Autonomy support for children and adolescents: A systematic review of the effectiveness of interventions with PE teachers and youth coaches
1Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen; 2Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and depression (Cavill, Kahlmeier, & Racioppi, 2006). Nevertheless, many individuals adhere to sedentary lifestyles (WHO, 2016), emphasizing the importance of instilling a preference for an active lifestyle at an early age. Previous researchers consider motivation a key determinant of physical activity (e.g., Sebire, Jago, Fox, Edwards, & Thompson, 2013) and point to various social factors which can impact children’s and adolescents’ motivation (e.g., Vallerand & Losier, 1999). In physical education (PE) and youth sport, teachers and coaches represent two of the most meaningful influences. Specifically, the more students and athletes evaluate their teachers and coaches to be autonomy-supportive, as opposed to controlling, the more self-determined they are in their motivation to engage in PE and sport (e.g., Adie, Duda, & Ntoumanis, 2012). Therefore, it appears valuable for researchers to help teachers and coaches optimize their interactions with the individuals they work with. However, there is currently no comprehensive overview with respect to the effectiveness of such interventions. Consequently, the current research was designed to systematically review the literature related to autonomy support interventions with PE teachers and youth coaches. The primary purpose of this study was to analyze the effectiveness of interventions in enhancing teachers’ and coaches’ behavior as well as students’ and athletes’ basic psychological need satisfaction, motivation. A search of relevant databases revealed 2'748 potentially pertinent articles, which were subsequently reviewed by two independent researchers. Based on well-defined inclusion criteria, this systematic process helped to identify 18 studies, which included seven cluster randomized controlled trials (CRCT), five controlled trials (CT), and six non-controlled trials (NCT). Overall, the present research found that interventions in the reviewed studies had a significant positive influence on more than half of the assessed variables. The number of significant effects increased from 42.9% for NCTs to 51.3% for CTs and 74.5% for CRCTs. Furthermore, more positive significant effects were found for variables assessed in the PE setting (74.4%) compared to those in organized sport (10.7%). Interventions were most successful in enhancing teachers’ and coaches’ perceptions toward autonomy support (Mdn(d) = 1.28), while the lowest level of significance was found for students’ and athletes’ motivation (Mdn(d) = 0.29). Thus, further research appears justified to foster self-determined motivation among children and adolescence. How to use information obtained from this systematic review to shape future interventions with teachers and coaches will be discussed.
Coaching optimal youth athletes: Understanding the construct of mental toughness in youth sport
University of Tennessee
Youth sport is a global market with countless child and adolescent participants. Handling the challenges associated with sport (e.g., coping with mistakes, losses) and developing self-regulation skills are important for athletes’ enjoyment and performance. Youth sport coaches are in an ideal position for helping young athletes develop skills that nurture mental toughness. Anecdotally, the phrase “mental toughness” resonates with coaches and is commonly used to describe qualities associated with top performers who strive through adversity. Using Personal Construct Psychology (Kelly, 1955, 1991) as a theoretical lens, Gucciardi and colleagues (2009) identified eight characteristics that represent the construct of mental toughness (i.e., resilience, attentional control, success mindset, sport knowledge, self-regulation, optimistic thinking, handle challenge). While many researchers have examined the mental toughness qualities of elite adult athletes (Connaughton, Wadey, Hanton, & Jones, 2008; Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002; Weinberg, Butt, & Culp, 2011), few studies have assessed mental toughness in youth sport athletes (Mills, Butt, Maynard, & Harwood, 2012; Oliver, Hardy, & Markland, 2010). The purpose of the study was to explore coaches’ perceptions of mental toughness in youth athletes. Youth sport coaches (117 males, 35 females; Mage = 42.63, SD = 12.31) completed an online survey related to the age category of the youth athletes they coach (e.g., 7-9 years, 10-12 years, 13-15 years, 16-18 years). Scaled questioned asked participants to rate the extent to which components of mental toughness (Gucciardi et al., 2009) were relevant and important for youth athletes in the age category they coached. Open-ended items asked coaches to define and describe the characteristics of mental toughness for youth athletes they coached. A deductive quantitative analysis (i.e., Chi Squared tests) of the scaled items indicated that a significantly higher percentage of coaches who coached older athletes perceived sport knowledge and self-regulation to be more relevant to mental toughness than those who coached younger athletes. Though differences were not statistically significant, results also indicated that coaches who coached older athletes perceived success mindset and self-regulation to be more important attributes for mental toughness than those who coached younger athletes. A qualitative analysis (i.e., thematic content analysis; Braun & Clark, 2006) of open-ended items revealed that coaches across age groups described mental toughness as an ability to respond to adverse circumstances; however, mental toughness may also be conceptualized differently by age group. Therefore, more research is needed to understand the meaning of mental toughness in youth sport athletes.
Acculturation through youth sport
1University of Copenhagen; 2University of Thessaly; 3University of Cumbria
In culturally diverse societies, sport is increasingly promoted as a means for social integration, particularly in youth. Taking part in sport is said to facilitate feelings of belonging, to bridge cultural differences, and to promote positive intercultural relationships. Recent studies on the integrative role of sport have mainly utilized Berry's (1997) model which describes different acculturation strategies based on the interaction of individuals' (a) wish to maintain their cultural identity and (b) their desire to interact with other cultures. Studies indicate that youth participation in organized sport may be linked to behaviors favoring adaptive intercultural strategies for both migrant and host populations thereby promoting integration and multiculturalism. However, the coach’s behavior and how s/he structures the sport environment is decisive for whether desirable outcomes towards the goal of integration can be achieved. Research on the role of sport as a context for the acculturation of young migrants, however, has mainly focused on migrant populations. Considering that acculturation is a two-way process involving both the migrant and the host populations, research investigating the perspective of the hosts will enhance our understanding of the acculturation process. The purpose of the present study was to explore acculturation attitudes and perceptions of adolescents from the host population as a function of sport participation, and, for those participating in sport, to investigate the role of the sport motivational climate. A cross-sectional quantitative design was adopted in this study. Participants were 626 (316 girls) Greek, high school students (13.88 ± 1.01 years of age). Among them, 271 (92 girls) were athletes competing in individual and team sports. While all participants completed measures of acculturation attitudes, the athletes additionally completed measures of motivational climate, basic need satisfaction, and controlling coaching behavior. Results showed that athletes scored higher than non-athletes on attitudes towards multicultural contact. Analysis of structural models revealed that a motivational climate characterized by a mastery climate, supportive of the needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, was positively linked to attitudes favoring migrants’ maintenance of their culture and development of interaction with the host culture, whereas a motivational climate characterized by a performance climate and controlling coaching behavior was negatively linked to such attitudes. In sum, this study provides evidence on how to create and promote sport environments that are conducive for facilitating positive acculturation outcomes, which is relevant for sport coaches and policy makers.
The transition out of competitive sport: A systematic review of evaluated interventions
1Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; 2Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
The research on talent development mainly focusses on those athletes who have the potential to perform at an elite level in their discipline (e.g., Vaeyens, Lenior, Williams, & Philippaerts, 2008). However, the majority of athletes eventually drop out of elite sport for a variety of reasons (e.g., release; Raabe, Zakrajsek, Bass, & Readdy, 2017) and only an extremely small percentage of individuals reach the professional level (Höner, Kelava, & Leyhr, 2016). Thus, most athletes are forced to transition out of competitive sport before they begin to truly conceptualize retirement (Torregrosa, Boixados, Valiente, & Cruz, 2004). These experiences are frequently characterized by a number of physical, psychological, and social challenges (Pearson & Petitpas, 1990; Wippert & Wippert, 2008). This dilemma emphasizes the importance of implementing programs to more optimally help athletes prepare for and manage this transitional period. Accordingly, the purpose of the current research was to systematically review the literature related to evaluated interventions aimed at enhancing athletes’ transition out of competitive sport. Following the guidelines of the PRISMA Statement (Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, Altman, & The PRISMA Group, 2009), 11'252 potentially relevant articles were initially found. Through stepwise selection procedures and by means of well-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, two independent researchers subsequently identified ten adequate articles that were included for further review. Among those studies, no interventions specifically targeted children or adolescents. The PEDro Scale (Maher, Sherrington, Herbert, Moseley, & Elkins, 2003) was used to assess the methodological quality of the included studies, which was found to be relatively low. Overall, program participants reported high satisfaction rates with the interventions. In three studies researchers utilized a longitudinal design with control group and only found statistically significant improvements with regard to individuals’ coping measures and decision-making self-efficacy (p < .01; 0.87 < d < 8.59). In contrast, when using qualitative designs researchers reported improvements in a variety of areas (e.g., heightened crisis awareness and sense of control). In sum, three program components were found to be most valuable for helping athletes transition out of competitive sport: (a) managing the emotional impact, (b) goal-setting strategies, and (c) transfer of life skills. In this presentation relevant theoretical and practical findings for researchers and sport psychology professionals will be highlighted. In addition, the transferability of the program contents to younger athletes will be discussed by drawing parallels to the content of similar programs from non-sport settings.