Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Major Professor

Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Committee Members

John G. Orme, Leslee A. Fisher, James H. Bemiller


Coaches’ autonomy support is one of the most meaningful influences on the satisfaction of athletes’ basic psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness (Mageau & Vallerand, 2003). Fostering these needs cultivates self-determined motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2000), which has been found to positively affect individuals’ effort, persistence when faced with adversity, performance, performance-related anxiety, and well-being (Gillet, Berjot, & Gobance, 2009; Mack et al., 2011; Podlog & Dionigi, 2010; Vallerand & Losier, 1999). The reasoned action approach (Fishbein & Ajzen, 2010) suggests that coaches’ attitude, perceived behavioral control, and perceived norm toward autonomy support influences their use of autonomysupportive behaviors. However, prior to this study, no instrument has been developed that measured these behavioral antecedents. Consequently, the purpose of the current research was to develop a scale that assesses coaches’ attitude, perceived behavioral control, and perceived norm toward autonomy-supportive behaviors when working with student-athletes during practice. Exploratory Factor Analysis procedures with data from 497 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and II head coaches’ revealed adequate model fit for a two-factor solution (RMSEA = .042, 99% CI [.020; .063], p = .703; CFI = .99). The Autonomy Support Belief Scale (ASBS) is an eight item measure with two subscales: personal belief (five items) and social influence (three items). Subsequent correlation and regression analysis further validated the ASBS. Personal belief and social influence were both found to be statistically significant predictors for coaches’ behaviors, accounting for 25.9% and 20.3% of the total variance in participants’ use of autonomy-supportive behaviors respectively. The ASBS allows researchers, sport psychology professionals, and coach educators to gain insight into coaches’ beliefs about autonomy supportive behaviors and can help them shape interventions with coaches, evaluate the effectiveness of such programs, and ultimately impact coaches’ use of autonomy support.

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