Daily fluctuations in the affective states of dancers: A cross-situational test of basic needs theory

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  • The University of Hong Kong


Objectives This study tested the generalizability of basic needs theory (BNT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) across situations in which dancers learn and perform within vocational dance. Specifically, we examined the inter-relationships between daily and typical perceptions of autonomy support, basic psychological need satisfaction, and changes in affective states, across dance situations that were divergent in their learning and evaluative potential (dance classes, rehearsals, and performances). Genre differences were also examined. Design A one-month diary study examined the inter-relationships between typical and daily perceptions of autonomy support, basic psychological need satisfaction and positive and negative affect among dancers studying three distinct genres and in three situations (classes, rehearsals, performances). Method Fifty-five dancers completed a series of scales tapping the variables of interest. Abbreviated versions of the scales were completed before (affective states) and after (affective states, basic needs and autonomy support) dance classes, rehearsals and performances over four weeks. Analyzes tested the BNT sequence across the learning and performance situations. Interactions between typical and state experiences were tested. Cross-genre comparisons were also made. Results Results partially supported the BNT sequence across classes, rehearsals and performances. There were situational differences in the salience of each need as a predictor of affective states. When comparing genres, some differences were also found in perceived autonomy support, basic need satisfaction and affective states. Conclusions Findings point to the importance of promoting autonomy supportive dance teaching to facilitate dancers' day-to-day experiences of well-being.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-595
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Basic needs, Autonomy, Competence, Relatedness, Autonomy support, Dance