Relationships between achievement goal orientation, perceived competence, and organized sports. A cluster analysis of Finnish children

Ville Kallinen *, Timo Jaakkola *, Kaisu Mononen **, Minna Blomqvist **, Asko Tolvanen ***, Heikki Kyröläinen *, Marc Lochbaum **** and Niilo Konttinen ****

(*) University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences
(**) Research Institute for Olympic Sport, Jyväskyla, Finland
(***) University of Jyväskyla, Dapartment of Psychology, Jyväskyla, Finland
(****) Texas Tech University, USA

The primary aim of the present study was to identify motivational profiles of Finnish children, and the extent to which profiles could differ from each other in terms of motivational indices. Also, relationships between motivational profiles and organized sports participation were examined. Achievement goal theory framework was used in this study. 1009 Finnish 10-year-old school children participated in this study. Four different cluster profiles were identified. Differences between motivational profiles were found in terms of motivational indices, that is, enjoyment, persistence, effort, competition enjoyment and training effort. Results revealed that children who are characterized by moderate-to-high goal orientations and perceived competence have more adaptive motivational profile towards organized sports participation. Results show that different motivational patterns start to emerge early on children’s lives and practitioners should be aware of this when planning daily practice to create desirable conditions for sustained sports participation.

Keywords: Achievement goals, Children, Organized sports