Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. N. (Nico) van Yperen

Research interests

As a professor of Sport & Performance Psychology, I am interested in the mental aspects of sport and performance and talent development, and achievement motivation in particular. Individuals’ achievement motivation affects the degree to which they are inclined to perform their tasks, why they are willing to perform and to persist, how they feel and think about the task, how they evaluate the task, and how they tend to respond to task feedback, coaching, and mentoring. In our research, we rely on (multi-level) cross-sectional, longitudinal, and time-series field studies, laboratory experiments, and meta-analyses. We conduct our field research primarily in the sport context (e.g., Den Hartigh et al, 2022; Van Yperen, 2021; Van Yperen et al, 2021, 2022), but also in academic (e.g., Hiemstra et al., 2019; Moghimi et al., 2020; Van Yperen et al, 2021) and work settings (e.g., Hoendervanger et al, 2022; Van Yperen, 2017; Wörtler et al, 2021, 2022). 

Achievement goal theorists’ basic assumption is that individuals’ achievement motivation is fueled by the need for competence, which is generally considered to be a fundamental psychological need. People feel (in)competent on the basis of the standard(s) they use when evaluating their performance. Three basic standards can be identified: the task, the self, and others. In the achievement goal literature, standards are crossed with valence (approach versus avoidance). Approach goals are aimed at acquiring positive possibilities (e.g., competence), whereas avoidance goals are aimed at avoiding negative possibilities (e.g., incompetence). 

Building upon this 3 × 2 achievement goal framework, our research has brought the achievement goal field forward by proposing a hierarchical achievement goal system (Van Yperen, 2021, 2022), introducing refined conceptualizations and measures of achievement goals (Van Yperen, 2003, 2006, 2017; Van Yperen & Orehek, 2013), meta-analyzing experimental achievement goal research (Van Yperen et al., 2015) and field research across the domains of sport, work, and education (Van Yperen et al., 2014), and reviewing achievement goal research in sports (Van Yperen, 2021) and in workplace contexts (Van Yperen, 2017). Theoretical progress has been made by demonstrating …

  • ... how the multifaceted nature of achievement goal pursuit can be structured into a hierarchical goal system (Van Yperen, 2021; 2022). 
  • ... the effects of achievement goals on interpersonal behavior at work, including collaboration and information exchange (Janssen & Van Yperen, 2004; Poortvliet et al., 2007, 2009) and leaders’ receptivity to subordinates’ creative input (Sijbom et al., 2015ab, 2017).
  • … the overpowering effect of social comparison information (TOESCI) on performance self-evaluations, regardless of individuals’ achievement goals (Van Yperen & Leander, 2014);
  • … the importance and high prevalence of self-based avoidance goals (Van Yperen, 2006; Van Yperen et al., 2011; Van Yperen & Orehek, 2013), particularly among older people (Van Lange et al., 2010), including the negative effect of these goals on performance (Van Yperen et al., 2009);
  • ... the effects of achievement goals on obstruction and cheating (Poortvliet et al., 2012; Van Yperen et al., 2011);
  • … the recursive process in which performance operates as both antecedent and consequence of achievement goals (Van Yperen & Renkema, 2008);
  • … that achievement goals may undermine the positive effect of prior task interest on actual performance as well as on subsequent task interest (Blaga & Van Yperen, 2008; Van Yperen, 2003);
  • … birth order effects on achievement goal adoption (Carette et al., 2011);
  • … choking under pressure among individuals holding self-based achievement goals (Smeding et al., 2015);
  • … the links with feelings of inclusion in culturally diverse youth soccer team (Van Yperen et al., 2021);
  • … the links between big five personality factors and achievement goals (McCabe et al., 2013);
  • … how and why a fit between performance goals and regulatory strategies affects performance (Renkema & Van Yperen, 2008);
  • … how and why company success and pay system relate to the perceived profile of achievement goals within companies (Van Yperen, 2003);
  • … how and why followers’ achievement goals are related to leadership style and leaders' reactions (Hamstra et al., 2014; Sijbom et al., 2015ab).
  • … how and why achievement goals affect workers’ reactions to feedback (Anseel et al., 2011).

Related to, or embedded in, my research on achievement motivation, we examined:

  • Stress, fatigue, burnout, dropout, and resilience (Beckers et al., 2004, 2007; Brenninkmeijer & Van Yperen, 2003; Brenninkmeijer et al., 2001; Den Hartigh et al., 2022; Hagedoorn et al., 1999; Hill et al., 2018ab, 2020ab; Schaufeli & Van Yperen, 1992, 1993; Van der Goot et al., 2021; Van de Vliert & Van Yperen, 1996; Van Yperen, 1996, 2003, 2007; Van Yperen & Hagedoorn, 2003; Van Yperen et al., 1992; Van Yperen et al., 1996; Van Yperen et al., 2022; Van Yperen & Janssen, 2002; Van Yperen & Snijders, 2000; Van Yperen et al., 2000).
  • Talent development and learning (Den Hartigh et al., 2014, 2015, 2017; Hiemstra & Van Yperen, 2015; Hiemstra et al., 2019; Hill et al., 2020a; Jonker et al., 2018; Van Yperen, 2009; Van Yperen et al., 2021).
  • Individual difference variables, including
    • The big five (McCabe et al., 2013);
    • Perfectionism (Van Yperen et al., 2013; Van Yperen & Hagedoorn, 2008), unmitigated communion (Jin et al., 2010);
    • Generativity (Doerwald et al., 2021);
    • Societal status en perceived motivational climate (Van Yperen et al, 2021);
    • Self-Efficacy (Bosma & Van Yperen, 2020; Moghimi et al., 2020; Van Yperen, 1998);
    • Regulatory fit (Hamstra et al., 2013, 2017);
    • Action-regulation (Moghimi et al., 2020);
    • Perceived fit (Hoendervanger et al., 2020);
    • Psychological need strength (De Jonge et al., 2018; Rietzschel et al., 2014; Slijkhuis et al., 2013; Van Yperen et al., 2014, 2019; Wörtler et al., 2020ab, 2021).
    • Age (Armenta et al., 2018; De Jonge et al., 2015; De Lange et al., 2010; Doerwald et al., 2017; Hagedoorn et al, 2006; Moghimi et al., 2017).
  • The home field advantage in soccer (Hill & Van Yperen, 2021).
  • Functional classification in paralympic sports (Bosma & Van Yperen, 2020).
  • Autonomous motivation and psychological needs (Van der Goot et al., 2021; Van Yperen et al., 2021; Wörtler et al., 2020ab, 2021)
  • Pay (Van Vliert et al., 2008; Van Yperen et al., 2005; Van Yperen, 2003).
  • Power and Leadership (Hamstra et al., 2011; 2014; Niemann et al, 2015; Sanders et al., 2015, 2017; Sijbom et al., 2015; Van Yperen et al., 1999; Wörtler et al., 2022).
  • Psychological momentum (Den Hartigh et al., 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019).
  • (Non)ergodicity (Hill et al, 2021; Neumann et al, 2022)
  • Coaching and Mentoring (Doerwald et al., 2016, 2021; Van Yperen et al., 2015).
  • Creativity (De Jonge et al., 2018; Rietzschel et al., 2014; Slijkhuis et al., 2013).
  • Blended working and flexibility (De Jonge et al., 2015; Hoendervanger et al., 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022; Van Yperen et al., 2014, 2016; Van Yperen & Wortler, 2017ab, 2021; Wörtler et al, 2021).
Read more


How do psychological and physiological performance determinants interact within individual athletes? An analytical network approach

Resilience in sports: A multidisciplinary, dynamic, and personalized perspective

Detecting early warning signals of injuries and health problems in elite youth soccer players

How Do Psychological and Physiological Performance Determinants Interact Within Individual Athletes? An Analytical Network Approach

How everything is connected: Mapping performance determinants of athletes in personalized networks

Towards a more complex, dynamic, and personalized perspective on development

What do we currently know about the development of talent? A systematic review in the soccer context

A Multidisciplinary, Personalized Approach to Resilience in Sports

A Network Approach To Study Individual-Specific Performance Dynamics In Sports

Focus, vertrouwen, veerkracht: en andere mentale aspecten van sport en presteren

Read more



Falen onder druk

‘Max Verstappen heeft een mental coach, maar dat weet hij zelf niet’

Spel of resultaat?



Best of ’22: ‘Je bent geen sukkel als je naar de psycholoog gaat’

In de puzzel van Louis van Gaal ontbreekt een essentieel stukje


Omgaan met spanning en het verbeteren van sportprestaties

Read more