Testing the simplex assumption underlying the Sport Motivation Scale: a structural equation modeling analysis.

Research paper by F F Li, P P Harmer

Indexed on: 01 Dec '96Published on: 01 Dec '96Published in: Research quarterly for exercise and sport


Self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) suggests that motivational orientation or regulatory styles with respect to various behaviors can be conceptualized along a continuum ranging from low (a motivation) to high (intrinsic motivation) levels of self-determination. This pattern is manifested in the rank order of correlations among these regulatory styles (i.e., adjacent correlations are expected to be higher than those more distant) and is known as a simplex structure. Using responses from the Sport Motivation Scale (Pelletier et al., 1995) obtained from a sample of 857 college students (442 men, 415 women), the present study tested the simplex structure underlying SMS subscales via structural equation modeling. Results confirmed the simplex model structure, indicating that the various motivational constructs are empirically organized from low to high self-determination. The simplex pattern was further found to be invariant across gender. Findings from this study support the construct validity of the SMS and have important implications for studies focusing on the influence of motivational orientation in sport.