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Edel Langan, John Toner, Catherine Blake and Chris Lonsdale

We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effects of a self-determination theory-based intervention on athlete motivation and burnout. In addition, we examined the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. We randomly assigned youth Gaelic football coaches (N = 6) and their teams to an experimental or a delayed treatment control group (n = 3 each group). We employed linear mixed modeling to analyze changes in player motivation and burnout as a result of their coach participating in a 12-week SDT-based intervention. In addition, we conducted a fidelity assessment to examine whether the intervention was implemented as planned. The findings demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a self-determination theory-based intervention in the coaching domain. In addition, this study demonstrated favorable trends in the quality of player motivation and burnout symptoms as a result of an SDT-based intervention.

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Thomas Curran, Andrew P. Hill and Christopher P. Niemiec

The potential benefits of children’s engagement in sport for their psychological, social, and physical health are well established. Yet children may also experience psychological and social impairments due, in part, to a variety of detrimental coach behaviors. In the current study, we proposed and tested a conditional process model of children’s self-reported behavioral engagement and behavioral disaffection in sport based on self-determination theory. Results from a sample of 245 youth soccer players suggested that structure from coaches related positively to behavioral engagement and negatively to behavioral disaffection, and that these relations were mediated by athletes’ basic psychological need satisfaction. Importantly, and in line with our hypotheses, these indirect effects were moderated by autonomy support from coaches, such that the mediation was evident only among those who reported higher levels of autonomy support. These findings underscore the importance of coaches’ providing guidance, expectations, and feedback (i.e., structure) in a way that respects athletes’ volition (i.e., autonomy support).

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Pinar Öztürk and Canan Koca

Although a growing body of evidence emphasizes the benefits of physical activity and exercise participation, diverse cultural, social and religious factors prevent girls and women from participating in physical activity and exercise. Recently, women-only gyms have become an important factor in promoting women’s participation in exercise in nonwestern countries, such as Turkey. This study examines the factors that affect the experiences of women who participate in exercise in a women-only gym, in Turkey, by applying self-determination theory (SDT) with a gender perspective. Data were collected through in-depth semistructured interviews with seventeen women and three women instructors and analyzed with thematic analysis. Identified themes are a) regulation of daily life: time of one’s own, b) structured exercise, and c) comfort of being in women-only environments. Findings show that women-only gym satisfies the three basic needs identified by SDT, and reproduce the relationship between exercise and femininity for women. This means that satisfaction of three needs, autonomy, competence, and relatedness, involves gendered meanings for women who exercise in women-only gyms.

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Ashley A. Fenner, Erin K. Howie, Leon M. Straker and Martin S. Hagger

The current study explored whether a multidisciplinary family-based intervention underpinned by self-determination theory could enhance perceptions of parent need support, autonomous motivation, and quality of life in overweight and obese adolescents. Using a staggered-entry waitlist-period control design, adolescents (n = 56) were assessed at baseline and preintervention (within-participant control), immediately following intervention, and at 3, 6, and 12 month follow-ups. Parents were trained in need-supportive behaviors within the broader context of an 8-week multidisciplinary intervention attended jointly with adolescents. Following intervention, significant improvements were demonstrated in adolescent perceptions of parent need support, autonomous motivation, and quality of life, and changes were maintained at the 1-year follow-up. Mediation analyses revealed changes in perceptions of parent need support predicted changes in quality of life indirectly via changes in autonomous motivation. Findings suggest overweight and obese adolescents are likely to benefit from multidisciplinary family-based interventions that aim to train parents in need-supportive behaviors.

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Minyoung Lee, Min Joo Kim, Dongwon Suh, Jungjin Kim, Eunkyoung Jo and BumChul Yoon

Little is known about the effectiveness of self-determination theory (SDT), a representative motivational theory, on exercise domain in older adults. This feasibility study used quantitative and qualitative approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of a 13-month group exercise program applying SDT-based motivational strategies on exercise adherence, physical fitness, and quality of life, and to explore factors affecting exercise adherence in South Korean older adults (N = 18). Exercise attendance rate was high (82.52%). There were significant differences in aerobic endurance (p < .001), lower body strength (p < .05), dynamic balance (p < .001), and perceived social functioning (p < .05) at 13 months compared with baseline. Factors affecting exercise adherence were related to the SDT-based motivational strategies. These results support the importance of health professionals applying SDT-based motivational strategies to exercise programs to help facilitate motivation for participation and to promote physical fitness and quality of life in older adults.

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Clifford J. Mallett

The coach is central to the development of expertise in sport (Bloom, 1985) and is subsequently key to facilitating adaptive forms of motivation to enhance the quality of sport performance (Mallett & Hanrahan, 2004). In designing optimal training environments that are sensitive to the underlying motives of athletes, the coach requires an in-depth understanding of motivation. This paper reports on the application of self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000) to coaching elite athletes. Specifically, the application of SDT to designing an autonomy-supportive motivational climate is outlined, which was used in preparing Australia’s two men’s relay teams for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

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Haichun Sun, Weidong Li and Bo Shen

The purpose of this study was to review the literature relevant to learning in physical education (PE) according to the self-determination theory (SDT). In this literature review, we first provide an overview of SDT. Second, we discuss students’ SDT-related motivational profiles in PE. Third, we illustrate the relationships among students’ perceptions of the nature of an autonomy-supportive or controlling learning environment, need satisfaction, and self-determined motivation. Fourth, we explore the impact of SDT on students’ learning in PE with respect to the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains. Finally, we articulate the pedagogical implications on the basis of the reviewed SDT research and future directions for SDT research in PE.

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Helen M. Milne, Karen E. Wallman, Andrew Guilfoyle, Sandy Gordon and Kerry S. Courneya

The study aim was to examine constructs of autonomy support and competence as well as the motivation continuum from the self-determination theory (SDT) as a framework for understanding physical activity (PA) motivation and behavior in breast cancer survivors. Questionnaires assessing demographics, medical factors, PA, motivation continuum, perceived autonomy support, and competence were completed by 558 breast cancer survivors. Results showed that lymphedema (X2 = 7.9, p < .01) and income (X2 = 4.6, p < .05) were associated with meeting PA guidelines. Moreover, survivors meeting PA guidelines reported more identified regulations and intrinsic motivation (p < .01), autonomy support (p < .01), and competence (p < .01). Forced entry hierarchical regression analysis showed that SDT constructs explained 20.2% (p < .01) of the PA variance. Significant independent SDT predictors included identified regulation (ß = .14, p < .05) and competence (ß = .23, p < .01), with autonomy support approaching significance (ß = .9, p = .057). SDT may be a useful model for understanding PA motivation and behavior in breast cancer survivors.

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Andreas Stenling and Susanne Tafvelin

Leadership development programs are common in sports, but seldom evaluated; hence, we have limited knowledge about what the participants actually learn and the impact these programs have on sports clubs’ daily operations. The purpose of the current study was to integrate a transfer of training model with self-determination theory to understand predictors of learning and training transfer, following a leadership development program among organizational leaders in Swedish sports clubs. Bayesian multilevel path analysis showed that autonomous motivation and an autonomy-supportive implementation of the program positively predicted near transfer (i.e., immediately after the training program) and that perceiving an autonomy-supportive climate in the sports club positively predicted far transfer (i.e., 1 year after the training program). This study extends previous research by integrating a transfer of training model with self-determination theory and identified important motivational factors that predict near and far training transfer.

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Stéphane Perreault and Robert J. Vallerand

Guided by Self-Determination Theory (SDT), the present study examined the sport motivation and coping skills of male and female wheelchair basketball players with and without disability (N = 72). In line with SDT, results showed that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as well as amotivation was found to be present in this sample of wheelchair basketball players. Results also demonstrated that the participants surveyed in the present study scored higher on self-determined types of motivation than non self-determined types of motivation, thus replicating past research with athletes without disability. Furthermore, wheelchair basketball players with and without disability did not differ significantly with respect to sport motivation and coping skills, suggesting that they are more alike than dissimilar. Finally, results revealed that self-determined motivation is associated with enhanced psychological functioning.