Motivation in Sport: The Mediating Role of Perceived Ability

Glyn C Roberts, Joan Duda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conducted a field study designed to (1) determine the variables that best predict perceptions of success and failure, (2) examine this relationship for males and females, and (3) investigate the factors that lead to perceptions of demonstrated ability in males and females. 48 female and 49 male undergraduate racquetball players completed a questionnaire assessing their own and opponent's perceived ability, self-confidence, reasons for enrolling in racquetball class, and the importance placed on winning prior to a 2-person racquetball game. Immediately after the contest a 2nd questionnaire was administered that measured perceived satisfaction in the game (subjective success and failure), perceptions of own and opponent's demonstrated ability, and the causal attributions of winners and losers. Regression analyses revealed that perception of demonstrated ability was significantly related to perceptions of success and failure for both men and women. However, males and females used different information variables to determine whether ability had been displayed. For males, outcome and attributions to task difficulty and strategy predicted perceptions of ability; for females, attributions to skill and luck were more important.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-324
JournalJournal of Sport Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1984


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