Nikos Ntoumanis

Nikos Ntoumanis
University of Southern Denmark | SDU · Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics

PhD in Medical Sciences
Visit our Danish Centre for Motivation and Behaviour Science https://www.sdu.dk/en/om_sdu/institutter_centre/driven

About

401
Publications
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Introduction
I am a Professor of Motivation Science at SDU (University of Southern Denmark; Syddansk Universitet). My research focuses on factors that optimise motivation and promote optimal performance, psychological well-being, and health-conducive behaviours. I am a Fellow and Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society, and a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences, and the American Psychological Association. Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms0UMz419Ow
Additional affiliations
July 2021 - present
University of Southern Denmark
Position
  • Professor
July 2014 - June 2021
Curtin University
Position
  • Professor
September 2001 - present
University of Birmingham
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (401)
Article
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships of achievement goal orientations and perceived motivational climate to perceptions of the intensity and direction of competitive state anxiety in a sample of university athletes representing various team sports. Although some studies have demonstrated that task orientation and mastery clima...
Article
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This study used self-determination theory (Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000). The 'what' and 'why' of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.) to examine predictors of body image concerns and unhealthy weight control behaviours in a sample of 350 Greek adolescent girls. A process model wa...
Article
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Self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000, Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behaviour. New York: Plenum Publishing) highlights the impact autonomy supportive environments can have on exercise motivation and positive health outcomes. Yet little is known about whether differential effects occur as a function of which significan...
Article
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Drawing from self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2002), we developed and tested an intervention to train fitness instructors to adopt a motivationally adaptive communication style when interacting with exercisers. This was a parallel group, two-arm quasi-experimental design. Participants in the intervention arm were 29 indoor cycling instructor...
Article
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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate, within a cross-cultural context, the psychometric properties of scores derived from the Perceived Locus of Causality Questionnaire (PLOCQ) and the Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS). Both questionnaires are grounded in self-determination theory and are commonly employed in physical education r...
Article
This research addresses recent calls for an alternative integrative framework to apprehend leaders’ behaviors and examines the validity of questionnaire anchored in this theoretical approach. Building upon Self-Determination Theory, we examined a tripartite approach of supervisors’ behaviors (supportive, thwarting, and indifferent toward subordinat...
Article
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Significance Communicating in ways that motivate engagement in social distancing remains a critical global public health priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study tested motivational qualities of messages about social distancing (those that promoted choice and agency vs. those that were forceful and shaming) in 25,718 people in 89 countries...
Article
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A considerable amount of human behavior occurs within the context of sports. In recent years there have been notable advances in psychological science research applied to understanding athletic endeavor. This work has utilized a number of novel theoretical, methodological, and data analytic approaches. We review the current evidence related to deve...
Article
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Objective: Increasing regular physical activity (PA) behaviour may be an effective adjunct intervention for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. This systematic review aims to identify promising behaviour change techniques (BCTs), namely, BCTs present in the design of interventions evidencing significant short-term and/or long-term (d ≥ 0.15 for...
Preprint
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Teachers’ behaviour is a key factor that influences students’ motivation. Many theoretical models have tried to explain this influence, with one of the most thoroughly researched being self-determination theory (SDT). We used a Delphi method to create a classification of teacher behaviours consistent with SDT. This is useful because SDT-based inter...
Article
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Weight management interventions designed specifically for men have become more common, but the extent to which socioeconomic factors are considered in trials of these interventions is unclear. We synthesized study characteristics, methods, and reporting of interventions with a behavioral component for men that report weight as an outcome, to establ...
Chapter
Motivational theories have explored both the bright and dark sides of personal and contextual factors that support or undermine, respectively, human functioning and potential. Here, I review research that has used self-determination theory as a guiding conceptual framework to study the bright and dark “colors” of motivation. I primarily focus on in...
Chapter
Over the last decade, research applying SDT in the health domain has been prolific, arguably more so than in any other applied domain. We review the evidence, both empirical and meta-analytic, on the application of SDT to promote health outcomes and behaviors. These behaviors range from simple and infrequent ones (e.g., receiving vaccinations) to c...
Chapter
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Doping is considered a major threat of modern sport. Since the establishment of the anti-doping system emphasis was placed on the detection and punishment approach in the fight against doping. Recently a shift to education as a preventive tool against doping has been made. In this effort several anti-doping educational interventions have been devel...
Article
This qualitative research explored older adults’ perceptions of participating in group-based walking programs set in independent-living retirement village contexts. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a subset of participants from the Residents in Action Trial. Data were analyzed through a combination of deductive and inductive thematic a...
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Recent narrative reviews indicate several psychological and social benefits of sport participation for the ageing population. However, no quantitative synthesis of quantitative studies on this topic has been conducted to date. We aimed to evaluate the magnitude and heterogeneity of the effects of sport participation on psychosocial outcomes for mid...
Article
Objective We aimed to determine what older adults perceive to be need-supportive behaviours of peer walk leaders, drawing primarily from Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Design Experienced peer leaders (n = 13; Mage = 73.23, SD = 6.55) and walkers (n = 17; Mage = 72.88, SD = 5.79) were recruited from existing walking groups. Individuals who express...
Preprint
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to determine what older adults perceive to be need-supportive behaviors of peer walk leaders, drawing primarily from Self-Determination Theory (SDT). DESIGN: Experienced peer leaders (n = 13; Mage = 73.23, SD = 6.55) and walkers (n = 17; Mage = 72.88, SD = 5.79) were recruited from existing walking groups. Individuals who expres...
Article
We conducted a pre-registered systematic review of seven databases and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials with athletes to examine the effectiveness of stress regulation interventions on performance outcomes, and the conditions under which their effects are strongest. We found a positive and significant moderate overall effect of stress...
Preprint
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Many psychological treatments have been shown to be cost-effective and efficacious, as long as they are implemented faithfully. Assessing fidelity and providing feedback is expensive and time-consuming. Machine learning has been used to assess treatment fidelity, but the reliability and generalisability is unclear. We collated and critiqued all imp...
Article
The statistical synthesis of quantitative effects within primary studies via meta-analysis is an important analytical technique in the scientific toolkit of modern researchers. As with any scientific method or technique, knowledge of the weaknesses that might render findings limited or potentially erroneous as well as strategies by which to mitigat...
Article
Full-text available
Many psychological treatments have been shown to be cost-effective and efficacious, as long as they are implemented faithfully. Assessing fidelity and providing feedback is expensive and time-consuming. Machine learning has been used to assess treatment fidelity, but the reliability and generalisability is unclear. We collated and critiqued all imp...
Article
We conducted a longitudinal (3-month) qualitative study to examine elite military personnel's (N = 32) experiences and perspectives of team resilience emergence following two team-oriented training courses within an 18-month high-stakes training program where personnel are required to operate in newly formed tactical teams for extended periods. Our...
Article
Stress is an important consideration for understanding why individuals take part in limited or no physical activity. The negative effects of stress on physical activity do not hold for everyone, so examinations of possible resilience resources that might protect individuals from the harmful effects of stress are required. Accordingly, we conducted...
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There is intuitive and practical appeal to the idea of emergent resilience, that is, sustaining healthy levels of functioning or recovering quickly after some degree of deterioration following exposure to heightened risk or vulnerability. Scholars typically utilize mean levels of functioning indices to identify qualitatively distinct latent subgrou...
Article
Athletes require knowledge of self-regulatory processes and skills to enact them successfully if they are to mitigate the potentially maladaptive effects of stress on functioning (e.g., psychological health, performance). Existing stress regulation interventions typically adopt a “one size fits all” approach in which individuals are taught specific...
Article
Aim Mixed methods were used to evaluate a group self-management education intervention to address type 1 diabetes (T1D)-specific barriers to physical activity (PA). We evaluated the acceptability of study resources and procedures. Methods Consented participants from a quantitative evaluation (n=70) were invited to participate in one of five focus...
Article
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Objective. Habits, defined as well-learned associations between cues and behaviours, are essential for health-related behaviours, including physical activity (PA). Despite the sensitivity of habits to context changes, little remains known about the influence of a context change on the interplay between PA habits and behaviours. We investigated the...
Article
Objective: This process evaluation aimed to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of Aussie-FIT, a group-based weight loss intervention for men with overweight and obesity in Australia. Design: Process data and data collected from: (1) six-participant focus groups (n= 24), (2) coach interviews (n = 4), (3) audio recordings of Aussie-FIT ses...
Article
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Background: Research suggests dyadic interventions can increase physical activity; such interventions are untested within postpartum parent couples. Methods: A three-armed pilot randomized trial addressed this gap and tested which type of dyadic intervention is most effective. Inactive postpartum mothers and a significant other were recruited in Au...
Article
Cumulating evidence from 24 independent randomized controlled trials or experiments (N = 4,339), we meta-analytically examined questions regarding the effectiveness of team reflexivity on collective performance outcomes and behaviors, and the conditions under which such effects are strongest. We addressed these questions by testing the overall effe...
Article
Objective Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, characterised by high-grade systemic inflammation, pain, and swollen joints. RA patients have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study examined if a 3-month individualised RA-tailored exercise programme with one-on-one Self-Determination Theory (SDT)-based support f...
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Objectives The aims of this study were to examine the longitudinal and bi-directional associations between pain and fatigue with sedentary, standing and stepping time in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Methods People living with RA undertook identical assessments at baseline (T1 [n = 104]) and 6-month follow-up (T2 [n = 54]). Participants completed phy...
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Background Physical inactivity is a global health concern. mHealth interventions have become increasingly popular, but to date, principles of effective communication from Self-Determination Theory have not been integrated with behavior change techniques to optimize app effectiveness. We outline the development of the START app, an app combining SDT...
Article
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Aim To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a theory-driven, group education intervention designed to reduce fear of hypoglycaemia (FoH) as a barrier to physical activity (PA) in adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Methods A pilot, single blinded pilot randomised controlled trial in adults aged between 18-65 years, l...
Article
Background Fatigue is a highly prevalent and disabling symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). The aetiology remains unclear, potentially resulting from neuroinflammatory or neurodegenerative processes, mood disturbance, MS symptoms including pain, poor sleep, physical decompensation or medication side effects. Cross-sectional associations have been re...
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Objectives: Self-compassion can facilitate self-improvement motivation. We examined the effects of self-compassion in response to dietary lapses on outcomes relevant to weight-loss strivings using a longitudinal design. The indirect effects of self-compassion via guilt and shame were also explored. Design: An Ecological Momentary Assessment methodo...
Article
The authors examined whether purposeful walking with peers at least once a week contributes to better behavioral and health outcomes in older adults than primarily walking alone. The authors used a longitudinal cohort design and recruited participants aged 60 years and older (N = 136) at the start of a 16-week walking intervention. Participants who...
Article
Based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT), this research aimed to investigate whether employees’ psychological need states could be expanded from two (need satisfaction and frustration) to three (need satisfaction, frustration, and unfulfillment). Relying on exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) and bifactor-ESEM, this research also offere...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective. Habits, defined as well-learned associations between cues and behaviours, are essential for health-related behaviours, including physical activity (PA). Despite the sensitivity of habits to context changes, little remains known about the influence of a context change on the interplay between PA habits and behaviours. Here, we investigate...
Article
Full-text available
Objective. To assess whether changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour during the COVID-19 lockdown are associated with changes in mental and physical health. Design. Observational longitudinal study. Method. Participants living in France or Switzerland responded to online questionnaires measuring physical activity, physical and mental...
Article
Background and Objectives Peer volunteers offer a promising avenue for promoting physical activity in older adults. However, recruiting and retaining such volunteers is challenging. We aimed to examine longitudinally factors that determine whether older volunteer walk leaders will persist in their role. Research Design and Methods We recruited old...
Preprint
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Peer volunteers offer a promising avenue for promoting physical activity in older adults. However, recruiting and retaining such volunteers is challenging. We aimed to examine longitudinally factors that determine whether older volunteer walk leaders will persist in their role. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We recruited ol...
Article
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Objectives: Coach-centred antidoping education is scarce. We tested the efficacy of a motivationally informed antidoping intervention for coaches, with their athletes' willingness to dope as the primary outcome. Methods: We delivered a cluster randomised controlled trial in Australia, the UK and Greece. This study was a parallel group, two-condi...
Article
To identify and map barriers and facilitators of physical activity (PA) in adults living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in any care setting or environment. A scoping review was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA-ScR guidelines to address the aim of this review. Exclusion/inclusion criteria were determined a priori. Articles captured in the search...
Preprint
We examined whether purposeful walking with peers (WP) at least once a week contributes to better behavioral and health outcomes in older adults than primarily walking alone (WA). We used a longitudinal cohort design and recruited participants aged 60 and older (N =136) at the start of a 16-week walking intervention. Participants who walked on aver...
Article
Full-text available
Self-determination Theory differentiates various types of motivation, each of which have different consequences for well-being and behavior. Despite broad agreement concerning the nature of different types of motivation, numerous scoring methods, each of which rely on different assumptions, are commonly practiced. These practices range from a relat...
Article
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Objectives Research demonstrates that sedentary behaviour may contribute towards cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study explored diurnal patterns of sedentary time and physical activity (PA) in RA and examined associations with long-term CVD risk. Methods 97 RA patients wore an accelerometer for 7 days to assess...
Article
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Background: Recent evidence shows that sport settings can act as a powerful draw to engage men in weight loss. The primary objective of this pilot study was to test feasibility of delivering and evaluating preliminary efficacy of Aussie-FIT, a weight loss program for overweight/obese men delivered in Australian Football League settings, in preparat...
Chapter
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Motivation has been a ubiquitous topic in sport and exercise psychology research (Biddle, 1999; Weiss & Gill, 2005). Numerous theories have lent themselves as frameworks to study motivation in this domain, including self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985a; Ryan & Deci, 2017), theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), and achievement goa...
Article
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This commentary expands on the recent critical review by Swann et al. (2020) which aimed to update the applications of Goal-Setting Theory (Locke & Latham, 2019) in physical activity promotion. Drawing from other work on goal striving and behaviour change, we make four key points to further elaborate on Swann et al.’s review. First, goals are more...
Article
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Using a person-centered approach, the aim of this study was to examine how student-athletes motives for multiple goal pursuit relate to indices of well- and ill-being. Student-athletes (N = 362) from British Universities identified their most important sporting and academic goals that they were pursuing over the academic year. Participants rated th...
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Background: This study examined the effects of the iPlayClean anti-doping intervention on attitudes towards doping and susceptibility, and whether delivery mode affected the results. Methods: A total of 1,081 high-level UK athletes (14-18 years old, 904 males, 177 females) were cluster-randomised to the control (11 teams/organisations/schools, 314...
Article
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In some cases, doping in sport is an intentional goal-directed behavior, but research suggests that it might also occur accidentally when athletes inadvertently or unintentionally consume banned performance-enhancing drugs via food, supplements or medication. Because research into the psychological factors of unintentional doping is still emerging,...
Article
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Objectives: The needs of young people recovering from a first episode of psychosis (FEP) are multi-faceted. As a result of the metabolic problems and social isolation that often accompany FEP, combined with the effects of such a disruption at a critical developmental time, FEP recovery services often target physical activity, social connectivity, a...
Article
Adversities refer to events that are characterised by perceived or actual threat to human functioning. Often considered deleterious for health and well-being, recent work supports an alternative picture of the effects of adversity on human functioning, such that a moderate amount of adversity – when compared with none or high levels – can be benefi...
Article
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Objective: We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to promote health behavior change based on self-determination theory (SDT). The review aimed to (a) quantify the impact of SDT interventions on health behaviors, (b) test mediation by theoretically specified variables (autonomous motivation and perceived competence), an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective. To assess whether changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviours during the COVID-19 lockdown are associated with changes in mental and physical health. Design. Observational longitudinal study. Method. Participants living in France or Switzerland responded to online questionnaires. Paired sample t-tests were used to assess diffe...