Athletes’ Psychological Needs and Coaches’ Interpersonal Behaviours: a Within-Person Latent Profile Analysis

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Abstract

Abstract:
Basic Psychological Needs Theory is limited by variable-centered studies focused on linear relationships between perceived needssupportive/controlling coach behaviours. Therefore, Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) was used to determine if heterogenous profiles emerged from the interactive effects of needs-supportive and controlling coach behaviors, and subsequent association with sports-specific mental health outcomes (i.e., burnout and subjective vitality). A total of 685 athletes took part (age = 23.39, 71% = male), and LPA revealed five novel, diverse profiles, labelled as; ‘Supportive-Developmental’, ‘NeedsIndifferent’, ‘Overly Critical’, ‘Harsh-Controlling’ and ‘Distant-Controlling’ coaches. Profiles predicted significant mental health variance (adjusted R2=.15 to .24), wherein the ‘Supportive-Developmental’ profile scored most favourably on 90% of outcomes. Largest mean differences were observed against the ‘Harsh-Controlling’ (n=5), ‘Overly Critical’ (n=3) and ‘Distant Controlling’(n=2) profiles. Overall, LPA revealed substantial nuance in athletes’ social contexts, predicting variance in mental health. Needs-supportive interventions are needed for ‘Overly Critical’, ‘Harsh Controlling’ and ‘Distant Controlling’ athlete profiles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Sep 2020

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