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Rémi Radel, Philippe Sarrazin and Luc Pelletier

The aim of this study was to examine whether motivational orientations for a new motor task could be triggered by unconscious determinants. Participants were primed with subliminal words depicting an autonomous, a neutral, or a controlled motivation during an initial unrelated task, followed by working on an unknown motor task. Behavioral, physiological, and self-reported indicators of motivation for this task were assessed. Overall, results indicated a significant impact of the priming condition on all these indicators; whereas the priming of autonomous motivation led to positive outcomes, the priming of controlled motivation led to negatives outcomes when compared with the neutral condition. Implications regarding the priming of unconscious determinants of motivation for sport and exercise are discussed.

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Betty Rose, Dawne Larkin and Bonnie G. Berger

According to competence motivation theory, children who are successful at movement will be intrinsically motivated in the motor domain (Harter, 1978, 1981a). By contrast, intrinsic motivation of children who repeatedly fail at movement is likely to diminish. The present study aimed to examine motivational orientations of children (N = 130) who differed in motor ability. Children (age 8-12) were categorized as coordinated (n = 62) or poorly coordinated (n = 68) according to scores on a neuromuscular development battery (McCarron, 1982). The poorly coordinated group was less motivated by challenge than well-coordinated participants as measured on the Motivational Orientation in Sport Scale (Weiss, Bredemeier, & Shewchuk, 1985a). Girls were less intrinsically motivated toward challenge than boys. There was little support that movement competence and motivational orientation are linked.

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Alex C. Garn, David R. Ware and Melinda A. Solmon

High school physical education classes provide students with numerous opportunities for social interactions, but few studies have explored how social strivings impact class engagement. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among 2 × 2 achievement goals, social motivation orientations, and effort in high school physical education classes using contemporary goal theory. A total of 105 ninth and tenth grade students reported their social motivation orientations, achievement goal orientations, and effort toward physical education. All four 2 × 2 achievement goals and three social motivation orientations had positive relationships with students’ self-reported effort in physical education. Further regression analysis revealed that mastery approach, performance avoidance, and social status goal orientations accounted for unique variance in explaining self-reported effort in high school physical education. Thus, students’ social strivings produce constructive outcomes in high school physical education and teachers who are able to promote healthy social climates can reap these benefits.

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Daniel F. Gucciardi, John Mahoney, Geoffrey Jalleh, Robert J. Donovan and Jarred Parkes

Although there is an emerging body of research that has examined perfectionistic clusters in the general population, few studies have explored such profiles in athlete samples. The purposes of this research were to explore perfectionistic profiles within a sample of elite athletes and the differences between them on key motivational variables. A sample of 423 elite athletes (179 males, 244 females) aged between 14 and 66 years (M = 25.64; SD = 8.57) from a variety of team (e.g., rowing, hockey, baseball, rugby) and individual sports (e.g., cycling, athletics, triathlon, gymnastics) completed a multisection questionnaire including measures of sport perfectionism, motivation regulation, achievement goals, and fear of failure. Cluster analyses revealed the existence of three perfectionism profiles, namely, nonperfectionists, maladaptive perfectionists, and adaptive perfectionists. Subsequent analyses generally supported the robustness of these perfectionism profiles in terms of differential motivational orientations (achievement goals, fear of failure, and motivation regulation) in hypothesized directions. Overall, the differences in motivational orientations between the three clusters supported a categorical conceptualization of perfectionism.

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William S. Little and Penny McCullagh

The present study examined the potential interaction effects of using different instructional strategies with intrinsically and extrinsically motivated youths. Subjects whose motivation to participate in sports was either one of intrinsic mastery or extrinsic mastery were randomly placed in one of two instructional groups: knowledge of results (KR) or knowledge of performance (KP). All four groups received a videotaped, modeled demonstration of the skill to be learned, the tennis forehand. Subjects participated in a 3-day acquisition period and a 1-day testing phase, during which both form and outcome scores were recorded. Analysis of acquisition outcome scores yielded no significant differences between motivational orientation or instructional groups. Multivariate analysis of the test phase outcome and form scores revealed significant group differences, as well as significant group-by-motivation and group-by-blocks interactions. Subsequent discriminant analyses indicated that form scores were more affected than outcome scores by the instructional and motivational group manipulations. The interaction results of the test phase supported the prediction of different performance effects as a function of motivational orientation and instructional strategy.

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Windee M. Weiss and Maureen R. Weiss

The purpose of this study was to examine correlates of attraction- and entrapment-based commitment among young competitive female gymnasts. Participants were 124 gymnasts (Levels 9, 10, and Elite) ranging in age from 10 to 18 years. Based on theory and research (Raedeke, 1997; Schmidt & Stein, 1991), commitment profiles were determined based on benefits, costs, enjoyment, personal investments, and attractive alternatives. Three profiles emerged when using cluster analysis. Attracted gymnasts were higher in enjoyment and benefits but lower in costs and attractive alternatives. Entrapped gymnasts were lower in enjoyment and benefits but higher in costs and attractive alternatives. Vulnerable gymnasts were moderately lower in enjoyment and benefits, average in costs, and moderately higher in attractive alternatives. These groups were significantly different on social support, social constraints, motivational orientation, and training behaviors. The three profiles were similar but not identical to Schmidt and Stein’s predicted types of commitment, with each type being further differentiated by social, motivational, and behavioral variables.

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Thelma S. Horn

One of the primary dilemmas surrounding the topic of early sport specialization is whether the practice develops talent or creates long-term psychological problems. The purpose of this paper is to discuss this issue using psychosocial and developmental frameworks. This review begins with an overview of several developmentallybased constructs (e.g., biological maturation, perceived competence, body image, self-identity, motivational orientation) that are relevant to the sport domain. These developmental progressions are then used to address some potential implications for children who begin intensive training and competition at an early age. Next, some socioenvironmental factors are explored, with specific links made to the early sport specialization process. Finally, the paper ends with four recommendations for future research on the topic.

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Herbert W. Marsh

The similarity of the constructs measured by the Perceptions of Success Questionnaire (POS; Roberts, 1993) and the Sports Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ; Gill, 1993) were evaluated using (a) confirmatory factor analyses of responses by 395 high school students (217 males, 178 females, ages 12 to 18) to items adapted from the two instruments and (b) relations to external criteria. Although the POS Mastery and SOQ Goal scales were highly related and reflected task orientation, the SOQ Competitiveness scale was more highly correlated with the POS Mastery and SOQ Goal scales than with the POS Competitiveness scale. Apparently, competitiveness assessed by the SOQ reflects a task orientation, whereas the POS Competitiveness scale reflects primarily an ego orientation. Sport psychologists need to beware of jingle (scales with the same label reflect the same construct) and jangle (scales with different labels measure different construct) fallacies, and pursue construct validity studies more vigorously to test the interpretations of measures.

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Justine B. Allen

Youth sport participants frequently report social reasons for their involvement in sport such as wanting to be part of a team or to be with friends, and social sources of positive and negative affect such as social recognition and parental pressure. Although a social view of sport has been recognized, youth sport motivation researchers have emphasized approaches centered on constructs related to physical ability and have not examined the social aspect of motivation in detail. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the contribution that social goal orientations and perceptions of belonging make toward understanding youth sport motivation. Specifically, female adolescents’ (N = 100) social motivational orientations, achievement goal orientations, perceived belonging, perceived physical ability, and interest in sport were assessed. Results from multiple regression analyses indicated that social motivational constructs added to the explanation of adolescents’ interest in sport.

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Lauren K. Banting, James A. Dimmock and J. Robert Grove

This study examined the effect of motivational primes on participants (N = 171) during a cycling task. Relative to participants primed with a controlled motivational orientation, it was hypothesized that participants primed for autonomous motivation would report greater feelings of enjoyment, effort, and choice in relation to the cycling activity and report greater exercise intentions. Members of the autonomous prime group were expected to exercise for longer, at a greater percentage of their heart rate maximum, and report lower levels of perceived exertion than those in the controlled prime condition. It was found that, relative to participants in the controlled prime group, those who received the autonomous prime enjoyed the exercise more, exercised at a greater percentage of heart rate maximum, and reported a lower rating of perceived exertion. Furthermore, participants experiencing the controlled prime exercised for less time and had lower intentions to exercise than did other participants. Results highlight the importance of automatic processes in activating motivation for exercise.