Reciprocal relationships between contextual and situational motivation in a sport setting


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Abstract

Objective:The purpose of this investigation was to test the hypothesized reciprocal top-down (TD) and bottom-up (BU) relationships between motivation at one given level and motivation at the next adjacent level in Vallerand's [1997, Toward a hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 271–360). New York: Academic Press] Hierarchical Model of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. These postulates were examined in two studies, whereby the dynamic interplay between motivation toward a specific life domain (i.e., contextual) and the motivation experienced during a specific point in time (i.e., situational) was examined.Method and Results:In Study 1, a sample of collegiate basketball players (N=162) were followed during two games at a pre-season tournament. Reciprocal TD and BU effects between athletes' contextual motivation toward their sport and the situational motivation they experienced during their games were expected. The influence of situational factors such as perceptions of personal and team performance on situational motivation was also examined. Results from path analyses provided support for our hypotheses. Study 2 (N=150) replicated the findings of Study 1 which followed athletes during an entire basketball season. Reciprocal TD and BU effects between athletes' contextual motivation toward their sport and the situational motivation they experienced during games of each half of the season were observed. Moreover, contextual motivation assessed at the end of the season predicted athletes' sustained interest in their sport. Results from Study 2, also provided support for the mediating role of psychological need satisfaction on the relationship between situational factors such as perceptions of personal and team performance on athletes' situational motivation experienced during games.Conclusion:Implications for intrinsic/extrinsic motivation theory and research in the sports domain are discussed.

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