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.
Aditi Mankad, Sandy Gordon, and Karen Wallman
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.
Christine M. Salinas, Frank M. Webbe, and Trent T. Devore
We administered neurocognitive batteries to 49 youth soccer athletes (9–15 yr), who were selected from competitive soccer teams in Central Florida. We collected observational data on soccer heading, self-reported soccer heading, as well as demographics, including school, medical, and soccer history. Both the frequency and intensity of heading the ball in soccer was low in comparison with adolescents and adults. In our sample, the vast majority of soccer headings were of low to moderate intensity and direct (i.e., the incoming flight of the ball was perpendicular to the forehead). Age significantly correlated with frequent heading. Parents were reliable observers of their children’s soccer heading behavior and other at-risk behaviors during games. The majority of soccer headings were direct rather than flicks. Almost half of our participants reported headache and one-fourth reported dizziness after instances of heading the ball. Frequency of soccer heading was not related to neuropsychological score data.
Eric D. Morse
Aditi Mankad, Sandy Gordon, and Karen Wallman
The present study adopted a qualitative, exploratory approach to describe the underlying emotional climate among injured athletes within team sport environments. Nine elite athletes undergoing long-term injury rehabilitation (LTIR) participated in semi-structured interviews to describe their LTIR experience. A general inductive analysis extracted three higher-order themes: (a) emotional trauma, (b) emotional climate, and (c) emotional acting. Athletes reported experiencing emotional trauma throughout LTIR. To maintain in-group norms, they described engaging in avoidance behaviors and reported suppressing negative affect for fear of negative evaluation. They also reported frequently controlling emotions in public using acting strategies. Athletes perceived these emotionally inhibitive behaviors as encouraged within their team environment. These results have important implications for the identification and treatment of emotionally destructive behaviors that could potentially delay an athlete’s psychological rehabilitation from athletic injury.
Sophia Jowett and Duncan Cramer
Guided by the work-family interface literature, this study examined the concept of spillover in a sample of elite athletes. It was conceptualized that there would be potential negativity and interference between athletes’ intense demands of competitive sport and efforts to maintain positive relationships with their partners. Antecedents and consequences of the potential spillover phenomenon were assessed in a sample of 87 elite-level athletes who had either romantic or marital, heterosexual relationships. Findings indicated that while trust, commitment, and communication were not strongly related to spillover, negative transactions were. Moreover, the occurrence of spillover was negatively related to sport satisfaction and positively to depressive symptoms. Finally, it was found that a mechanism by which perceived negative transactions were linked to athletes’ satisfaction and depression was through spillover. Spillover can help explain how personal relationships and sport are likely to contribute to athletes’ performance accomplishment and overall well-being.