chapter  2
26 Pages

Social psychological theories and models: Sarah McLachlan, Derwin King-Chung Chan, Dave Keatley and Martin Hagger

Social psychological theories and models are often adopted to identify and understand

the factors that influence behaviour and behaviour change. Such theories and models

are therefore of great potential use in understanding and increasing athletes’ participa-

tion in strength and conditioning training. These theories and models provide a

framework for predicting behaviour, describing the mechanisms underlying behaviour

and identifying the causal determinants of behaviour as targets for intervention

(Michie, Johnston, Francis, Hardeman, & Eccles, 2008). Within the field of sport and

exercise, social cognitive theory (SCT; Bandura, 1977), the theory of planned beha-

viour (TPB; Ajzen, 1991) and self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985,

2000) have been identified as particularly useful in predicting behaviour. For example,

the TPB has been applied directly to understanding strength and conditioning training

behaviour (e.g. Mummery & Wankel, 1999). These theories have also been effective

in informing behaviour change interventions in the sport and exercise domain

(Chatzisarantis & Hagger, 2009; Hardeman et al., 2002) and could be applied to

inform the development of interventions in strength and conditioning training with

the aim of increasing athletes’ participation in training regimens outside regular prac-

tice. The theories can be used to explain and modify important behaviours, such as

sprint drills and weight training, as well as promoting other important adaptive out-

comes such as athletes’ psychological well-being. This chapter will provide an over-

view of each of the theories, empirical evidence of their effectiveness in understanding

and changing behaviour, with examples from strength and conditioning training

where literature is available, details of their augmentation and integration, and research

directions for their further application to strength and conditioning training.