The purpose of the present study was to examine the motivational antecedents of passion for sport by testing a model where players’ satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs was expected to predict their harmonious and obsessive passions through the mediation of autonomous and controlled motivations. Four-hundred eighty-seven elite U18 male football players (M age = 17.43, SD = 0.71) completed measures of psychological need satisfaction, behavioural regulations and passion for sport. Measurement models were defined using exploratory structural equation models. The results support the model where autonomous and controlled regulations partially mediate the relationship between psychological needs and passion. In this model, the need for relatedness positively and directly predicts harmonious passion and indirectly predicts obsessive passion, which supports its key role in discriminating between the two types of passion. Moreover, autonomy and competence satisfaction present direct and indirect effects on both types of passions. Finally, autonomous regulations positively predict obsessive and harmonious passion, although the strength of the relationship was stronger for the latter. In sum, our results highlight that (a) satisfaction of each need is crucial to promote harmonious passion and (b) both autonomous and controlled regulations contribute to the understanding of how passion is developed in football.
- need satisfaction