Need Fulfillment in Intercollegiate Student-Athletes’ Dual Roles: A Mixed-Methods, Person-Oriented Investigation
Keywords:self-determination theory, basic psychological needs, sport psychology
Individuals competing in varsity intercollegiate sport are tasked with managing the dual roles of athletes and students. The purpose of current study was to simultaneously explore student-athletes’ perceived satisfaction of autonomy, competence and relatedness in sport and academics. A mixed-methods, person-oriented design was utilized. Quantitative data was collected with a sample of N = 238 student-athletes from various varsity intercollegiate sports. For sport, four clusters were revealed: ‘Low Need Satisfaction,’ ‘Moderately Low Need Satisfaction,’ ‘Moderate Relatedness,’ and ‘High Need Satisfaction.’ For academics, four clusters were revealed: ‘Low Need Satisfaction,’ ‘Moderate Relatedness,’ ‘Moderate Autonomy and Competence,’ and ‘High Need Satisfaction.’ Reflexive thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with a sub-sample of n = 12 student-athletes representing all clusters revealed four themes: (a) global factors sensitized student-athletes to the experience of basic psychological needs, (b) contextual factors determined fluctuations in student-athletes’ need fulfillment, (c) student-athletes perceived interaction effects in the satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs within the same domain, and (d) student-athletes’ sport participation had a cross-contextual influence on their need fulfillment in academics. Findings provide an understanding of student-athletes’ perceived basic psychological needs across the achievement domains of academics and sport.
Alesi, M., Gómez-López, M., Chicau Borrego, C., Monteiro, D., & Granero-Gallegos, A. (2019). Effects of a motivational climate on psychological needs satisfaction, motivation and commitment in teen handball players. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 2702-2712.
American College Health Association (2018). National college health assessment, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017. American College Health Association.
Backhaus, K., Erichson, B., Plinke, W., & Weber, R. (2018). Multivariate Analysemethoden. Eine anwendungsorientierte Einführung. Springer.
Banack, H. R., Sabiston, C. M., & Bloom, G. A. (2011). Coach autonomy support, basic need satisfaction, and intrinsic motivation of Paralympic athletes. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 82, 722-730.
Bergman, L. R., Magnusson, D., & El-Khouri, B. M. (2003). Studying individual development in an interindividual context: A person-oriented approach. Psychology Press.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2017). Using thematic analysis in sport and exercise research. In B. Smith & A. C. Sparkes (Eds.), Routledge handbook of qualitative research in sport and exercise (pp. 213-227). Routledge.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2019). Reflecting on reflexive thematic analysis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health, 11, 589-597.
Campbell, R., Soenens, B., Beyers, W., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2018). University students’ sleep during an exam period: the role of basic psychological needs and stress. Motivation and Emotion, 42, 671-681.
Cheval, B., Chalabaev, A., Quested, E., Courvoisier, D. S., & Sarrazin, P. (2017). How perceived autonomy support and controlling coach behaviors are related to well- and ill-being in elite soccer players: A within-person changes and between-person differences analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 28, 68-77.
Costa, S., Ntoumanis, N., & Bartholomew, K. J. (2015). Predicting the brighter and darker sides of interpersonal relationships: Does psychological need thwarting matter? Motivation and Emotion, 39, 11-24
Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.
Gilchrist, M., & Mallett, C. J. (2017). The theory (SDT) behind effective coaching. In R. Thelwell, C. Harwood, & I. Greenless (Eds.), The psychology of sports coaching: Research and practice (pp. 38-53). Routledge.
Gillet, N., Berjot, S., & Gobance, L. (2009). A motivational model of performance in the sport domain. European Journal of Sport Science, 9, 151-158.
Gould, D., & Whitley, M. A. (2009). Sources and consequences of athletic burnout among college athletes. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 2, 16-30.
Goulimaris, D., Mavridis, G., Genti, M., & Rokka, S. (2014). Relationships between basic psychological needs and psychological well-being in recreational dance activities. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 14, 277.
Hassell, K., Sabiston, C.M., & Bloom, G.A. (2010). Exploring the multiple dimensions of social support among elite female adolescent swimmers. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 41, 340–359.
Hill, C. E., Thompson, B. J., & Williams, E. N. (1997). A guide to conducting consensual qualitative research. The Counseling Psychologist, 25, 517–572.
Hollembeak, J., & Amorose, A. J. (2005). Perceived coaching behaviors and college athletes' intrinsic motivation: A test of self-determination theory. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 17, 20-36.
Horn, T. S. (2011). Multiple pathways to knowledge generation: Qualitative and quantitative research approaches in sport and exercise psychology. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 3, 291-304.
Jayakumar, U. M., & Comeaux, E. (2016). The cultural cover-up of college athletics: How organizational culture perpetuates an unrealistic and idealized balancing act. The Journal of Higher Education, 87, 488-515.
Kasser, T., Davey, J., & Ryan, R. M. (1992). Motivation, dependability, and employee-supervisor discrepancies in psychiatric vocational rehabilitation settings. Rehabilitation Psychology, 37, 175–187.
Li, C., Wang, J. C. K., Pyun, D. Y., & Kee, Y. H. (2013). Burnout and its relations with basic psychological needs and motivation among athletes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14, 692-700.
Mack, D. E., Wilson, P. M., Oster, K. G., Kowalski, K. C., Crocker, P. R., & Sylvester, B. D. (2011). Well-being in volleyball players: Examining the contributions of independent and balanced psychological need satisfaction. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12, 533-539.
Mageau, G. A., & Vallerand, R. J. (2003). The coach-athlete relationship: A motivational model. Journal of Sports Science, 21, 883-904.
Martela, F., & Ryan, R. M. (2016). The benefits of benevolence: Basic psychological needs, beneficence, and the enhancement of well‐being. Journal of Personality, 84, 750-764.
Martin, A. J. (2008). How domain specific is motivation and engagement across school, sport, and music? A substantive-methodological synergy assessing young sportspeople and musicians. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33, 785-813.
Moran, A. P., Matthews, J. J., & Kirby, K. (2011). Whatever happened to the third paradigm? Exploring mixed methods research design in sport and exercise psychology. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 3, 362–369.
Morin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2015). Disentangling shape from level effects in person-centered analyses: An illustration based on university teachers’ multidimensional profiles of effectiveness. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 22, 39-59.
Milyavskaya, M., Gingras, I., Mageau, G. A., Koestner, R., Gagnon, H., Fang, J., & Boiché, J. (2009). Balance across contexts: Importance of balanced need satisfaction across various life domains. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1031-1045.
Milyavskaya, M., & Koestner, R. (2011). Psychological needs, motivation, and well-being: A test of self-determination theory across multiple domains. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 387-391.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (n.d.). What is the NCAA? Retrieved August 3, 2020 from http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/ncaa-101/what-ncaa
National Collegiate Athletic Association (2020). NCAA research examining student-athlete mental well-being: February 2020. [Unpublished presentation]. NCAA.
Ng, J. Y. Y., Londsdale, C., & Hodge, K. (2011). The basic needs satisfaction in sport scale (BNSSS): Instrument development and initial validity evidence. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12, 257-264.
Paule, A. L., & Gilson, T. A. (2010). Current collegiate experiences of big-time, non-revenue, NCAA athletes. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 3, 333-347.
Perreault, S., Gaudreau, P., Lapointe, M-C., & Lacroix, C. (2007). Does it take three to tango? Psychological need satisfaction and athlete burnout. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 38, 437–450.
Raabe, J., & Readdy, T. (2016). A qualitative investigation of need fulfillment and motivational profiles in collegiate cheerleading. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 87, 78-88.
Raabe, J., Readdy, T., & Höner, O. (2020). Fulfillment of basic psychological needs: A qualitative investigation of strategies used by elite youth soccer coaches. German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research, 50, 229-240.
Raabe, J., & Zakrajsek, R. A. (2017). Coaches and teammates as agents for collegiate athletes’ basic psychological need satisfaction. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 10, 67-82.
Raabe, J., Zakrajsek, R. A., & Readdy, T. (2016). Teammate influence on collegiate swimmers’ basic psychological need satisfaction: A qualitative perspective. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 9, 27-49.
Readdy, T., Raabe, J., & Harding, J. S. (2014). Student-athletes’ perceptions of an extrinsic reward program: A mixed-methods exploration of self-determination theory in the context of college football. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 26, 157-171.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. Guilford Press.
Schenkenfelder, M., Frickey, E. A., & Larson, L. M. (2020). College environment and basic psychological needs: Predicting academic major satisfaction. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 67, 265-273.
Shannon-Baker, P. (2016). Making paradigms meaningful in mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 10, 319-334.
Smith, B., Sparkes, A. C., Phoenix, C., & Kirkby, J. (2012). Qualitative research in physical therapy: a critical discussion on mixed-method research. The Physical Therapy Review, 17, 374–381.
Tracy, S. J. (2010). Qualitative quality: Eight “big-tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 16, 837–851.
Vallerand, R. J. (2000). Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory: A view from the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 312-318.
Watt, S. K., & Moore, J. L. (2001). Who are student athletes? New Directions for Student Services, 93, 7–18.
Wrisberg, C. A., & Johnson, M. S. (2002). Quality of life. In M. Kellmann (Ed.), Enhancing recovery: Preventing underperformance in athletes (pp. 253–267). Human Kinetics.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Johannes Raabe, Tucker Readdy, Lauren McHenry, Daniel Leyhr, Tara Ryan
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-ND) License
1. License. You retain the copyright for your work. You here by grant to us a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable license to:
• Reproduce, distribute and display the edited manuscript in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport (and other publications prepared by us or on our behalf) in any media now or hereafter known (including without limitation electronic publications such as the Internet, Google Scholar, and social media)
We do not restrict your distribution or use of the manuscript following publication in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport (in fact, we encourage it!). However, we have the right to publish the manuscript first on the journal website. Thus, the foregoing licenses are exclusive to us prior to our publication of the manuscript. You confirm that you have disclosed to us all previous or pending public disseminations of the manuscript, including without limitation any publications or acceptances by other journals or disseminations via websites or conference proceedings.
2. Other Confirmations. You confirm that you are the manuscripts sole author(s); you have the right to convey the foregoing licenses; the manuscript does not infringe any third party copyright, publicity/privacy right or other proprietary right; and the manuscript is not defamatory or otherwise unlawful. You shall defend and indemnify us against all claims based on any alleged breach of your confirmations in this contract.
Compensation: You will receive one (1) free copy (PDF) of the article published online in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport. You will receive no royalty or other monetary return from the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport for use of the article. You do, however, have our extreme gratitude!
3. Entire Contract. This contract is the sole and exclusive agreement between the parties regarding the manuscript and supersedes all prior conversations and understandings regarding its subject matter. This contract may be modified or supplemented only by a mutually signed writing.