Peer-Created Motivational Climate

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Millions of children and adolescents participate in organized sport programs every year (Weinberg & Gould, 2003). Through sport participation young athletes have the opportunity to interact with and relate to their peers, and it has been shown that peer relationships can contribute to the quality of physical activity experiences of children and adolescents (Smith, 2003). Despite the relevance of peers in shaping athletes’ experience of sport, only recently has research examined peers as essential contributors to the overall social environment in youth sport. Topics such as the link between peer acceptance and perceived athletic competence, sources of competence information, physical self-worth and affect, friendship
quality, and moral development are some of the areas that have attracted attention in the youth sport psychology literature (see Smith, 2003; Weiss & Stuntz, 2004). At this juncture, it would be useful to distinguish between friendships and peer relationships. Friendships are close dyadic relationships, while peer relationships are interactions among several individuals familiar to one another (Smith, 2003; also see chapter 4).

In this chapter we discuss how peer relationships among team members relate to young athletes’ achievement motivation in sport. To date, research on young athletes’ motivation has mainly examined their motives for sport participation, their sources and conceptions of ability, and how these relate to different achievement goals (Weiss & Williams, 2004). However, there is a scarcity of research on how peer-held criteria for success and failure are communicated to team members and how these criteria affect young athletes’ achievement motivation. It is our position that peers are important contributors to the motivational climate in individual and team sport. We argue that peer use of self-referenced or comparative criteria for judging competence and inferring success and failure can predict young athletes’ achievement motivation relatively independent of coach or parent influence.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Psychology in Sport
Publication statusPublished - 2007