Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jonathan S. Gore

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

James M. Larkin

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science

Third Advisor

Richard Osbaldiston

Department Affiliation



Relationally-Autonomous Reasons (RARs) for pursuing goals are motives that take one’s own personal needs and the needs and desires of close others into account. These relational reasons motivate people in pursing health, school, or sports goals. The purpose of this study was to identify what mechanisms drive relational motivation that in turn affects athletic performance. Participants (n = 156) in this study were student-athletes from various sports, who completed a questionnaire. Athletic performance was obtained and standardized through each athlete’s performance statistics within their sport. The results of the study revealed that closeness, support, accountability, and shared values predicted relational motivation in student-athletes, while coaching relationship and sport type did not predict RARs. In addition the findings showed effort is driven by RARs and coaching relationship but that effort did not predict athletic performance.