## Intrinsic motivation

The participants were 20 county level junior tennis players (10 males and 10 females) with a mean age of 12. 2 years (standard deviation = 0. 6 years). The participants had been competing at this level of competition for an average of 3. 4 years (standard deviation = 0. 3 years). It is possible that by using sports students it is possible the results could bear resemblance to a larger sample of elite athletes. Materials The materials for this study consisted of the twenty questionnaire sheets that the participants were asked to complete in order to work out their levels of parental pressure and their levels of intrinsic motivation.

To measure intrinsic motivation for tennis they completed 12 items of the Sport Motivation Scale (Pelletier et al. , 1995) that are specifically designed to assess intrinsic motivation. Children were presented with the stem “Why do you take part in tennis? ” and responded to each of the 12 items on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all true) through 7 (extremely true). Children were given an average intrinsic motivation score by adding their responses to the twelve items and dividing this total by 12. To measure perceptions of parental pressure children completed five items from White et al.

‘s (1992) Parent Initiated Motivational Climate Questionnaire that were deemed to assess parental pressure. Specifically, children responded to the five items on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all true) through 7 (extremely true). Children were given an average parental pressure score by adding their responses to the five items and dividing this total by 5. Procedures Children completed the questionnaires at the end of a training session. The questionnaires took around 10 minutes to complete and children were encouraged to ask any questions if they did not understand something.

Parents were not present at the data collection session. Prior to completing the surveys, children, parents, and coaches had all given written consent to participate in the study. Design A repeated measures design was employed. The independent variable was the level of parental pressure that the participant feels. The dependent variable was the levels of intrinsic motivation. Results The results collected from the questionnaires are shown in table 1. Each of the 20 participants’ scores are listed, showing their level of intrinsic motivation on the left, and their level of perceived parental pressure on the right.

With Examination of the descriptive statistics (see Table 1) indicated that the mean level of intrinsic motivation was 3. 55 and the mean level of perceived parental pressure was 5. 46 Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was calculated on the interval data collected in this study (see Graph 1). As you can see from the graph a negative correlation emerged, as a low level of intrinsic motivation is associated with a high level of perceived parental pressure. The correlation coefficient or ‘r’ was worked out using this formula:- The ‘r’ value was calculated as -0.

94. Then the level of significance for the correlation coefficient was calculated (the ‘p’ value). The significance value was calculated as, ‘p’ = . 01 which suggests that if this study was repeated 100 times you would get these results by chance only once. The other ninety nine times there’s likely to be a ‘true’ relationship between the two variables (Thomas ; Nelson, 2001). Accepting a significance level minimum of 0. 05 this study suggests that the correlation between the two conditions is indeed a significant one. R2 value was also calculated, at 88.

36% this displays how meaningful the correlation is. The purpose of this study was to test whether there was a significant correlation between the level of intrinsic motivation using Pelletier’s Sport Motivation Scale, and level of perceived parental pressure using White et al. ‘s (1992) Parent Initiated Motivational Climate Questionnaire. It was hypothesised that there would be a significant correlation between them, the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient test that was conducted on the raw data suggested that there was a significant correlation between the conditions.

Therefore, the results of the dependant stats test support the experimental hypothesis (H1); the null hypothesis (H0) is rejected. The results of this study support the theory that if parents put too much pressure on young athletes it can decrease their levels of intrinsic motivation in a sport-related context. These findings suggest that there is a need to facilitate intrinsic motivation in sport by making training and targets personal to individuals that are more task involved than ego involved, (e. g. Nicholls, 1984), rather than judging everybody by the same standard.

One way to do this and help reduce parental pressure is: within organised sports groups for youngsters have regular meetings with the parents warning them of the implications of pressurising their children, and perhaps the results of studies like this one. The results of this study, however, must be viewed with caution. Although the results revealed a significant correlation, and the implications are potentially meaningful, the data was generated only through the use of one small questionnaire with only 24 questions all together including both sections.

Future research needs to be conducted to examine whether this principal holds true when the results are gathered in other methods too. For example interview with the parents and athletes, as well as observing parents when watching their children compete. Furthermore, Nicholls’ (1984, cited in Orbach et al. , 1999) achievement goal theory requires further investigation and research to examine how positive reinforcement and feedback can effect how a child perceives their ability in sport. Examining ways to give young children positive feedback from sport would certainly enhance sport psychologists’ ability to facilitate successful performances.