Daily fluctuations in the affective states of dancers: A cross-situational test of basic needs theory

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Abstract

Objectives:

This study tested the generalizability of basic needs theory (BNT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) across situations in which dancers learn and perform within vocational dance. Specifically, we examined the inter-relationships between daily and typical perceptions of autonomy support, basic psychological need satisfaction, and changes in affective states, across dance situations that were divergent in their learning and evaluative potential (dance classes, rehearsals, and performances). Genre differences were also examined.

Design:

A one-month diary study examined the inter-relationships between typical and daily perceptions of autonomy support, basic psychological need satisfaction and positive and negative affect among dancers studying three distinct genres and in three situations (classes, rehearsals, performances).

Method:

Fifty-five dancers completed a series of scales tapping the variables of interest. Abbreviated versions of the scales were completed before (affective states) and after (affective states, basic needs and autonomy support) dance classes, rehearsals and performances over four weeks. Analyzes tested the BNT sequence across the learning and performance situations. Interactions between typical and state experiences were tested. Cross-genre comparisons were also made.

Results:

Results partially supported the BNT sequence across classes, rehearsals and performances. There were situational differences in the salience of each need as a predictor of affective states. When comparing genres, some differences were also found in perceived autonomy support, basic need satisfaction and affective states.

Conclusions:

Findings point to the importance of promoting autonomy supportive dance teaching to facilitate dancers' day-to-day experiences of well-being.

Highlights

▸ Cross-contextual test of the basic needs theory framework in different learning and performance settings. ▸ Within and between person analyzes partially support the tenets of self-determination theory. ▸ Autonomy supportive training environments are vital for dancers' day-to-day and long-term psychological health.

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