prof. dr. N. (Nico) van Yperen

Professor of Sport & Performance Psychology


Research interests

As a professor of Sport & Performance Psychology, my main research topic is achievement motivation. 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 my research, I rely on (multi-level) cross-sectional and longitudinal field studies, laboratory experiments, and meta-analyses. I conduct my field research in sport, but also in academic and work settings. 

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, my research has brought the achievement goal field forward by 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 (Van Yperen, 2017). Theoretical progress has been made by demonstrating …

  • … 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 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 goals (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 (Dankers et al.);
  • … the links between big five personality factors and achievement goals (McCabe et al., 2013);
  • ... the effects of achievement goals on obstruction and cheating (Poortvliet et al., 2012; Van Yperen et al., 2011),
  • ... 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);
  • … 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:

  • Personality factors, including the big five (McCabe et al., 2013), perfectionism (Van Yperen et al., 2013; Van Yperen & Hagedoorn, 2008), unmitigated communion (Jin et al., 2010), self-efficacy (Van Yperen, 1998), regulatory fit (Hamstra et al., 2013, 2017), and psychological need strength (Rietzschel et al., 2014; Slijkhuis et al., 2013; Van Yperen et al., 2014).
  • 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).
  • Work stress, fatigue, and burnout (Beckers et al., 2004, 2007; Brenninkmeijer & Van Yperen, 2003; Brenninkmeijer et al., 2001; Hagedoorn et al., 1999; Schaufeli & Van Yperen, 1992, 1993; 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 & Janssen, 2002; Van Yperen & Snijders, 2000; Van Yperen et al., 2000).
  • 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).
  • Psychological momentum (Den Hartigh et al., 2014, 2016, 2017)
  • Coaching and Mentoring (Doerwald et al., 2016; Van Yperen et al., 2015).
  • Talent development and learning (Den Hartigh et al., 2014, 2015, 2017; Hiemstra & Van Yperen, 2015; Van Yperen, 2009)
  • Creativity (De Jonge et al., 2018; Rietzschel et al., 2014; Slijkhuis et al., 2013).
  • Blended working and flexibility (Hoendervanger et al., 2016; Van Yperen & Wortler, 2017ab, Van Yperen et al., 2014, 2016; De Jonge et al., 2015).


  1. Achievement goals and self-regulation in the sport context

    Van Yperen, N. W. 2018 (Accepted/In press) Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Principles. third ed. New York: Guilford Press

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  2. Competence and the Workplace

    Van Yperen, N. W. 28-Apr-2017 Handbook of Competence and Motivation: Theory and Application. Elliot, A. J., Dweck, C. S. & Yeager, D. S. (eds.). 2 ed. New York: Guilford Press, p. 635-654 20 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  3. Individual differences in satisfaction with activity-based work environments

    Hoendervanger, J., Ernst, A. F., Albers, C., Mobach, M. & Van Yperen, N. W. 8-Mar-2018 In : PLoS ONE. 13, 3, 15 p., 0193878

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Press / Media
  1. Scenario

    Nico Yperen, van


    1 media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

  2. Seks

    Nico Yperen, van


    1 media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

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  1. Sport, Excercise and Performance Psychology (Journal)

    Hill, Y. (Editorial board member), Hartigh, den, R. (Editorial board member), Meijer, R. (Editorial board member), Jonge, de, P. (Editorial board member), Yperen, van, N. (Editorial board member)

    Activity: ScientificPublication peer-review

  2. Presteren onder druk

    Yperen, van, N. (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

  3. Begeleidingsgesprekken met individuele atleten, (inter)nationale top

    Yperen, van, N. (Consultant)
    18-Apr-2018 → …

    Activity: ProfessionalConsultancy

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  1. Best Poster Prize

    Yannick Hill (Recipient), Ruud Hartigh, den (Recipient), Rob Meijer (Recipient), Peter Jonge, de (Recipient) & Nico Yperen, van (Recipient), 12-Apr-2018


  2. WAOP runner-up best paper award

    Kiki Jonge, de (Recipient), Eric Rietzschel (Recipient) & Nico Yperen, van (Recipient), 24-Nov-2017


  3. Highly Commended Award - Journal of Corporate Real Estate

    Jan Gerard Hoendervanger (Recipient), Iris de Been (Recipient), Nico Yperen, van (Recipient), Mark P. Mobach (Recipient) & Casper Albers (Recipient), 17-May-2017


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