Quested, Eleanor (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Vocational dancers are anecdotally regarded as a group ‘at risk’ of compromised health. Yet little is known of the antecedents of variability in positive and negative indicators of dancers’ welfare. Grounded in the basic needs theory (Deci and Ryan, 2000), a mini-theory of the self-determination framework (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000) this thesis examined the social-psychological predictors of indices of well- and ill-being among vocational dancers. In study one, the inter-relationships between dancers’ perceptions of the social environment, basic psychological need satisfaction (BPNS) and reported affective states and exhaustion were explored via structural equation modeling. In study two, changes in autonomy support and BPNS were modeled as predictors of changes in dancers’ burnout during the academic year. Multilevel modeling techniques were employed to examine a) perceptions of autonomy support and BPNS as predictors of dancers’ daily affective states in learning and performance contexts (study three); and b) whether BPNS was relevant to dancers’ cognitive appraisals and hormonal and emotional responses in ‘real life’ performance settings (study four). Overall, this thesis partially supports the tenets of basic needs theory. Findings point to the importance of need supportive environments if elite performers are to experience sustained and optimal physical and psychological health.
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