Athlete perception of motivational climate on compassion, pride and shame

Mario S. Fontana, University of Kansas, USA

Theme: Motivation and self-perceptions

Poster Number: 132

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Researchers have found that perceptions of a caring and task-involving climate is key to enhancing athlete experience and enjoyment in a sports setting (Fry & Newton, 2003; Fry et al., 2012). Separately researchers have also examined the constructs of self-compassion, pride and shame in sport (Mosewich, 2011; Matsumoto, 2012; Kerr et al., 2006; Conroy, 2004; Partridge & Wiggins, 2008; McGregor & Elliot, 2005). However, to date limited research has explored how athletes’ perceptions of the motivational climate affect their compassion, pride and shame. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between athletes’ perceptions of motivational climate (caring, task- and ego-involving) to their levels of compassion for teammates and team captains, self-compassion, pride and shame. Athletes (N=164, 154 male, 20 teams, 30.3 years old) in a competitive Wiffle ball benefit volunteered to complete a survey. Descriptive statistics revealed that overall the athletes perceived a relatively high caring, moderate task-involving, and low ego-involving climate. A canonical correlation analysis revealed that a caring and task-involving climate positively correlated with compassion for teammates and captains, and the loading for authentic pride approached significance. In addition, perceptions of a caring and task-involving climate were negatively correlated with shame. These results suggest that a caring climate may foster kindness and empathy toward teammates, keep narcissism and self-centeredness in check, and prevent athletes from experiencing shame when giving high effort. The findings also are consistent with research linking the caring climate with athletes engaging in more caring behaviors (Fry & Gano-Overway, 2010). Future research might focus on a younger population (e.g., adolescent athletes) and include longitudinal data in order to examine if the motivational climate predicts compassion and self-compassion, which in turn predicts pride and shame.

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