Stress and Coping Among Adolescents Across a Competitive Swim Season

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Purdue University
  • | 2 Champlain College
  • | 3 University of British Columbia
  • | 4 University of Alberta
  • | 5 University of Toronto
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This study qualitatively examined the congruence between anticipated and experienced stressors and coping, and approaches to coping by elite adolescent swimmers across a competitive season. Eight swimmers were interviewed before and after 4 swim meets in a season. Data collection and analysis were guided by theories of stress and coping. Accuracy of anticipating stressors was low, and the stressors and coping strategies were variable across the season. Idiographic profiles were created for each athlete and grouped according to similar characteristics. Three groups included athletes who (a) generally perceived stressors as something to be avoided, (b) generally perceived stressors as problems to be solved, or (c) generally perceived swimming as fun and minimally stressful. These patterns appeared to be associated with anticipating stressors, highlighting the complex and dynamic nature of stress and coping among adolescent athletes.

McDonough is with the Dept. of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Hadd is with the Dept. of Psychology, Champlain College, Saint-Lambert, QC, Canada. Crocker is with the School of Kinesiology, and Schonert-Reichl, the Dept. of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Holt is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Tamminen is with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.