Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 489–497 | Cite as

The importance of disaggregating within-person changes and individual differences among internalized motives, self-esteem and self-efficacy

  • Daryl T. Cowan
  • Ian M. Taylor
Original Paper


Grounded in self-determination theory, this study examined the implications of differentiating between within-person weekly changes and between-person differences in average levels of autonomy support and internalized motivation for one’s self-esteem and self-efficacy. Thirty-nine adults who were socially disadvantaged and unemployed completed weekly questionnaire assessments over 11-weeks of a sports-based educational program. Multilevel modeling revealed that within-person changes in perceptions of autonomy support positively predicted identified regulation and introjected regulation; however, between-person differences in perceived autonomy support predicted identified regulation only. Within-person changes in introjected regulation positively predicted global self-esteem and self-efficacy towards future employment in coaching; however, between-person differences in introjected regulation negatively predicted self-esteem and self-efficacy. In contrast, within-person changes in identified regulation, as well as between-person differences, were positively associated with self-efficacy. Between-person differences in identified regulation also positively predicted self-esteem. It was also demonstrated that many of these contrasting relationships are hidden if the different processes are not disaggregated. As a result, we propose that different internalization processes exist which depend on whether within-person changes or sustained levels of motivation are explored.


Self-determination Autonomy Motivation Within-person Between-person 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health and Life SciencesNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle Upon TyneUK
  2. 2.School of Sport, Exercise and Health SciencesLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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