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An aim of this paper was to discover whether athletes of different pubertal status, chronological age, and gender reported distinct coping strategies in response to stress during a competitive event in their sport. A secondary aim was to examine pubertal status group, chronological age, and gender differences in coping effectiveness. Participants were adolescent athletes (n = 527), classified as beginning-pubertal (n = 59), midpubertal (n = 189), advanced-pubertal (n = 237), and postpubertal (n = 22). Findings revealed that there were small, but significant differences in how athletes of different pubertal status and chronological age coped. There were also significant differences between how athletes of different pubertal status perceived the effectiveness of their coping strategies. Interestingly, our results suggested that the relationship between pubertal status and coping and coping effectiveness is different from the relationship between chronological age and coping and coping effectiveness.
Nicholls is with the Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom. Polman is now with the Centre for Applied Sport Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom. Morley is with ESP (Education & Special Projects) Burnley, United Kingdom. Natalie J. Taylor is with the Department of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.