Thomas Curran *, Andrew, P. Hill **, Howard K. Hall *** and Gareth E. Jowett ***
(*) Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, UK
(**) Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK
(***) Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, York St John University, UK
Curran, T., P. Hill, A., K. Hall, H., E. Jowett, G. (2014). Perceived coach behaviors and athletes’ engagement and disaffection in youth sport: The mediating role of the psychological needs. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 45(6), 559-580. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2014.45.559
Understanding of how coaches influence adolescents’ levels of engagement and disaffection in youth sport is important in light of the high attrition in this population. Grounded in self-determination theory, we proposed and tested a mediation model that describes pathways linking perceptions of coach behavior (autonomy supportive versus controlling) to adolescents’ engagement and disaffection via psychological need satisfaction and thwarting in youth sport. One-hundred and fifty-three adolescent soccer players (Mage = 13.96 ± 1.41) completed a questionnaire that assessed the study variables. Structural equation modelling supported the hypothesised model. Perceptions of autonomy support positively predicted psychological need satisfaction which, in turn, positively predicted engagement. Perceptions of controlling behaviors positively predicted psychological need thwarting which, in turn, positively predicted disaffection. In addition, a number of cross-over paths emerged. The findings substantiate claims that encouraging self-directed action, and reducing controlling behaviors, is critical in order to foster engagement and avoid disaffection in youth sport.
Keywords: Athlete, Autonomy Support, Motivation, Psychological Need Satisfaction