Self-determination of contextual motivation, inter-context dynamics and adolescents' patterns of sport participation over time

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Objectives:Previous studies have shown the heuristic qualities of self-determination theory constructs to predict sport persistence. The purpose of this study was to extend these researches by focusing on the conflicting or instrumental relationship between sport and other life contexts (i.e., school and friendship) to enhance the understanding of this phenomenon.Design:A correlational longitudinal field design was used, including two data collections over 1 year.Method:Participants were 446 French high school students (mean age=13.85). Self-determined motivation toward sport, school and friendship, perceived conflicts versus instrumental relationships between sport and the other contexts, and sport participation during leisure time were assessed at wave 1. One year later, participants completed the same self-report measure of sport practise.Results:Structural equation modelling revealed that (a) self-determined motivation toward sport, education and friendship was significantly related to the levels of conflict and instrumentality between those contexts and (b) a competing relationship between sport and education was negatively linked to sport participation at Time 2, whereas the other inter context relationships were not.Conclusion:Findings suggest that other contexts like education can undermine sport investment among adolescents.

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