Sydney 2000: The Interplay between Emotions, Coping, and the Performance of Olympic-Level Athletes

in The Sport Psychologist
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Drawing upon the Cognitive-Motivational-Relational Theory of Emotion (Lazarus, 1991, 1999, 2000) and Hanin’s (1993, 2000) conceptualization of emotions, the purpose of this study was threefold. First, the reported content, frequency, and intensity of emotions experienced by 61 athletes in relation to a stressful event when competing in the 2000 Olympic Games were determined. Second, the relationships between emotional responses and reported coping strategies and perceived coping effectiveness were examined. Finally, the degree to which emotions and perceived coping effectiveness predicted subjective and objective performance during the Olympics was ascertained. In general, the athletes experienced a high frequency of optimizing emotions. Optimizing emotions were related to coping effectiveness, which emerged as a positive predictor of objective competitive results. Coping effectiveness also positively predicted subjective performance while reported dysfunctional emotions emerged as a negative predictor.

Anne Marte Pensgaard is now with the Norwegian Olympic Sport Centre, Sognsveien 228, Postbox 4003 Ullevaal Stadion, N-0806 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: am@pensgaard.com. Joan L. Duda is with the University of Birmingham School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Edgbaston B15 2TT Birmingham, UK.

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