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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2009 Apr;19(2):274-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00786.x. Epub 2008 Mar 31.

Personal and contextual determinants of elite young athletes' persistence or dropping out over time.

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Addictive, Performance and Health Behaviors Laboratory, Department of Sport and Physical Education Sciences, University of Montpellier I, Montpellier, France.


Two studies were conducted among elite young judokas to examine (a) whether those who persisted in national training centers (n=52) were different from dropouts (n=52) in their perceptions of coach-, parent-, and peer-induced motivational climates, goal orientations, self-perceptions, perceived competence, and intention of dropping out, and (b) whether these variables varied during the persisting athletes' (n=82) first 2 years in these centers. Compared with persisting athletes, dropouts perceived the roles of coaches, parents, and peers as less task-involving, were less task-oriented, and intended more to drop. The association of peer-, coach-, and parent-induced task-involving climates predicted athletes' persistence. During the 2 years, persisting athletes' perceptions of coach-, parent-, and peer-induced task-involving climates decreased, while perceptions of a coach-induced ego-involving climate and the intention of dropping out increased in spite of more positive self-perceptions. Gender differences favoring males were observed for self-perceptions only. These results stress the importance for all the agents of the athletes' social environment to promote task-involving climates, because such climates appear to be naturally prone to degradation in the context of elite competition. The results also shed light on some high-level athletes' characteristics regarding motivational dispositions and self-concept.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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