Thriving on Pressure: A Factor Mixture Analysis of Sport Performers’ Responses to Competitive Encounters

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Bath
  • 2 University of Portsmouth
  • 3 Loughborough University
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Although considerable research exists on performers’ responses to sporting encounters, little is known about thriving in sport contexts. The current study examined if distinct response patterns existed between sport performers who thrived in competitive encounters compared with those who did not. Participants were 535 sport performers (134 women; Mage = 23.60 years, SDage = 8.08; Mcompeting = 11.84 years, SDcompeting = 7.11). Results of factor mixture analysis supported a four-profile solution comprising a thriving group (n = 146), a low-functioning group (n = 38), and two groups characterized by scores marginally above (n = 131) and below (n = 209) the sample mean. Profile membership was found to be predicted by personal enablers (viz., personal resilient qualities, psychological skills use) and process variables (viz., basic psychological need satisfaction and frustration, challenge appraisal). This examination of thriving in sport performers offers significant implications for research and practice.

Daniel J. Brown, Rachel Arnold, and Martyn Standage are with the Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom. Daniel J. Brown is currently with the Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom. David Fletcher is with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Rachel Arnold at

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