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Psychosocial mechanisms underpinning motivation in youth sports participants

Children’s participation in youth sport is ubiquitous in UK society, yet high levels of attrition are evident in adolescence (Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2012a). This attrition has been credited, in part, to questionable coaching behaviours that derogate children’s experiences in youth sport. Using self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2002) as a guiding framework, the purpose of this thesis was to better understand the coach-related antecedents of children’s adherence and attrition in youth sport by examining the motivational processes that contribute to their engagement versus disaffection. In study one, children’s perceptions of autonomy, competence and relatedness, or psychological need satisfaction, were examined alongside in their tendency to exhibit high levels of cognitive and affective engagement. In study two, a mediation model was tested whereby coach autonomy support and control were hypothesised to exhibit positive indirect effects on children’s engagement and disaffection in youth sport respectively via both psychological need satisfaction and psychological need thwarting. In study three, the previous study was replicated and extended with three waves of data. The final study of this thesis examined the interaction of coach autonomy support and structure to extend the findings of the previous studies. Overall, the findings suggest that structure and autonomy support from coaches will help to safeguard children’s adherence to youth sport because they jointly facilitate psychological need satisfaction and engagement. In contrast, control from coaches is likely to lead to children’s attrition in youth sport since such provisions undermine the psychological needs and produce disaffection.
Date January 2013
CreatorsCurran, Thomas
ContributorsHall, H. ; Hill, A.
PublisherYork St John University College
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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