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Maarten Vansteenkiste, Athanasios Mouratidis and Willy Lens

In two cross-sectional studies we investigated whether soccer players’ well-being (Study 1) and moral functioning (Studies 1 and 2) is related to performance-approach goals and to the autonomous and controlling reasons underlying their pursuit. In support of our hypotheses, we found in Study 1 that autonomous reasons were positively associated with vitality and positive affect, whereas controlling reasons were positively related to negative affect and mostly unrelated to indicators of morality. To investigate the lack of systematic association with moral outcomes, we explored in Study 2 whether performance-approach goals or their underlying reasons would yield an indirect relation to moral outcomes through their association with players’ objectifying attitude—their tendency to depersonalize their opponents. Structural equation modeling showed that controlling reasons for performance-approach goals were positively associated with an objectifying attitude, which in turn was positively associated to unfair functioning. Results are discussed within the achievement goal perspective (Elliot, 2005) and self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000).

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Joke Simons, Siegfried Dewitte and Willy Lens

This study tested the hypothesis that the reason a person engages in a physical education activity (instrumentality) has an effect on his or her state goal orientation, time spent practicing, task enjoyment, motivation, effort, and ultimately on his/her performance. Participants, 695 college students (340 M, 355 F; mean age 19.7 years, range = 18–22) who were enrolled in physical education classes, learned a dribble-shooting basketball task. Before practicing it for 20 minutes, they received one of the three instructions underlining the personal and/or future relevance of the task. Instructions emphasizing the obligatory nature of the task led to a decrease in motivated behavior, performance, and state task orientation, but an increase in the state ego orientation. Instructions emphasizing the personal and future relevance enhanced state task orientation, motivated behavior, and performance. Instructions that only emphasized personal relevance fell in between. The results of this study showed that instructions are powerful tools that can easily affect the quality of motivation and either strengthen or undermine students’ motivational behavior, performance, and future participation, at least when students have little or no experience with the task.

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Athanasios Mouratidis, Willy Lens and Maarten Vansteenkiste

We relied on self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) to investigate to what extent autonomy-supporting corrective feedback (i.e., feedback that coaches communicate to their athletes after poor performance or mistakes) is associated with athletes’ optimal motivation and well-being. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a cross-sectional study with 337 (67.1% males) Greek adolescent athletes (age M = 15.59, SD = 2.37) from various sports. Aligned with SDT, we found through path analysis that an autonomy-supporting versus controlling communication style was positively related to future intentions to persist and well-being and negatively related to ill-being. These relations were partially mediated by the perceived legitimacy of the corrective feedback (i.e., the degree of acceptance of corrective feedback), and, in turn, by intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, and external regulation for doing sports. Results indicate that autonomy-supporting feedback can be still motivating even in cases in which such feedback conveys messages of still too low competence.

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Maarten Vansteenkiste, Athanasios Mouratidis, Thomas van Riet and Willy Lens

In the current study we aimed to examine the antecedents and outcomes associated with the variability in competitive volleyball players’ (N = 67; M age = 19.45; SD = 5.13) situational achievement goal pursuit and its underlying autonomous and controlling reasons. Players were followed during six consecutive games and data were analyzed through multilevel modeling. Players’ dominant contextual goal pursuit reported at the onset of the study related to their situational (i.e., game-specific) goal pursuit. Further, variation in game-to-game mastery-approach goal pursuit, as compared with the pursuit of other achievement goals, related to variation in prosocial behavior. Finally, autonomous reasons underlying situational mastery-approach goal pursuit related positively to games-specific prosocial behavior, enjoyment, and performance satisfaction. The discussion emphasizes the necessity to study players’ game-to-game motivational dynamics and the reasons underlying players’ achievement goal pursuit.

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Maarten Vansteenkiste, Joke Simons, Bart Soenens and Willy Lens

The goal of the present study was to examine partially conflicting hypotheses derived from two motivational theories, namely self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000) and future time perspective theory (FTPT; Lens, 2001; Nuttin & Lens, 1985). In line with SDT, it was found that framing an exercise activity in terms of future intrinsic goal attainment (focusing on health and physical fitness) has a positive effect on effort expenditure, autonomous exercise motivation, performance, long-term persistence, and even sport club membership. On the other hand, framing an exercise activity in terms of future extrinsic goal attainment (focusing on physical appearance and attractiveness) undermined those outcomes compared to a no-future-goal control group. Correlational analyses indicate that future extrinsic goal framing led to non-autonomous persistence while future intrinsic goal framing resulted in autonomously driven perseverance at the free-choice activity. In contrast to FTPT, the no-future-goal control group did not differ from a future content-free goal group, in which the general future importance of the present task was stressed. Finally, presenting those goals in an autonomy-supportive rather than a controlling way resulted in the same motivational and behavioral benefits as future intrinsic goal framing. It is discussed how future time perspective theory and self-determination theory can be reconciled and integrated.

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Athanasios Mouratidis, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Willy Lens and Georgios Sideridis

Based on self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), an experimental study with middle school students participating in a physical education task and a correlational study with highly talented sport students investigated the motivating role of positive competence feedback on participants’ well-being, performance, and intention to participate. In Study 1, structural equation modeling favored the hypothesized motivational model, in which, after controlling for pretask perceived competence and competence valuation, feedback positively predicted competence satisfaction, which in turn predicted higher levels of vitality and greater intentions to participate, through the mediation of autonomous motivation. No effects on performance were found. Study 2 further showed that autonomous motivation mediated the relation between competence satisfaction and well-being, whereas amotivation mediated the negative relation between competence satisfaction and ill-being and rated performance. The discussion focuses on the motivational role of competence feedback in sports and physical education settings.