Sources of Strain among Elite UK Track Athletes

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Jane McKay University of Strathclyde

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Ailsa G. Niven Heriot-Watt University

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David Lavallee Aberystwyth University

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Alison White University of Strathclyde

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Following the theoretical framework of Lazarus and Folkman (1984), recently adapted to sport (Fletcher, Hanton, & Mellalieu, 2006), 12 elite UK track athletes (M age = 22.7; SD = 2.4 years) participated in semistructured interviews to identify sources of strain. Inductive content analysis identified 11 general dimensions of sources of strain from 664 meaning units, which were subsequently categorized into competitive, organizational, and personal domains. Several sources of strain (e.g., competitive concerns, pressure to perform) were consistent with previous research supporting the suggestion that a core group of stressors may be evident across sports although several sources of strain appeared to be more pertinent to track athletes (e.g., social evaluation and self-presentation concerns) highlighting the need to consider group differences.

McKay is with the Dept. of Sport, Culture, and the Arts, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Niven is with the School of Life Sciences, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Lavallee is with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise, Aberstwyth University, Wales, UK. White (now deceased) was with the Dept. of Sport, Culture, and the Arts, Univ. of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

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