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How do Dispositional Goal Orientations and Motivational Climate Interact to Affect Goal Valuation and Sport Performance in Athletes?

PHILYAW, KASEY,NICOLE (2021) How do Dispositional Goal Orientations and Motivational Climate Interact to Affect Goal Valuation and Sport Performance in Athletes? Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



What psychological factors drive optimal athletic performance? Drawing on Nicholls’ (1984) achievement goal theory (AGT), this thesis examines how different types of goals modulate the performance of recreational and elite athletes. Within AGT, the goal a person sets is influenced by their ‘dispositional goal orientation’ (DGO) that predisposes them to setting certain types of goals along with the ‘motivational climate’ (MC), which describe the environmental cues that indicate the type of goal that should be adopted. The DGO and MC are characterised in terms of the two conceptions of ability: task and ego. Task involvement is self-referent, focused on effort and mastery of skills. Ego involvement is externally referent, focused on winning, competition and external reward.
This thesis explores sport performance in terms of AGT and seeks to demonstrate which components are best for optimal athletic performance. Critically, gaps in the literature are identified as the lack of: (a) full DGO profiles of athletes accounted for, (b) objective sport performance measures and (c) robust analyses of the interactions between DGOs and MCs on sport performance. To counter this, this thesis’ three experiments (N=138; 139; 154) included both subjective goal value and objective measures of performance as dependent variables, within a moderated regression analysis to test the interactions between MC manipulations and athlete DGO profiles. The key findings were that while task DGO and MC instructions led to higher goal valuation, objective performance was either unrelated to task DGO and MC or was actually optimal in ego MC instructions. Interaction effects also found ego MC to benefit performance in the majority of athlete DGO profiles. These results challenge the dominant narrative in sport psychology that task goals are preferable to ego goals. The implications are centred on reassessment of what constitutes sport performance and the application of factors that enhance it.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:achievement goal theory; dispositional orientation; motivational climate; sport; athlete; performance
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:22 Nov 2021 11:56

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