Sex of Subject, Sex of Opponent, and Opponent Ability as Factors Affecting Self-confidence in a competitive situation

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Male and female subjects (N = 80), ranging in age from 17 to 25 years, participated in a study designed to determine if the sex of the sex of the subject, the sex of the subject's opponent, or the perceived ability of the subject's opponent, (good vs. poor ability) affected subjects' self confidence after competing at a task (TV Pong Game) of “neutral” sex orientation. a 2 x 2 x 2 mixed factorial design, with 10 subjects assigned to each cell, was used. All subjects competed in five games against a confederate and in all cases subjects lost all but the second of the five games. Data were treated using an ANCOVA, with preperformance confidence being used as the covariate. Ragardless of sex of the opponent, females expressed postperformance confidence levels equal to males after performing against an opponent thought to be poor in ability, but they were significantly less cofident after performing against opponents perceived to be good in ability. These findings are consistent with those of Argote, Fisher, McDonald, and O'Neal (1976), who note that the performance expectations of females tend to be unstable and change with single encounters, whereas males are less likely to allow one failure to affect performance assessments.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Charles B. Corbin, Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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