Affiliation-related goal instructions The secret of sporting success for affiliation motivated individuals

Julia Schüler, Ladina Guidon, Denise Hofstetter, Tobias Suter, Vanda Sieber and Mirko Wegner

University of Bern, Switzerland

Based on the concept of motive-goal congruence, we hypothesized that individuals with a strong implicit affiliation motive will show increased sports performance (push-ups) and increased well-being (more positive affect, less perceived stress) when sport-related goals, assigned by coaches are enriched by affiliationrelated incentives. Thirty-four athletes participated in the study. After assessing their implicit affiliation motives and baseline measures of performance and wellbeing participants were either assigned to a control group, in which they were asked to show a good push-ups performance, or to an affiliation group, in which members were additionally asked to perform well in order to support their teammates. After the coach instructions push-up performance and well-being were rated again. Assigned goal × affiliation motive interactions revealed that individuals high in the affiliation motive who were assigned to the affiliation goal group showed increased sports performances and well-being, whereas individuals low in the affiliation motives decreased performance and well-being. Results suggest that people who give goal instructions (e.g., sport coaches) have to create assigned goal-motive fits when aiming to promote athlete’s performance and well-being.

Keywords: Affiliation motive, Assigned goals Motive-goal fit, Sport performance, Well-being