Sport motivation and perceived motivational climate among members of a national para-swimming team

Written by Ágnes Szemes, Péter Szájer, László Tóth on . Posted in Special issue: Mental aspects of sport performance - Volume XXI, Nr 4


Ágnes Szemes1, Péter Szájer2,*, László Tóth1

1 Department of Psychology and Sport Psychology, University of Physical Education, Budapest, Hungary
2 Department of Swimming and Water Sports, University of Physical Education, Budapest, Hungary


Swimming is one of the most popular sport domains due to its beneficial physiological effects in both typical and disabled individuals. However, although they are just as successful as their non-disabled counterparts, little is known about what motivates disabled swimmers. This study aimed to reveal the sport motivation and perceived motivational climate of these swimmers in comparison with similar data obtained from non-disabled swimmers. The sample included 18 members of the Hungarian national para-swimming team (Mage = 26.33 years, SD = 10.81), admitted to the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships in Funchal, Portugal. Findings showed that athletes scored high on both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, while also reporting a more task-oriented climate compared to the Hungarian average. Compared to men, women reported having environmental support for effort/ improvement to a higher degree, while men scored higher for intra-team member rivalry. Importantly, compared to their non-disabled counterparts, disabled swimmers reported higher levels of motivation and scored higher on perception of an ego-oriented climate. Taken together, our findings confirm the assumption that disabled and non-disabled athletes show more similarities than differences, but also point out the importance of research on the structure of highly successful athletes’ motivations, which can provide unique insights regarding their potential.

Keywords: sport motivation, perceived motivational climate, swimming, disabled athletes



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