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Contrary to self-determination theory (SDT) tenets, research indicates that controlled motivation towards sport may not be associated with maladaptive outcomes, if accompanied by high autonomous motivation. However, the measures of controlled motivation employed in many of these studies have been criticised for the lack of content validity (i.e. Sport Motivation Scale [SMS]). This study examined the influence two different measures (SMS and Behavioural Regulation in Sport Questionnaire [BRSQ]) have on empirical support for competing hypotheses concerning the influence of controlled motivation on athletes' sport experiences. A cross-sectional design was employed. Gaelic football players (N = 395, M = 13.36 years) answered questionnaires to assess motivation, flow, and burnout. Multivariate analysis of variances indicated that when the SMS was employed, controlled motivation appeared adaptive, or at least innocuous, when autonomous motivation was high. When the BRSQ was used, controlled motivation appeared maladaptive, or at best innocuous, when autonomous motivation was high. While these findings do not indicate that one measure produces controlled motivation scores that are more valid than the other, compared with the SMS-based results, the BRSQ-based findings are more in line with SDT tenets.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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