Passion and burnout in elite junior soccer players: the mediating role of self-determined motivation

Thomas Curran, Paul R. Appleton, Andrew P. Hill, Howard K. Hall

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The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between forms of passion (harmonious and obsessive; Vallerand et al., 2003) and athlete burnout, and whether these relationships are mediated by self-determined motivation. The proposed model posited that because harmonious passion originates from an authentic self, it will be positively associated with self-determined regulation. Conversely, because obsessive passion originates from ego-invested structures within the self, it will be negatively associated with self-determined regulation. In turn, consistent with research examining the relationship between motivation regulation and athlete burnout, self-determined regulation was expected to be negatively associated with athlete burnout.

Cross-sectional survey.

This model was tested in 149 (M age = 16.2, s = 2.0, range = 12–21) male junior athletes who attended soccer academies in the UK. Participants completed the Passion Scale ( Vallerand et al., 2003), the Sport Motivation Scale ( Pelletier et al., 1995), and the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire ( Raedeke & Smith, 2001).

Harmonious passion was negatively related to a latent athlete burnout factor, whereas obsessive passion was unrelated to a latent athlete burnout factor. The relationship between harmonious passion and burnout was fully mediated by self-determined regulation.

The results suggest that harmonious passion may offer some protection from burnout for athletes due to higher levels of self-determined motivation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011


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