Approach-achievement goals and motivational context on psycho-physiological functioning and performance among novice basketball players

Mairi Mulvenna*, James Adie, Luke Sage, Nigel Wilson, Douglas Howat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Drawing from an integrated motivational model (Vansteenkiste, Lens, Elliot, Soenens, & Mouratidis, 2014), this study tested the impact of induced approach-based achievement goal states under different motivational contexts on the psycho-physiological functioning and motor task performance of novice basketball players. Design: A 3 × 2 (Goal [task-/self-/other-approach] x Context [autonomy-supportive/controlling]) repeated measures experimental design was employed. Method: 114 novice participants (Mage = 23.53; SD = 4.56) performed a basketball shooting task. They were subsequently randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions before repeating this task. Physiological (heart rate [HR] and blood pressure [BP]) and psychological (stress appraisals, state anxiety, task enjoyment, perceived competence, and goal attainment) data were captured at different intervals throughout the experiment. Results: Factorial ANOVAs revealed participants: 1) performing under a controlling motivational context reported significantly higher HR (p < .001) and systolic BP (p < .05) post-task compared to those operating within an autonomy-supportive environment, 2) induced to an other-approach goal group, recorded significantly higher diastolic BP (p < .05) than those induced to self- and task-approach goals post-task, 3) adopting a task-approach goal under controlling conditions appraised the shooting task as significantly more threatening (p < .05) than their counterparts in the task-approach autonomy-supportive condition, and finally, 4) following approach-based goals under an autonomy-supportive context significantly improved their performance (p < .001) from pre-to post-shooting task. Conclusions: Our findings provide limited support for an integrated motivational model and are discussed in relation to their unique theoretical and practical utility.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101714
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date10 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Achievement goals
  • Autonomous motivation
  • Controlling motivation
  • Physiological functioning
  • Psychological well-being
  • Motor performance


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