Term of Award

2009

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Jonathan N. Metzler

Committee Member 1

Daniel R. Czech

Committee Member 2

A. Barry Joyner

Committee Member 3

Helen Graf

Abstract

Motivation and inspiration are often used superficially and synonymously in media coverage of sport. Sportscasters and reporters speculate about athlete motivation cite inspirational locker room speeches from coaches as a motivational source. Research in and out of sport psychology has developed and verified theories to describe mechanisms of motivation change (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Vallerand, 1997), but there is little research on the role of inspiration (Thrash & Elliot; 2003, 2004). The current study aimed to determine if inspiration can be manipulated, and if so, how increased inspiration impacts situational motivation of athletes. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA revealed that inspiration increased for collegiate football players randomly assigned to observe a simulated pep-talk but not for their counterparts assigned to a control group. Situational autonomous motivation did not exhibit a similar response. Multiple regression analysis revealed that change in inspiration was not predictive of change in situational motivation. The results support the contention that inspiration and situational motivation are distinct constructs. Future research in sport should attend to examining consequences of inspiration change in athletes to clarify the role of inspiration contrasted against motivation in sport.

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