Effect of coach-created perceived motivational climate on sport morality in competitive youth football

Por: B. W. Miller, G. C. Roberts e Yngvar Ommundsen.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Coaches have considerable influence over several aspects of the youth sport experience. Two such aspects are achievement motivation and sport morality. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of differing perceptions of coach-created motivational climate on moral functioning, team moral atmosphere, and the legitimacy of employing injurious, aggressive behaviour in competitive youth football.


Participants were 705 (males, n=365; females, n=340; ages 15-16 years old) Norwegian youth football players whose teams were enrolled in the Norway Cup International Football Tournament. Participants responded to questionnaires designed to tap into their perceptions of the coach-created motivational climate [1] as well as their moral functioning [2], moral atmosphere [3] and the issue of legitimizing aggressive, injurious behaviour [4, 5]. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to investigate the differential affect of mastery and performance oriented climates on moral variables.


Significant gender differences emerged over all variables of interest, F(10, 694) = 11.2, p<.001, and were controlled for in the remaining analyses. We then conducted a series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses with mastery and performance climates as predictor variables and the moral variables serving as dependent variables. Results revealed interaction effects of mastery and performance climates for moral judgment, and for legitimizing the use of physical intimidation. For both of these moral variables, a high performance/high mastery climate predicted significantly lower morality than a low performance/high mastery climate perception. Further, main effects for performance climate predicted overall low sport morality, whereas main effects for mastery climate predicted more mature moral reasoning and a non-aggressive coach-determined moral atmosphere.

Discussion/ Conclusions

In concert with previous research [6], our findings indicated that differing motivational climates created by the coach elicit differing perspectives of what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in competitive youth football. Specifically, players perceiving a predominant ego-involving emphasis in the motivational climate reported that low sport morality was acceptable. Moreover, as revealed in the regression analyses, perceiving the coach emphasizing performance climate criteria of success and failure was not moderated by the presence of mastery climate criteria for moral judgment as well as legitimizing physical intimidation. For these players, the performance climate created by the coach clearly had a detrimental effect on sport morality.


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  2. Gibbons et al. (1995). Res Q Ex & Sp, 66, 247-255.
  3. Shields et al. (1995). Soc Sp J, 12, 324-336.
  4. Bredemeier, BJ (1983). J Sp Psych, 7, 110, 124.
  5. Duda et al. (1991). Res Q Ex & Sp, 62, 79-87.
  6. Miller et al. (2004). Scand J Med Sci Sp.




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