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Adolescent athletes' self-determination in


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ecember
2016
VOLUME 2

COACHING
ISSUE 7

NATIONAL COACHING
ACADEMY
JOURNAL NATIONAl
SPORTS INSTITUTE
OF MALAYSIA

realising
dreams
oaching
journal
NATIONAL
COACHING
ACADEMY

ADOLESCENT ATHLETES’
SELF - DETERMINATION
IN SPORTS
1 
Physical Education and Health Department, Institute of Teacher Education Tun Abdul
Razak Campus, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia
2
Sports Centre, University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3
Exercise and Sports Science Programme, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains
Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia
4
Unit of Biostatistics and Research Methodology, School of Medical Sciences,
NGIEN-SIONG CHIN1 Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia
ENG-WAH TEO2
GARRY KUAN3
YEE-CHENG KUEH4
LIM BOON HOI5

ABSTRACT This study used the self-determination theory to investigate gender, age groups and
locality differences in adolescent athletes’ intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and
amotivation in sports. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 205 (131 male, 74
female) athletes from the under 15 and 21 years age groups (15.53 ± 2.37 years).
The participants completed the Sports Motivation Scale. Results found main age effect for
intrinsic F(1, 197) = 9.15, p < 0.05 and extrinsic motivation F(1, 197) = 6.96, p < 0.05
and main gender effect for intrinsic F(1,197)= 10.56, p < 0.05 and extrinsic motivation
F(1,197)= 11.52, p < 0.05 . However, there is no locality effect for all subscales. There
are no significant interaction effect between gender, age group and locality for intrinsic
motivation F(1, 197) = 0.03, p > 0.05, extrinsic motivation F(1, 197) = 0.11, p > 0.05,
and amotivation F(1, 197)= 0.44, p > 0.05.

KEYWORDS: adolescent athletes, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, amotivation

INTRODUCTION Understanding motivation, its antecedents and associations with behaviour though the
self-determination theory5 have generated insights into the motives underlying learners’
engagement in physical education and sports.

The self-determination theory5 focuses on the degree to which human behaviors are
self-determined based on three innate psychological needs (autonomy, competence,
relatedness) which played a central role in motivated behavior. The varying types of
motivation have been defined according to the degrees in which the type of motivation
reflects self-determination. The various types of motivation fall at different points along
a self-determination continuum. This continuum runs from high to low levels of self-
determination, as ones moves from intrinsic motivation to extrinsic motivation to
amotivation.5 Intrinsic motivation is defined as the doing of an activity for its inherent
satisfactions rather than for some discrete consequence.11. It is the highest degree of
self-determination and refers to situations in which individuals freely engage in activities
that they find interesting and enjoyable and which offer the opportunity for learning.13
Extrinsic motivation refers to a situation where an individual engages in an activity for an
instrumental purpose as a means to an end and not for their own sake.5 It is a behavior
that is regulated by rewards and constraints where sports is performed not for fun but to
attain rewards or to avoid negative consequences. Amotivation is defined as absence of
motivation or intention to act.11. The more self-determined motivation tends to contribute
to positive outcomes (e.g., concentration, effort, positive affect) than the less determined
motivation.3

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Among the factors that influence athletes’ self-determination are socio-demographic


characteristics like gender, age and locality. Athletes’ self-determination profiles were
found to differ in gender whereby female displayed higher self-determined motivational
profile than males in a diversity of sports and physical education context.7 Other studies
have shown that extrinsically-motivated male athletes tend to focus on rewards and
recognition whereas intrinsically-motivated female athletes focused more on fun and task
mastery.12 In contrast, males were found to have higher levels of self-determined types
of motivation than females.18

Studies on age and motivation have shown different types of motivation among younger
and older students. 7found a decrease in intrinsic motivation and from age 9 to 12 and
a slow stabilization until 15 years followed by an increase among 1600 elementary and
high school students aged 9 – 17 years. Similarly, younger students had higher intrinsic
motivation than older athletes participating in physical education.1,6 In addition, younger
athletes were found to be more extrinsically motivated than older athletes whereas older
athletes showed greater amotivation.12

Few empricial studies have looked at the types of motivation as a function of locality.
A study on adolescent athletes found urban athletes have higher intrinsic motivation
than rural athletes due to access to better facilities, funding, services and support from
significant others.4 In addition, 9 showed that sports involvement had a positive influence
on self-esteem and social competence among urban school children. Urban school youth
have shown that sports involvement has positive influences on self-esteem and social
competence on sports.2 The lack of resources and economic constraints such as its
remoteness, being socioeconomically disadvantaged, with limited facilities, funding and
opportunities have led to a lack of motivation and success among rural athletes.8 The
purpose of this study was to examine gender, age group and locality differences on the
types of motivation of adolescent athletes.

METHODS 2.1 PARTICIPANTS


The sample consisted of 205 (131 males and 283 females) adolescent athletes who
were from the Sarawak State Sports School and participants of the 16th Malaysian Games
which is a high end national level competition. The athletes were considered the best in
their respective sports in Sarawak. Permission was granted by the Sarawak State Sports
Council, Sarawak Education Department, team managers and coaches.

2.2 MEASURES
This study used the 28-item Sport Motivation Scale (SMS) that assessed intrinsic
motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation of adolescent athletes. The SMS is based
on self-determination theory and was designed to assess contextual intrinsic motivation,
extrinsic motivation, and amotivation. Athletes responded to the item “Why do you
practice your sport?” with responses from a Likert-type scale that ranges from 1 (does not
correspond at all) to 7 (corresponds exactly). The SMS consists of seven subscales with
four items attached to each. The SMS showed good validity and reliability in sports and
physical education settings. 4, 13

RESULTS There were good reliability for all the scales as shown in Table 1. The cronbach’s
alpha coefficients for the full SMS, and the intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and
amotivation subscales were 0.91, 0.88, 0.87 and 0.65 respectively.

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Table 1: Internal Consistency of Sports Motivation Scale

SCALE CRONBACH’S ALPHA


Overall SMS questionnaire 0.91*
Intrinsic Motivation (IM) 0.88*
IM to Know 0.75*
IM Experience Situation 0.66
IM to Accomplish 0.71*
Extrinsic Motivation (EM) 0.87*
EM External Regulation 0.71*
EM Introjection 0.67
EM Identification 0.80*
Amotivation 0.65
3.2 Socio-demographic characteristics of participants

Table 2 shows the socio-demographic characteristics of participants. Two hundred and


five adolescent athletes (male=131, female=74, 15.53 ± 2.37) participated in this study.
About 47.3% of the participants are below 15 years old. Majority of the participants are
Malay (35.1%) or Iban (32.7%) followed by Bidayuh (13.7%) and Indians (3.4%).
One quarter of the participants have less than 3 years of experience (25.9%) while the
majority has 3-6.9 years of experience. Participants have different level of experience;
district (19%), division (18%), state (58.5%) and national (4.4%). Majority of the
participants (n=180, 87.8%) are still schooling (high school), 15 (7.3%) are studying
at university while 10 (4.9%) had started working. One hundred and twenty three (60%)
are from urban areas. Most of the athletes are from Kuching (52.7%) and Samarahan
(18.5%) while other athletes are spread all across the state of Sarawak.

Table 2: Demographic characteristics

VARIABLES N %
Gender Male 131 63.9%
Female 74 36.1%
5.53 ±
Age (yr) <15 yrs 2.37 47.3%
>15 yrs 97 52.7%
108
Race Iban 67 32.7
Bidayuh 28 13.7
Chinese 22 10.7
Malay 72 35.1
India 7 3.4
Bumiputera 9 4.4
Age 0-2.9 yrs 39 19%
3-4.9 yrs 50 24.4%
5-6.9 yrs 54 26.3%
7-8.9 yrs 42 20.5%
>9 yrs 20 9.8%

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Cont. Table 2: Demographic characteristics

VARIABLES N %
Years of competing 0-2.9 yrs 53 25.9%
3-4.9 yrs 56 27.3%
5-6.9 yrs 60 29.3%
7-8.9 yrs 31 15.1%
>9 yrs 5 2.4%
Level of competition District 39 19%
Division 37 18%
State 120 58.5%
Country 9 4.4%
Type of school Secondary 180 87.8
IPG/IPT 15 7.3
Working 10 4.9
Locality Urban 123 60.0
Rural 82 40.0
Town Kuching 108 52.7
Sri Aman 11 5.4
Sibu 14 6.8
Miri 6 2.9
Limbang 7 3.4
Sarikei 4 2.0
Kapit 7 3.4
Samarahan 38 18.5
Bintulu 3 1.5
Mukah 2 1.0
Betong 5 2.4

A 2 × 2 × 2 (gender × age group × locality) analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted


to examine the effect of gender, age group and locality on intrinsic motivation, extrinsic
motivation and amotivation. Table 3 shows the mean and standard deviations for intrinsic
motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation by gender, age group and locality.

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Table 3: Analysis of variance for intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and


amotivation as a function of age group, gender, and locality

VARIABLE df MnSq F Sig. n²


Intrinsic Motivation 1 6.82 9.15 0.00* 0.044
Age 1 7.87 10.56 0.00* 0.051
Gender 1 0.15 0.20 0.66 0.001
Location 1 0.96 1.29 0.26 0.007
age x gender 1 0.04 0.05 0.92 0.000
age x location 1 0.13 0.17 0.68 0.001
gender x location 1 0.02 0.03 0.88 0.000
age x gender x location

Extrinsic Motivation 1 5.90 6.96 0.01* 0.034


Age 1 9.77 11.52 0.00* 0.055
Gender 1 0.85 1.01 0.32 0.005
Location 1 0.74 0.87 0.35 0.004
age x gender 1 0.05 0.06 0.80 0.000
age x location 1 0.20 0.23 0.63 0.001
gender x location 1 0.00 0.11 0.74 0.001
age x gender x location

Amotivation
Age 1 0.18 0.12 0.73 0.001
Gender 1 0.49 0.00 0.56 0.002
Location 1 0.14 0.10 0.76 0.000
age x gender 1 0.31 0.21 0.65 0.001
age x location 1 0.40 0.27 0.61 0.001
gender x location 1 3.21 2.16 0.14 0.011
age x gender x location 1 0.65 0.44 0.51 0.002
p< 0.05

Table 3 shows the ANOVAs for intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation
as a function of gender, age group and locality. The ANOVA for intrinsic motivation (IM)
revealed that there were significant main effects for age group [F(1,197) = 9.15, p <
0.05], sex [F(1, 197) = 10.56, p < 0.05] but no significant main effect for locality
[F(1,197) =0.20, p > 0.05]. There was no significant interaction between age x gender
[F(1, 197) = 1.29, p > 0.05, partial n2 =0.007], age x location [F(1, 197) = 0.05, p
> 0.05, partial n2 = 0.000], gender x locality [F(1, 197) = 0.17, p > 0.05, partial n2 =
0.001]. There are also no age x gender x locality interaction effect [F(1, 197) = 0.03, p
> 0.05, partial n2 = 0.000].

The ANOVA for extrinsic motivation (EM) revealed that there were significant main effects
for age group [F(1,197) = 6.96, p < 0.05], gender [F(1, 197) = 9.77, p < 0.05] but no
significant main effect for locality [F(1,197) =0.85, p > 0.05]. There was no significant
interaction between age x gender [F(1, 197) = 0.87, p > 0.05, partial n2 =0.004], age
x location [F(1, 197) = 0.06, p > 0.05, partial n2 = 0.000], sex x locality [F(1, 197) =
0.23, p > 0.05, partial n2 = 0.001]. There are also no age x gender x locality interaction
effect [F(1, 197) = 0.11, p > 0.05, partial n2 = 0.001].

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The ANOVA for amotivation (AM) revealed that there were no significant main effects for
age group [F(1,197) = 0.12, p > 0.05], gender [F(1, 197) = 0.00, p > 0.05], and
locality [F(1,197) =0.10, p > 0.05]. There was no significant interaction between age
x gender [F(1, 197) = 0.21, p > 0.05, partial n2 =0.001], age x location [F(1, 197)
= 0.27, p > 0.05, partial n2 = 0.001], gender x locality [F(1, 197) = 2.16, p > 0.05,
partial n2 = 0.011]. There are also no age x gender x locality interaction effect [F(1, 197)
= 0.44, p > 0.05, partial n2 = 0.002]

DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to examine athletes’ self-determination in sports. The
findings of this study showed that male athletes were intrinsically and extrinsically more
motivated than female athletes. Intrinsically motivated male athletes could have found
sports participation to be interesting, enjoyable, satisfying and look for development of
skills and competency, personal accomplishment and excitement in training.

Male athletes who enjoyed athletics have higher perceived competence and are more
likely to make continued engagement in sports. Therefore, it is necessary to improve
perceived competence among female athletes through a wide range of activities according
to their athletic abilities that can enhance their intrinsic motivation accordingly. In line
with current studies7, the findings revealed that older athletes having higher intrinsic and
extrinsic motivation than younger athletes. Conversely, students’ participation in physical
education were found to decline from 5th to 7th and 9th grade.

A motivational climate that involves the task has develops intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
among the older athletes. This is in line with14 study which showed high motivation
profiles were characterized by very high vales of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
among students participating in physical education. The older athletes may engage in
sports because of satisfaction, personal accomplishment and interests gained from it.
Others may participate because of pressure from significant others to gain recognition,
performance outcome and rewards. However, the decline in self-determination motivation
in older athletes could also lead to negative outcomes such as lower levels of effort,
enjoyment, pleasure, discouragement and higher levels of boredom. This has contributed
to the older athletes having both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

In addition, this result is not comparable to those who found that urban athletes were
more intrinsically motivated than rural athletes.4 The non-significant differences in the
types of motivation could be due to the role of significant others that provide a source
of positive influence in these adolescent athletes. This implies that athletes were similar
and indifferent in all variables although they are of different ethnic groups, culture and
backgrounds. Therefore, it is a matter who would be able to sustain, endure and persist
the hardships and sacrifices that is necessary for survival and success in the highly
pressurized world of competitive sports regardless of locality.

In conclusion, the results of the study provide additional information about sex, age and
locality differences in adolescents’ levels of autonomy in sports. It is a critical factor
to ensure the adolescent athletes are intrinsically motivated to maintain their level of
performance and stay physically active in the long run.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance provided by the Sarawak State Sports
Council, the National Sports Institute Satellite Kuching and the Sarawak Education
Department.

DECLARATION The author declared no potential conflict of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publications of this article.
OF CONFLICTING
INTERESTS

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4. Chin, N.S., Khoo, S., & Low, W.Y. (2012).Self-determination and goal orientation in
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5. Deci EL, Ryan RM. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human
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8. Hardre, P. L., Crowson, H.M., Debacker, T.K., & White, D. (2007). Predicting the
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11. Ryan., R.M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of
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12. Tuffey, S. (2014). Motivation. Available at: http://www.usaswimming.org.
13. Vallerand, R.J. (1992). Toward a hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation. Adv Exp Soc Psychol, 29, 271-360.
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