Motivation and elite performance : an exploratory investigation with Bulgarian athletes

Authors: Chantal, Yves; Guay, Frédéric; Dobreva-Martinova, Tzvetanka; Vallerand, Robert J.
Abstract: A sample of 98 Bulgarian top athletes (35 females and 63 males): canoeists, biathletes, figure skaters, boxers, tennis players and skiers, were investigated to explore the motivation of elite sport athletes and to determine the effects of motivation on performance. Participants' athletic performances in national and international events over 2 years (September 1990 to November 1992) was documented. Participants also completed the Bulgarian version of the Sport Motivation Scale (Brière, Vallerand, Blais, & Pelletier, in press; Pelletier, Fortier, Vallerand, Tuson, Brière, & Blais, International Journal of Sport Psychology, 1995). The SMS, which is based on the tenets of Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, Vol. 38, pp.237-288, 1991), assesses: intrinsic motivation, self-determined extrinsic motivation, non-self-determined extrinsic motivation, and amotivation. Results indicated that, in comparison with less successful athletes, title and medal holders displayed higher levels of non-self-determined extrinsic motivation and higher levels of amotivation. With respect to gender, the motivation of female athletes was more strongly characterized by intrinsic motivation. Results are discussed in light of Self-Determination Theory and the cultural context which prevailed in Bulgaria at the time of the investigation. It was found that non-self determined types of motivation (for example gaining medals) were more prominent among the best performing athletes, and female athletes displayed higher levels of intrinsic motivation (such as performing to the best of their ability) than their male counterparts. It is concluded that these results highlight the role of motivation in elite sport performance.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 1 January 1996
Open Access Date: 10 May 2017
Document version: VoR
This document was published in: International Journal of Sport Psychology, Vol. 27 (2), 173–182 (1996)
Meyer & Meyer Sport
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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