This study evaluated patterns of coping, relationships between coping and negative and positive affect, and gender differences in coping and affect in competitive athletes. A sample of 235 female and male athletes reported recent stressful performance situations and indicated appraisals related to performance goals, coping, and affective responses. Lack of goal attainment (goal incongruence) was used as a measure of stress. Group means for coping indicated that athletes primarily used strategies such as increasing effort, planning, suppressing competing activities, active coping, and self-blame. Females used higher levels of seeking social support for emotional reasons and increasing effort to manage goal frustration. Males experienced higher levels of positive affect. For positive affect, regression analysis found a significant five-variable solution (R2 = .31). For negative affect, there was also a significant five-variable solution (R2 = .38). The gender differences were not congruent with views that males would use higher levels of problem-focused coping.
Peter R.E. Crocker and Thomas R. Graham are with the College of Physical Education, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK Canada S7N 0W0.