The present study examines Foucault’s (1977) concept of normalization as it applies to the emotions of female elite amateur rowers. Specifically, this study sought to understand how beliefs about emotion, developed through the normalization process, may coerce athletes to continue to train even when physically unhealthy. Interviews were conducted with 11 retired elite amateur female rowers who suffered health problems while training but continued training despite these health problems. Interpretation of the data suggests that the rowers suppressed emotions to avoid appearing mentally weak, negative, or irrational, despite needing to express their concerns about training volumes and health issues to minimize deleterious effects that continued training eventually had on their health.
Steven L. Proctor and Candace Boan-Lenzo
This study examined the athletic status differences in reported depressive symptoms between male intercollegiate team sport athletes (n= 66) and male nonathletes (n = 51) enrolled at one of two public universities in the Southeastern United States, while controlling for preferred (task-oriented and emotion-oriented) coping strategies. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed that the athletes reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms than nonathletes while controlling for coping strategy selection (p< .05). In terms of the actual prevalence rates of depressive symptoms, 29.4% of the nonathletes met the criterion for possible depression compared with only 15.6% of the athletes. Overall, athletic participation in an intercollegiate team sport appears related to lower levels of depression. The potentially distress-buffering aspects of athletic involvement and implications for future research are discussed.
Christy Greenleaf, Trent Petrie, Justine Reel, and Jennifer Carter
Petrie and Greenleaf (2007) presented a psychosocial model of disordered eating for female athletes. Based upon the 2007 model, the present study examined four key psychosocial variables: internalization, body dissatisfaction, restrained eating, and negative affect, as predictors of bulimic symptoms among NCAA Division I female athletes. Two hundred four women (N = 204) participated and were drawn from three different universities and competed in 17 different varsity sports. After controlling for the effects of body mass and social desirability, hierarchical regression analysis showed that the psychosocial variables explained 42% of the variance in bulimic symptoms. In the full model, higher levels of body dissatisfaction, more dietary restraint, and stronger feelings of guilt were associated with bulimic symptomatology. Internalization of the sociocultural ideal as well as feelings of fear, hostility, or sadness were unrelated.
Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews, and Scott Fleming
This study explores the antecedents, mechanisms, influencing variables, and consequences of choking in sport and identifies interventions that may alleviate choking. Through the use of qualitative methods, the experiences of six elite golfers who choked frequently under pressure were examined and compared with five elite golfers who excelled frequently under pressure. The perspectives of four coaches who had worked extensively with elite golfers who had choked and excelled, were also considered. The study indicated that the participants choked as a result of distraction, which was caused by various stressors. Self-confidence, preparation, and perfectionism were identified as key influencing variables of the participants’ choking episodes, and the consequence of choking was a significant drop in performance that affected negatively future performances. Process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training, and a pre/postshot routine were perceived as interventions that may possibly prevent choking.
Pia-Maria Wippert and Jens Wippert
As career termination is an incisive event in life, it is therefore important to understand the effects of different types of retirement on an athlete’s biography. Thus, the present longitudinal study is concerned with the effects of career termination of professional national team-athletes on the development of psychopathological symptoms, locus of control, self-concept, and mood, with special consideration of the mediator variable “subjective control of event-onset.” Data were collected from 42 professional athletes (17 of whom experienced an unexpected dismissal and 4 voluntarily retired) using standardized questionnaires (SCL-90-R, ASTS, FKK) 10 days before event entrance (baseline-test), 10 days after, 3 weeks after, and 5.5 months after onset of career termination. Although the baseline data did not reveal personality differences between the groups, dismissed athletes showed significantly stronger psychological distress after event onset. They displayed a stronger initial reaction, a more severe crisis, and longer transition periods than the control group. Results are discussed in connection with the combination of social evaluative threat and forced failure during event onset and their strong effects on distress after career termination.
John V. Stokes and James K. Luiselli
Functional analysis (FA) is an experimental methodology for identifying the behavior-reinforcing effects of social and non-social consequences. The data produced from a FA are used to select intervention procedures. In this case study, we conducted a FA with a male high school football athlete by manipulating social contingencies within practice tackling drills. The FA suggested that the highest percentage of correct tackling occurred when the participant was able to “escape” interaction with the coach following drills. After demonstrating that the participant had a low percentage of correct tackling during a baseline (preintervention) phase, the coach provided him delayed written performance feedback after practice. This intervention was associated with a higher percentage of correct tackling. The participant also tackled proficiently during a postintervention in-game assessment. The advantages of conducting a FA when intervening with athletes are discussed.
Louise Davis and Sophia Jowett
Grounded in Bowlby’s (1969/1982, 1988) attachment theory, this study aimed to explore (a) the pervasiveness of the three main functions of attachment within the context of the coach-athlete relationship, (b) the associations of athletes’ attachment styles with such important variables as satisfaction with the relationship and satisfaction with the sport, and (c) the process by which athletes’ attachment styles and satisfaction with sport are associated. Data were collected through self-report measures of attachment functions and styles as well as relationship satisfaction and sport satisfaction from 309 student athletes (males = 150, females = 159) whose age ranged from 18 to 28 years (Mage = 19.9, SD = 1.58 years). Athletes’ mean scores indicated that the coach was viewed as an attachment figure fulfilling all three functions of secure base, safe haven, and proximity maintenance. Bivariate correlations indicated that athletes’ avoidant and anxious styles of attachment with the coach were negatively correlated with both relationship satisfaction and sport satisfaction. Mediational regression analysis revealed that athletes’ satisfaction with the coach-athlete relationship may be a process that links athletes’ attachment styles with levels of satisfaction with sport. The findings from this study highlight the potential theoretical and practical utility of attachment theory in studying relationships within the sport context.
Eric D. Morse
Justine J. Reel, Sonya SooHoo, Trent A. Petrie, Christy Greenleaf, and Jennifer E. Carter
Previous research with female athletes has yielded equivocal findings when comparing disordered eating rates to nonathlete populations, but the rates differ for athletes in leanness and nonleanness sports (Sherman & Thompson, 2009). The purpose of the current study was to develop a measure to assess sport-specific weight pressures for female athletes. Secondly, this study identified frequencies of weight, size, and appearance pressures across sports. Participants (N =204) were female Division I athletes from three universities who represented 17 sports. Exploratory factor analysis yielded a 4-factor solution for the 16-item Weight Pressures in Sport for Females (WPS-F) scale with strong internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha of 0.90). The most frequently reported pressures among female college athletes were teammates (36.8%), uniform (34.3%), and coach (33.8%). These findings are discussed in comparison with previous research along with clinical and research implications for using the WPS-F in sport psychology settings.
Paul J. McCarthy, Marc V. Jones, Chris G. Harwood, and Steve Olivier
One reason sport psychologists teach psychological skills is to enhance performance in sport; but the value of psychological skills for young athletes is questionable because of the qualitative and quantitative differences between children and adults in their understanding of abstract concepts such as mental skills. To teach these skills effectively to young athletes, sport psychologists need to appreciate what young athletes implicitly understand about such skills because maturational (e.g., cognitive, social) and environmental (e.g., coaches) factors can influence the progressive development of children and youth. In the present qualitative study, we explored young athletes’ (aged 10–15 years) understanding of four basic psychological skills: goal setting, mental imagery, self-talk, and relaxation. Young athletes (n= 118: 75 males and 43 females) completed an open-ended questionnaire to report their understanding of these four basic psychological skills. Compared with the older youth athletes, the younger youth athletes were less able to explain the meaning of each psychological skill. Goal setting and mental imagery were better understood than self-talk and relaxation. Based on these fndings, sport psychologists should consider adapting interventions and psychoeducational programs to match young athletes’ age and developmental level.