Motivational profiles in table tennis players: Relations with performance anxiety and subjective vitality

Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Tao Zhang, Tsung Min Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Research has suggested the need to use a person-centred approach to examine multidimensionality of motivation. Guided by self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985), the primary aim of the present study was to examine the motivational profiles in table tennis players and their composition by gender, country, training status, and competition levels (from recreational to international). The secondary aim was to examine the differences in performance anxiety and subjective vitality across the motivational profiles. Participants were 281 table tennis players from multiple countries, mostly the U.S. and China. Hierarchical and nonhierarchical cluster analyses were conducted and showed three motivational profiles with distinct quantity and quality: “low”, “controlled”, and “self-determined”. Chi-square tests of independence demonstrated significant differences in their cluster membership by country, formal training with a coach, and competition levels, but not gender. MANCOVA results indicated differences in performance anxiety and subjective vitality across the motivational profiles, in which the controlled profile had the greatest anxiety symptoms. These differences are attributed to the quality over quantity of motivation, which have meaningful implications for table tennis coaches and sport psychology consultants to diagnose and intervene with players in order to reduce their performance anxiety and improve their well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2738-2750
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 2



  • anxiety
  • cluster analysis
  • Self-determination theory
  • subjective vitality
  • table tennis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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