Psychological trauma associated with long-term injury can cause athletes to experience intense stress-like symptoms and considerable negative affect (e.g., Tracey, 2003; Udry, 1997). Due to the nature of competitive sport, however, it is thought that injured athletes inhibit these emotions to the detriment of their physical health. The present study examined Pennebaker’s (1989) emotional disclosure paradigm within a sporting context. It was hypothesized that writing about a traumatic injury would reduce athletes’ mood disturbance and stress during rehabilitation. Further, it was believed that these changes would correspond with an increase in immune expression from pre- to postintervention. Elite injured athletes (N = 9) rehabilitating from anterior cruciate ligament surgery participated in the 3-day writing intervention, consisting of 3 X 20 min writing sessions, during which athletes disclosed negative emotions associated with their injury and rehabilitation experiences. Measures were taken at six time-points (T1-T6), with pre- and postintervention phases lasting for 4 weeks each. Measures consisted of psychological stress (intrusion and avoidance), total mood disturbance, and relative cell-counts/µL for circulating T-cells (CD4/8) and NK cells (CD16/56). Repeated-measures ANOVAs showed a signifcant main effect of time for intrusion, F(5, 70) = 5.83, p =.001, η2 = .29 and avoidance, F(5, 70) = 5.73, p =.002, η2 = 0.29 subscales; mood disturbance, F(5, 70) = 3.71, p= 0.005, η2 = 0.21; and CD4+, F(5, 65) = 2.39, p= 0.048, η2 = .16. Subsequent linear contrasts provided further evidence of significant prepost differences among the stress, mood state, and immune variables. These results suggest that the written disclosure intervention has potential psycho-immunological benefits for athletes rehabilitating from long-term injury.
Aditi Mankad, Sandy Gordon, and Karen Wallman
Anthony Ferreira, Fernando Perez-Diaz, and Charles Cohen-Salmon
Human studies suggest the existence of an exercise dependency syndrome and a link between drug intake and intense physical activity. Our aim was to assess whether a link actually existed between running activity and cocaine intake in mice. Thirty male Swiss mice were used. Ten mice were used as controls, individually housed in cages without a wheel, and 20 mice were in cages with free access to a running wheel. Cocaine preference was estimated as the ratio (as percent) of cocaine solution intake over total fuid intake in the course of free oral access to cocaine solution versus water. High cocaine scores were only found with high wheel activity. The lowest activity scores were found with low cocaine preference. A group of “high runners” impervious to cocaine appetence and to the effects of exercise withdrawal were found, which may suggest that shared mechanisms could be involved in both dependence on sport and drug taking. Findings suggest that moderate activity seems to be associated with low cocaine preference, and cocaine intake could increase in cases of intense activity. The urge for physical activity (as seen with top-level professional athletes) may theoretically combine with different degrees of vulnerability to cocaine. The use of substances by those engaging in intense physical activity, for performance enhancement or recreational purposes, could potentially trigger a pattern of consumption and addiction. This pattern corresponds with the theory that there may be an addictive element in physical activity. Animal models could prove useful for identifying biological or behavioral predictors of such vulnerability and identifying persons either at risk or possessing resistance.
Eric D. Morse
Frank L. Gardner
The development and acceptance of any scientific discipline requires an ever-expanding and maturing empirical base. Yet despite vast scientific progress in allied domains of professional psychology, the field of sport psychology has remained fairly stagnant in its research progress and has overlooked major advances that could aid in the advancement of the discipline. This article discusses important issues related to the lack of efficacy of the traditional and long assumed “gold-standard” interventions for the enhancement of athletic performance, and compares the field’s empirical base to sister disciplines in psychology. Further, the lack of empirical studies examining rate of change, moderators of change, and mediators (mechanisms) of change is discussed, and suggestions are provided for a new research agenda in sport psychology that could expand its professional credibility and enhance its overall scientific development.
Jeffrey J. Martin, Jennifer J. Waldron, Andria McCabe, and Yun Seok Choi
The purpose of our quasi-experimental study was to examine the impact of the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program on multidimensional self-concept and attitudes toward fat. Young girls (N= 21) participated in a 12-week running program designed to increase their running ability, self-esteem, and, in general, their emotional, social, and mental well-being. It was hypothesized that girls would experience favorable changes in their global self-esteem, appearance, peer, physical, and running self-concepts and their attitudes toward fat. The overall RM-ANOVA examining for pre to post differences was significant, F(13, 8) = 26.46, p < .001, η2 = .977, and follow-up within subjects contrasts revealed three significant differences: Physical, F(1, 20) = 6.24, p < .02, η2 = .24, and running self-concept, F(1, 20) = 11.18, p< .003, η2 = .36, as well as fear of fat, F(1, 20) = 4.37, p < .049, η2 = .18, were all significant with meaningful effect sizes. These findings provided preliminary support for the major goal of the GOTR program, enhancing physical and running self-concept with some support for secondary gains in nonphysical ability areas (i.e., reductions in fear of fat).
Richard H. Cox, Sheriece Sadberry, Richard T. McGuire, and Adrian McBride
This study examined relationships between student athlete experiences and career situation awareness. Participants completed the Student-Athlete Experiences Inventory (SAEI) and Student-Athlete Career Situation Inventory (SACSI). Separate exploratory factor analyses were conducted for men and women to clarify factors on the inventories, and structural models were developed for each gender. For males, results showed that (a) involvement in campus activities leads to lack of interest in career situation, (b) social involvement leads to stronger perception of career situation, and (c) library use has little effect on career situation. For females, results revealed that (a) involvement in campus activities leads to career confidence, (b) social involvement leads to perception of career barriers, and (c) library use leads to perception that sport identity need not detract from career situation.
Aditi Mankad, Sandy Gordon, and Karen Wallman
The present study features a psycholinguistic analysis, using Pennebaker’s (1989) emotional disclosure paradigm, of an athlete’s experience in recovering from injury. “GL,” a male athlete rehabilitating from anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, participated in a 9-week testing protocol. A 3-day intervention was used, consisting of three 20-minute writing sessions, which promoted disclosure of negative emotions associated with injury and rehabilitation. In addition, measures of stress, mood disturbance, and self-esteem were administered from pre- to postintervention and at follow-up. Results revealed decreases in stress and mood disturbance, as well as an increase in self-esteem. Analysis of writing samples revealed increased use of linguistic markers indicating affective awareness. Findings also highlighted the importance of emotional disclosure and cognitive integration in reducing stress and enhancing understanding of injury.
Megan Brannan, Trent A. Petrie, Christy Greenleaf, Justine Reel, and Jennifer Carter
In this study, we extended past research (Brannan & Petrie, 2008; Tylka, 2004) by examining perfectionism, optimism, self-esteem, and reasons for exercising as moderators of the body dissatisfaction-bulimic symptoms relationship among female collegiate athletes (N= 204). Hierarchical moderated regression was used to control for social desirability and physical size and then tested the main and interactive effects of the models. Body dissatisfaction was related to the measure of bulimic symptoms, accounting for 24% of the variance. Four variables were statistically significant as moderators. More concern over mistakes and being motivated to exercise to improve appearance and attractiveness or to socialize and improve mood increased the strength of the relationship between body dissatisfaction and bulimic symptoms. Self-esteem had a buffering effect that resulted in a weakened relationship.
Sam S. Sagar, David Lavallee, and Christopher M. Spray
Coping with stress is an important element in effective functioning at the elite level in sports, and fear of failure (FF) is an example of a stressor that athletes experience. Three issues underpin the present preliminary study. First, the prevalence of problems attributed to FF in achievement settings. Second, sport is a popular and significant achievement domain for children and adolescents. Third, there is a lack of research on FF in sport among this population. Therefore, the objectives of the study were to examine the effects of FF on young athletes and to find out their coping responses to the effects of FF. Interviews were conducted individually with nine young elite athletes (5 males, 4 females; ages 14–17 years). It was inferred from the data that FF affected the athletes’ well-being, interpersonal behavior, sport performance, and schoolwork. The athletes employed a combination of problem-focused, emotion-focused, and avoidance-focused coping strategies, with avoidance strategies being the most frequently reported.
Michael B. Johnson, William A. Edmonds, Akihito Kamata, and Gershon Tenenbaum
The purpose of this article is to present the procedural steps used to derive a person’s Individual Affect-Related Performance Zones (IAPZs). An IAPZ is that range of affect (i.e., arousal and pleasure) within which an individual has a probability of performing at a particular level (e.g., optimal, moderate, or poor). This methodology has been used in a number of research studies but has yet to be operationalized in the literature. The purpose of this procedure is to facilitate training programs designed to improve human performance in any number of domains via idiosyncratic control over affect. The methodology described consists of eight steps: (a) collecting data, (b) categorizing affect and performance level, (c) converting the data, (d) performing logistical ordinal regressions, (e) creating IAPZ curves, (f) creating IAPZ profile charts, (g) plotting within competition states onto IAPZ profile charts, and (h) utilizing IAPZs to select, implement, and evaluate performance enhancement strategies.