Introduction: Girls are often less motivated to participate in recreational sport compared to boys. Having a strong social identity with a sports team is positively associated with motivation to continue participation in sport, which is perhaps explained by the positive effect social identity has on the self-concept. Specifically, a positive physical self-concept encourages motivation to participate in sport. Therefore, we examine whether the relationship between social identity and motivation is mediated by perceptions of the physical self.
Method: We use a sample of girl badminton athletes to examine how the team environment shapes physical self-concept, and whether this association relates to motivation to participate in badminton. One hundred and fifty girls completed the Social Identity in Sport Questionnaire, the physical self-concept questionnaire, and items from the Behaviour Regulation in Sport Questionnaire. Two mediation models were fit to examine whether perceptions of the physical self-mediated the relationship between social identity and internal motivation and external motivation.
Results: Physical self-concept partially mediated the relationship between social identity and internal motivation. The bootstrapped unstandardized indirect effect was .06, 95% CI(.01, .14). Physical self-concept fully mediated the relationship between social identity and external motivation. The bootstrapped unstandardized indirect effect was -.13, 95% CI(-.29, -.02)
Discussion: These results highlight the importance of the group context in relation to individual self-concept and motivation. Overall, targeting aspects of the team environment may be an important strategy to improve girls' perceptions of their physical self, and in turn improve motivation to continue sport participation.