Determinants of competitive performance expectancies of young male athletes1


  • 1

    This research was supported by two grants to the first author including Grant MH 27750-01 from the National Institute of Mental Health and Grant 3188 from the University of California, Los Angeles. The second author received support during the preparation of this manuscript from Biomedical Research Support Grant RR 07096 from the Graduate School Research Fund, University of Washington. The authors gratefully acknowledge the cooperation received from the American Youth Soccer Organization and its participants. Thanks are also extended to Rebecca Lewthwaite for her helpful input to this manuscript.

Reprint requests should be sent to Tara K. Scanlan, Department of Kinesiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Calif. 90024.


Although performance expectancies have been shown to be important mediators of achievement behavior, few specific determinants of personal expectancies have been identified, the ecological validity of previous results is limited, and factors influencing group performance expectancies have not been determined. Therefore, the purpose of this field study involving 11- and 12-year-old male soccer players was twofold. First, we examined specific intrapersonal and situational factors influencing players' pregame personal and team performance expectancies. Second, we investigated the effects of winning and losing a competitive soccer game on players' postgame team expectancies involving a hypothetical rematch with the identical opponent. The pregame findings revealed that (a) the intrapersonal factors of ability and self-esteem were related to personal performance expectancies while competitive trait anxiety was not, and (b) the situational factors of past win-loss record and a prior game win or loss against the same opponent influenced team performance expectancies. The postgame findings revealed that future expectancies were affected by the interactive effects of game win-loss and self-esteem.