Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Aggression in Youth Handball: Relationships between Goal Orientations and Induced Motivational Context

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Aggression in Youth Handball: Relationships between Goal Orientations and Induced Motivational Context

Article excerpt

This study examined the effects of the interaction between young male handball players' goal orientations (13-15 years of age) and induced motivational context (individual vs. collective performance) on observed aggression. Ten handball games, 5 under each induced motivational context, were videotaped and observed on monitor by means of a grid allowing the distinction between instrumental and hostile aggression. The results indicated (a) significant effects of the Induced motivational context and the Motivational Profile; and (b) an interaction between Induced motivational context and Motivational Profile on observed instrumental aggression. In a collective performance-induced context, players classified as being strongly both task-and ego-goal oriented displayed more instrumental aggression compared with those classified as having strong task-goal orientation and low ego-goal orientation.

Keywords: aggression, goal orientation, induced motivational context, handball.

Please address correspondence and reprint requests to 0. Rascle and G. Coulomb, Laboratoire "Didactique, Expertise & Technologie des APS", UFR APS Universite Rennes II, UPRES JE 2068, Campus La Harpe, 35000 Rennes, France.

Phone: 02-99-14-20-50 (International: 332-99-14-20-50); Fax: 02-99-14-17-70 (International: 33299-14-17-70); Email:

Recent studies have found that dispositional and situational variables have a simultaneous influence on the affective and cognitive components of an individual's behaviors, whether dealing with anxiety for physical education students (Papaioannou & Kouli, 1999) and/or with the satisfaction level of male tennis players (Balaguer, Duda, & Crespo, 1999) or female basketball players (Treasure & Roberts, 1998). Unfortunately, to date, the potential effects of both dispositional and situational variables on aggression in (team) sports have not often been addressed. This is particularly true of employing an experimental methodology to examine this research question. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to consider simultaneously the influences of the goal orientations pursued by young male handball players and the induced motivational context on observed aggression. Despite the lack of consensus on the definition of sport aggression, one that is often accepted is behavior which occurs outside the rules of the considered activity and with the intent to harm (Tenenbaum, Stewart, Singer, & Duda, 1997). Without reviewing sport aggression measurements (cf. Stephens, 1998), one of the primary concerns in using self-report measures with an operational definition that includes the intentional aspect is to avoid the social desirability response set (Stephens, Bredemeier, & Shields, 1997). Furthermore, because of the inability to observe underlying intent, we considered that observed-aggression measures could be based on operational definitions which exclude the intentional aspect of the aggression.

Research on the issue of sport aggression consists mainly of two types of studies: that which reports mainly on the individual level of analysis - the dispositional variables - and that which focuses mainly on what Kornadt (1984) called an analysis from the outside - the situational variables. The sociocognitive theory of achievement motivation (Nicholls, 1984) suggested making a precise distinction between the dispositional (goal orientations) and the situational variables (motivational climate). To this end, and although it was not a theory on aggression, that approach seemed to shed new light on the already long-lasting issue of sport aggression. Achievement goal theory (Nicholls, 1984) contends that the demonstration of competence (or at least avoiding the demonstration of a low level of competence) is the major goal in an achievement context such as sport. According to Nicholls' theory, the orientation of the individual towards a certain type of goal depends particularly on the way the individual defines his or her own competence. …

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