Motivational processes in the coach-athlete relationship: A multi-cultural self-determination approach

Sophia Jowett, James Adie, Kimberley Bartholomew, Sophie Yang, Henrik Gustafsson, Alicia Lopez-Jiménez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Grounded in self-determination theory, the present study examined the cultural invariance of a model that hypothesized sport performers’ well-being will be predicted by both their perceptions of motivation and the quality of the relationship held with their coach.
Method: Participants (N = 756), originating from five countries (British, Chinese, Greek, Spanish, and Swedish), completed a questionnaire that measured perceived coach-athlete relationship quality, basic psychological need satisfaction, self-determined motivation, and well-being. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was employed to analyze the data.
Results: Analysis revealed that athletes who perceived a high quality relationship experienced heightened levels of basic need satisfaction. Need satisfaction positively predicted self-determined motivation, which, in turn, linked to enhanced well-being. Moreover, mediation analyses supported the explanatory roles of need satisfaction and self-determined motivation within the model. Lastly, multi-sample SEM invariance testing revealed the model to be largely invariant across cultures.
Conclusions: The results support the universal application of self-determination theory and the central role interpersonal relationships play in promoting well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date17 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • coach-athlete relationships
  • self-determination
  • basic psychological needs
  • motivation
  • optimal functioning


Dive into the research topics of 'Motivational processes in the coach-athlete relationship: A multi-cultural self-determination approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this