The purpose of the present studies was to examine relationships among social influences (coach and teammate behaviors), psychological need satisfaction, and psychological and physical well-being among female adolescent gymnasts, using self-determination theory (SDT) as a framework. Well-being indicators included self-esteem, positive affect, and disordered eating. Indicators were chosen based on gymnasts' risk of declining well-being due to demanding practice schedules and pressure to maintain a lean body. In Study 1, competitive gymnasts (N = 303) ages 10 to 17 (M = 13.0, SD = 1.9) completed valid and reliable measures assessing SDT variables and physical maturity. A model of relationships was specified and tested using structural equation modeling. Coach autonomy-support and mastery climate were indirectly related to positive affect through coach relatedness. Friendship quality was associated with all three well-being indices through perceived competence and teammate relatedness. Post-pubertal girls reported lower perceived competence, self-esteem, and positive affect, and greater disordered eating, compared to pre-pubertal girls. Findings support SDT and highlight the processes related to well-being among female adolescent gymnasts. Study 2 tested longitudinal relationships with a subset of girls from Study 1 (N = 174). Need satisfaction and well-being indices were assessed 6 to 8 months later. Study 2 employed the time lag necessary for a more accurate test of mediation, whereby social influences predict need satisfaction over time, and need satisfaction predicts well-being over time. Coach autonomy-support, mastery climate, and performance climate positively predicted girls' perceived competence, which in turn predicted higher self-esteem and lower disordered eating. Results provide evidence for coaches as an important source of influence over time and perceived competence as a mediator of the relationship between social influence and well-being. Together, the present studies extend the knowledge base by simultaneously examining coach and peer influence, assessing psychological and physical well-being, studying theoretical relationships with a population at risk for lower well-being (i.e., female adolescent gymnasts), and employing concurrent and longitudinal designs to determine strength and stability of relationships over time.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.June 2012. Major: Kinesiology. Advisor: Dr. Maureen Weiss. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 178 pages, appendices A-H.
Kipp, Lindsay E..
Social influences and psychological and physical well-being among female adolescent gymnasts.
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