Season-long goal striving in sport: An investigation of the temporal interplay between goal motives, coping strategies, and well-being

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  • Ghent University


Using a cross-sectional design, Smith, Ntoumanis, and Duda (2007) supported the selfconcordance model (Sheldon & Elliot, 1999) as a framework for further goal setting research in sport. Expanding upon these findings, the present study examined the goal motives underlying season-long goal striving in sport as well as the role of coping strategies in the goal striving process. Self-report measures of goal motives, effort, and goal attainment (Smith et al., 2007), in addition to measures of goal-related coping strategies, psychological need satisfaction, and psychological well-being (positive affect and life satisfaction), were administered to 97 British athletes at three time-points (start, mid-, and end of season) during a University sport season. Structural equation modeling supported a model—scaled χ2 (26) = 27.42, p > .05, CFI = .99, NNFI = .99, RMSEA = .02 (CI = .00–.08), SRMR = .11—in which autonomous goal motives at the start of the season linked to goal striving during the season through the following sequence: autonomous motives → mid-season effort → end of season attainment → changes in need satisfaction → changes in well-being. Changes in need satisfaction were additionally predicted by the interaction of autonomous motives and goal attainment. Controlled goal motives were found to be unrelated to goal striving. An additional structural model—scaled χ2 (53) = 58.55, p > .05, CFI = .97, NNFI = .96, RMSEA = .03 (CI = .00–.08), SRMR = .11—identified opposing associations of autonomous and controlled goal motives with mid-season effort, via approach and avoidance coping strategies utilized up to mid-season, respectively. The findings provide further support for the adaptation of the self-concordance model to context-specific goal striving in sport as well as demonstrating the differential roles of approach and avoidance coping strategies for goal persistence. These findings will be discussed in relation to the implications for athletes and directions for further research.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-200
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue numberSuppl
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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