Study 3. Overall, the psychological need thwarting scale (PNTS) demonstrated good content, factorial, and predictive validity, as well as internal consistency and invariance across gender, sport type, competitive level, and competitive experience. The conceptualization of psychological need thwarting is discussed, and suggestions are made regarding the use of the PNTS in research pertaining to the darker side of sport participation.

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Motivation Contagion When Instructing Obese Individuals: A Test in Exercise Settings

Johan Y.Y. Ng, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, and Nikos Ntoumanis

We examined motivation contagion in a hypothetical exercise setting. Exercise science students (n = 164) were provided with quotes of hypothetical male and female obese exercisers displaying different quality of motivation to start an exercise program. We used a 3 (exerciser motivation) × 2 (exerciser gender) × 2 (student gender) between-subjects experimental design to examine students’ (a) motivation to instruct, (b) interpersonal style, (c) perception of barrier efficacy of the exerciser, and (d) effort to identify factors that could maximize the effectiveness of an exercise program for the exerciser. Results showed that students displayed less controlled motivation and rated the exerciser as more capable of overcoming barriers to exercise when they perceived the exerciser to be autonomously motivated. However, students, particularly females, reported more autonomy support and invested more effort toward female exercisers with controlled motivation. Our findings indicate that motivation contagion effects are plausible in exercise settings and may affect interactions between fitness instructors and obese clients.

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“Shall We Dance?” Older Adults’ Perspectives on the Feasibility of a Dance Intervention for Cognitive Function

Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Anthony Papathomas, Jonathan Foster, Eleanor Quested, and Nikos Ntoumanis

We explored perceptions of social dance as a possible intervention to improve cognitive function in older adults with subjective memory complaints. A total of 30 participants (19 females; mean age = 72.6 years; SD = 8.2) took part in the study. This included 21 participants who had self-reported subjective memory complaints and nine spouses who noticed spousal memory loss. Semistructured interviews were conducted, and a thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Three main themes were constructed: (a) dance seen as a means of promoting social interaction; (b) chronic illness as a barrier and facilitator to participation; and (c) social dance representing nostalgic connections to the past. Overall, the participants were positive about the potential attractiveness of social dance to improve cognitive and social functioning and other aspects of health. In future research, it is important to examine the feasibility of a social dance intervention among older adults with subjective memory complaints.