Verbal Aggressiveness and Leadership Style of Sports Instructors and Their Relationship with Athletes’ Intrisic Motivation


The purpose of the study was to examine intrinsic motivation of athletes and its relation with instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and leadership style. The sample of the study consisted of 168 athletes (95 boys and 73 girls), 15 - 19 years old (M = 16.5, SD = 0.5), participating in different individual and team sports (basketball, volleyball, football, long jump, pole vault, 200 m). Every participant completed three questionnaires, the Verbal Aggressiveness Questionnaire, the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, and the Leadership Scale for Sports. The results revealed differences existing among variables of the instruments in terms of sex and type of sport (individual or team sport and contact or non contact sport). Pearson correlation revealed a significant positive relationship of coaches’ verbal aggressiveness with anxiety, autocratic style, and a negative significant relationship concerning coaches’ verbal aggression with enjoyment, ability, effort, and democratic style. Findings and implications for instructors’ type of communication were discussed and future research suggestions were included.

Share and Cite:

Bekiari, A. (2014). Verbal Aggressiveness and Leadership Style of Sports Instructors and Their Relationship with Athletes’ Intrisic Motivation. Creative Education, 5, 114-121. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.52018.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Amorose, A. J., & Horn, T. S. (2000). Intrinsic motivation: Relationships with collegiate athletes’ gender, scholarship status, and perceptions of their coaches’ behavior. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 22, 63-84.
[2] Beam, J. W., Serwatka, T. S., & Wilson, W. J. (2004). Preferred leadership of NCAA Division I and II intercollegiate student-athletes. Journal of Sport Behavior, 27, 3-17.
[3] Bekiari, A. (2012). Perceptions of instructors’ verbal aggressiveness and physical education students’ affective learning. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 115, 325-335.
[4] Bekiari, A., Digelidis, N., Hatzigeorgiadis, A., & Sakellariou, K. (2005). Development of a scale to assess verbal aggressiveness in the physical education context. Italian Journal of Sport Sciences, 13, 24-27.
[5] Bekiari, A., Digelidis, N., & Sakellariou, K. (2006). Perceived verbal aggressiveness of coaches in volleyball and basketball: A preliminary study. Psychological Reports, 103, 526-530.
[6] Bekiari, A., Kokaridas, D., & Sakellariou, K. (2005). Verbal aggressiveness of physical education teachers and students’ self-reports of behaviour. Phychological Reports, 96, 493-498.
[7] Bekiari, A., Kokaridas, D., & Sakellariou, K. (2006). Associations of students’ self-reports of their teacher’s verbal aggression, intrinsic motivation, and perceptions of reasons for discipline in Greek physical education classes. Phychological Reports, 98, 451-461.
[8] Bekiari, A., Patsiaouras, A., Kokaridas, D., & Sakellariou, K. (2006). The relationship between verbal aggressiveness and state anxiety in volleyball. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 99, 630-634.
[9] Bredemeier, B., Weiss, M., & Shields, D. (1986). The relationship of sport involvement with children’s moral reasoning and aggression tendencies. Journal of Sport Psychology, 8, 304-318.
[10] Burant, P. A. (1999). Students’ perceptions of teachers’ communication and it’s effects on students’ learning. Unpublished Dissertation, Morgantown, WV: College of Human Resources and Education at West Virginia University.
[11] Chatzisarantis, N., & Hagger, M. (2009). Effects of an intervention based on self-determination theory on self-reported leisure-time physical activity participation. Psychology & Health, 24, 29-48.
[12] Chelladurai, P., & Saleh, S. D. (1978). Preferred leadership in sports. Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences, 3, 85-92.
[13] Chelladurai, P., & Saleh, S. D. (1980). Dimensions of leader behaviour in sports: Development of a leadership scale. Journal of Sport Psychology, 2, 34-45.
[14] Chelladurai, P (1993). Leadership. In R. N. Singer, M. Murphey, & L. K. Tennant (Eds.), Handbook of research on sport psychology (pp. 647-671). New York: Macmillan.
[15] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and selfdetermination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.
[16] Duda, J. L. (1992). Motivation in sport settings: A goal perspective approach. In G. Roberts (Ed.), Motivation in sport and exercise (pp. 57-91). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.
[17] Duda, J. L. (1993). Goals: A social-cognitive approach to the study of achievement motivation in sport. In R. N. Singer (Ed.), Handbook of research on sport psychology (pp. 421-436). New York: MacMillan.
[18] Durand-Bush, N., & Salmela, J. H. (2002). The development and maintenance of expert athletic performance: Perceptions of world and Olympic champions. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 154-171.
[19] Dweck, C. S., & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95, 256-273.
[20] Eccles, J. S., & Harold, R. D. (1991). Gender differences in sport involvement: Applying the Eccles’ Expectancy-Value Model. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 3, 7-35.
[21] Frederick, C. M., & Ryan, R. M. (1995). Self-determination in sport: A review using cognitive evaluation theory. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 26, 5-23.
[22] Gorham, J., & Christophel, D. M. (1992). Students’ perceptions of teacher behaviours as motivating and de-motivating factors in college classes. Communication Quarterly, 40, 239-252.
[23] Goudas, M., Biddle, S., & Underwood, M. (1995). A prospective study of the relationship between motivational orientations and perceived competence with intrinsic motivation and achievement in a teacher education course. Educational Psychology, 15, 89-96.
[24] Goudas, M., Dermitzaki, I., & Bagiatis, K. (2000). Predictors of students’ intrinsic motivation in school physical education. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 15, 271-280.
[25] Hassandra, M., Bekiari, A., & Sakellariou, K. (2007). Physical education teacher’s verbal aggression and student’s fair play behaviors. The Physical Educator, 64, 94-101.
[26] Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. (1969). Life cycle theory of leadership. Training and Development Journal, 23, 26-35.
[27] Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. (1982). Management and organizational behavior: Utilizing human resources (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
[28] Hollembeak, J., & Amorose, A. J. (2005). Perceived coaching behaviors and college athletes’ intrinsic motivation: A test of self-determination theory. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 17, 20-36.
[29] Huang, D., & Cherek, D. (1999). Laboratory measurement of aggression in high school age athletes: Provocation in a non-sporting. Psychological Reports, 85, 1251-1263.
[30] Infante, D. A. (1989). Response to high argumentatives: Message and sex differences. Southern Communication Journal, 54, 159-170.
[31] Infante, D. A. (1995). Teaching students to understand and control verbal aggression. Communication Education, 44, 51-63.
[32] Infante, D. A., & Rancer, A. S. (1996). Argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness: A review of recent theory and research. Communication Yearbook, 19, 319-351.
[33] Infante, D. A., & Wigley, C. J. (1986). Verbal aggressiveness: An interpersonal model and measure. Communication Monographs, 53, 6169.
[34] Infante, D. A., Myers, S. A., & Buerkel, R. A. (1994). Argument and verbal aggression in constructive and destructive family and organizational disagreements. Western Journal of Communication, 58, 7384.
[35] Jowett, S., & Ntoumanis, N. (2001). The Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire(CART-Q): Development and Initial Validation. Unpublished manuscript, Stoke-on-Trent: Staffordshire University.
[36] Lemieux, P., McKelvie, S., & Stout, D. (2002). Self-reported hostile aggression in contact athletes, no contact athletes and non-athletes. Online Journal of Sport Psychology, 4.
[37] Lewin, K., & Gold, M. (1999). Complete social scientist: A Kurt Lewin reader. In K. Lewin, & M. Gold (Eds.), American psychological association (pp. 267-250). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
[38] Lloyd, K., & Little, D. (2010). Keeping women active: An examination of the impacts of self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, and leadership on women’s persistence in physical activity. Women & Health, 50, 652-669.
[39] Loughead, T. M., & Hardy, J. (2005). An examination of coach and peer leader behaviors in sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 6, 303-312.
[40] Lyle, J. (1999). The coaching process: An overview. In N. Cross, & Lyle, J. (Eds.), The coaching process: Principles and practice for sports (pp. 25-46). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinman.
[41] Mageau, G. A., & Vallerand, R. J. (2003). The coach-athlete relationship: A motivational model. Journal of Sports Sciences, 21, 883-904.
[42] Martin, M. M., & Anderson, C. M. (1995). Roommate similarity: Are roommates who are similar in their communication traits more satisfied? Communication Research Reports, 12, 46-52.
[43] Martin, M. M., Heizel, A. D., & Valencic, K. M. (1999). Verbal aggression in computer-mediated decision-making. The Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Chicago, 12-15 November 1999, 21p.
[44] Martin, M. M., Weber, K., & Burant, P. A. (1997). Students’ perceptions of a teacher’s use of slang and verbal aggressiveness in a lecture: An experiment. The Annual Meeting of the Eastern Communication Association, Baltimore, 10-13 April 1997, 24p.
[45] Martin, S., Jackson, A., Richardson, P., & Weiller, K. (1999). Coaching preferences of adolescent youths and their parents. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 11, 247-262.
[46] McAuley, E, Duncan, T., & Tammen, V. V. (1989). Psychometric properties of the intrinsic motivation inventory in a competitive sport setting: A confirmatory factor analysis. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 60, 48-58.
[47] Myers, S. A. (2002). Perceived aggressive instructor communication and student state motivation, learning and satisfaction. Communication Reports, 15, 113-121.
[48] Myers, S. A., & Rocca, K. A. (2000a). Students’ state motivation and instructors’ use of verbally aggressive messages. Psychological Reports, 87, 291-294.
[49] Myers, S. A., & Rocca, K. A. (2000b). The relationship between perceived instructor communicator style, argumentativeness, and verbal aggressiveness. Communication Research Reports, 17, 1-12.
[50] Myers, S. A., & Rocca, K. A. (2001). Perceived instructor Argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness in the college classroom: Effects on student perceptions of climate, apprehension, state motivation. Western Journal of Communication, 65, 113-137.
[51] Myers, S. A., & Knox, R. L. (1999). Verbal aggression in the college classroom: Perceived instructor use and student affective learning. Communication Quarterly, 47, 33-45.
[52] Myers, S. A., & Knox, R. L. (2000). Perceived instructor argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness and student outcomes. Communication Research Reports, 17, 299-309.
[53] Myers, S. A., Edwards, C., Wahl, S. T., & Martin, M. M. (2007). The relationship between perceived instructor aggressive communication and college student involvement. Communication Education, 56, 495508.
[54] Nicholls, J. G. (1989). The competitive ethos and democratic education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[55] Nicholls, J. G. (1992). The general and the specific in the development and the expression of achievement motivation. In G. C. Roberts (Ed.), Motivation in sport and exercise (pp. 31-56). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
[56] Pelletier, L. G., Fortier, M. S., Vallerand, R. J., Tuson, K. M., Briere, N. M., & Blais, M. R. (1995). Toward a new measure of intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation in sports: The sport motivation scale (SMS). Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17, 35-53.
[57] Reynolds, R., & Allen, W. (2003). The effects of coach communicative aggression on athlete learning and motivation. Washington, DC: International Communication Association.
[58] Riemer, H. A., & Chelladurai, P. (1995). Leadership and satisfaction in athletics. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17, 276-293.
[59] Roach, K. D. (1995). Teaching assistant argumentativeness: Effects of affective learning and student perceptions of power use. Communication Education, 44, 15-29.
[60] Rocca, K. A. (2000). Attendance and participation in the college classroom: The role of the instructor. Unpublished Dissertation, Morgantown, WV: The College of Human Resources and Education at West Virginia University.
[61] Rocca, Κ. A. (2004). College student attendance: Impact of instructor immediacy and verbal aggression. Communication Education, 53, 185195.
[62] Rocca, K. A., & McCroskey, J. C. (1999). The interrelationship of student ratings of instructors’ immediacy, verbal aggressiveness, homophily, and interpersonal attraction. Communication Education, 48, 308-316.
[63] Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.
[64] Ryan, R. M. (1982). Control and information in the intrapersonal sphere: An extension of cognitive evaluation theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 450-461.
[65] Schmuck, R. A., & Schmuck, P. A. (1968). Helping teachers improve classroom group processes. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 4, 401-435.
[66] Schrodt, P. (2003). Students’ appraisals of instructors as a function of students’ perceptions of instructors’ aggressive communication. Communication Education, 52, 106-121.
[67] Shields, D. L., Bredemeier, B. L., Gardner, D. E., & Bostrom, A. (1995). Leadership, cohesion, and team norms regarding cheating and aggression. Sociology of Sport Journal, 12, 324-337.
[68] Turman, P. D. (2001). Situational coaching styles: The impact of success and athlete maturity level on coaches’ leadership styles over time. Small Group Research, 32, 576-594.
[69] Turman, P. D. (2003). Athletic coaching from an instructional communication perspective: The influence of coach experience on high school wrestlers’ preferences and perceptions of coaching behaviors across a season. Communication Education, 52, 73-86.
[70] Vallerand, R. J., Deshaies, P., Cuerrier, J., Pelletier, L. G., & Mongeau, C. (1992). Ajzen and Fishbein’s theory of reasoned action as applied to moral behavior: A confirmatory analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 98-109.
[71] Vallerand, R. J., & Rousseau, F. L. (2001). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in sport and exercise: A review using the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In R. N. Singer, H. A. Hausenblas, & C. M. Janelle (Eds.), Handbook of sport psychology (2nd ed., pp. 389-416). New York: Wiley.
[72] Wrench, J. S., & Richmond, V. P. (2004). Understanding the psychometric properties of the Humor Assessment instrument through an analysis of the relationships between teacher humor assessment and instructional communication variables in the college classroom. Communication Research Reports, 21, 92-103.
[73] Wrench, J., & Punyanunt-Carter, N. M. (2005). Advisor-advisee communication two: The influence of verbal aggression and humor assessment on advisee perceptions of advisor credibility and affective learning. Communication Research Reports, 22, 303-313.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.