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The role of interpersonal control and need thwarting in the prediction of ill-being in sport: a self-determination theory approach

Bartholomew, Kimberley Jane (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Utilizing self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2002) as a framework, the current thesis aimed to explore the social conditions that satisfy versus thwart psychological needs and, in turn, impact upon psychological and physiological functioning and well/ill-being in the sport context. Although research guided by SDT has explored the conditions (i.e., autonomy support) and psychological processes (i.e., need satisfaction) that foster healthy development and effective functioning in athletes, very little research has considered the potential role of interpersonal control and psychological need thwarting in the development of athlete ill-being. To address these limitations, this thesis begins by outlining the development and initial validation of two new questionnaire measures: the Controlling Coach Behaviors Scale (Chapter 2) and the Psychological Need Thwarting Scale (Chapter 3). The new questionnaire measures were subsequently utilized in three studies, reported in Chapter 4. Across all three samples, need satisfaction was better predicted by autonomy-supportive behaviors, and need thwarting was better predicted by coach control. In turn, athletes’ perceptions of need satisfaction predicted positive outcomes (i.e., vitality and positive affect) whereas need thwarting consistently better predicted maladaptive outcomes (i.e., disordered eating, burnout, depression, negative affect, physical symptoms, and perturbed physiological functioning). Such novel findings indicate that controlling interpersonal behaviors and psychological need thwarting represent important aspects of the SDT framework which must be further researched (both in sport and in other life domains) if the development of diminished functioning and ill-being is to be properly understood.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Ntoumanis, Nikos
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Additional Information:

Papers from this thesis are available at and

Subjects:BF Psychology
QP Physiology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1677
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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