Sport participation in youngsters has been associated with long-lasting psychosocial and health-related benefits as well as increased levels of physical exercise in adulthood. The objective of this study was to examine some psychological factors of fundamental importance in enhancing sport participation and preventing burnout. A sample of 520 girls and boys aged 13-18 years, practicing individual or team sports, took part in a cross-sectional study to assess basic psychological need satisfaction, psychobiosocial states, and burnout symptoms. The specific purpose was to examine the mediation effects of emotion-related (i.e., functional/dysfunctional) psychobiosocial states on the relationship between basic psychological need satisfaction (i.e., autonomy-choice, competence, and relatedness) and burnout symptoms (i.e., emotional/physical exhaustion, a reduced sense of accomplishment, and sport devaluation). Competence need satisfaction was found to be the most influential variable, with direct and indirect effects on burnout components, in particular, on a reduced sense of sport accomplishment. Overall, findings support the usefulness of investigating psychobiosocial states in youth sport and indicate that functional psychobiosocial states, as consequences of environmental motivational aspects, can have a significant effect on contrasting burnout symptoms.
Keywords: IZOF model; Self-Determination Theory; emotions; motivation; youth sport participation.