The Role of Preperformance and In-Game Emotions in Cognitive Interference During Sport Performance: The Moderating Role of Self-Confidence and Reappraisal

in The Sport Psychologist
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This research examined whether prevalent preperformance (Study 1) and in-game (Study 2) emotions were associated with cognitive interference (i.e., thoughts of escape, task-irrelevant thoughts, and performance worries) and whether any effects were moderated by reappraisal and self-confidence. In Study 1, team-sport players’ preperformance anxiety positively, and excitement negatively, predicted cognitive interference during a competitive match. However, no moderating effects for reappraisal or confidence were revealed. In Study 2, badminton players’ in-game anxiety, dejection, and happiness positively predicted, whereas excitement negatively predicted, cognitive interference during a competitive match. Moreover, reappraisal and confidence moderated the relationships of excitement and happiness with task-irrelevant thoughts. The findings underscore the role that preperformance and in-game emotions can play in athletes’ thought processing during sport performance, as well as highlighting the importance of considering the effects of self-confidence and reappraisal on the role of in-game emotions in cognitive interference.

Stanger and Poolton are with the Inst. for Sport, Physical Activity & Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom. Chettle and Whittle are former students in the institute. Poolton is also with the Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong.

Stanger (N.Stanger@leedsbeckett.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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