Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

The Influence of Parents on Achievement Orientation and Motivation for Sport of Adolescent Athletes with and without Disabilities

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

The Influence of Parents on Achievement Orientation and Motivation for Sport of Adolescent Athletes with and without Disabilities

Article excerpt

For the past two decades, research has consistently linked sports participation to a variety of physical and psychosocial benefits such as quality of life and emotional well-being (Donaldson & Ronan, 2006; Giacobbi, Standi, Hardin, & Bryant, 2008; Mactavish, Mackay, Betteridge, & Iwasaki, 2007), and it has been identified as an important factor in reducing the risk of many health problems including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and obesity (Blair, 2009; Moliner-Urdiales et al., 2010). However, despite the evidence regarding the benefits of sport, youth participation rates are low, both for persons with and without disabilities (Kristen, Patrikson, & Fridlund, 2003; Ortega et al., 2010; USDHHS, 2003).

To help more youth reap the potential benefits of sport participation, more needs to be known about what influences motivation in sports (Stuntz & Weiss, 2009). Thus, identifying the mechanisms associated with sport motivation in the general population, and in particular for persons with disabilities, has become an important area of research (Driver, 2006; McAuley & Blissimer, 2000).

From the beginning of the "adapted" sports movement in the mid-1930s, the participation of people with disabilities in sports activities has been promoted mainly as a therapeutic activity, designed both for the functional recovery of the individual and as an aid toward social integration, regarding adapted sports as a means toward a utilitarian end (DePauw, 2000). As noted by Bedini and Anderson (2005), Causgrove Dunn and Dunn (2006) and Kosma, Cardinal and Pùntala (2002), the benefits of physical activity among individuals with disabilities have been well documented; however, very few people with disabilities are physically active compared to people without disabilities. One reason for this situation might be low motivation to participate in sports, therefore it is of paramount importance to carry out further research in order to identify optimal strategies to increase motivation among individuals with disabilities toward sport practices and healthy, active lifestyles, including an examination of the roles parents can play with regard to motivation.

Therefore, the purpose of our research was three-fold: (a) To analyze the psychometric properties of the Spanish version of measures to assess athletes' goal orientations, athletes' perceptions of parents' goal orientations, and athletes' intrinsic motivation, (b) To study the relationship among athletes' perceptions of their parents' goal orientations and their own goal orientations and intrinsic motivation when engaged in sports, (c) To examine if there are differences between athletes with and without disabilities with respect to the influence of parents on athletes' achievement orientation and motivation for sport.

Literature review

Achievement Goal Orientations

Achievement goal theory is a widespread theoretical perspective for studying motivation in sport (Bortoli, Bertollo, & Robazza, 2009). Two constructs of the theory have received special attention in sport literature, namely task orientation and ego orientation (Roberts, Treasure, & Conroy, 2007). A central theme in goal perspective theory is that an individual uses task- and/or ego-oriented criteria to evaluate success and competence (Nicholls, 1989; Roberts, 2001). For example, success and competence for the individual high in task orientation is determined by employing self-referenced criteria. That is, the individual focuses on learning something new, personal improvement, and/or meeting the demands of the task (Duda, 2005; Roberts, 2001). In fact, the person high in task orientation feels most successful when he or she has exerted high levels of effort and observed mastery of a skUl. The ego-oriented individual judges feelings of competence and adequacy by employing normative or other-referenced criteria, and therefore defines success in terms of whether he or she won and how superior his/her ability was in comparison to that of others (White, 1998). …

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