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  • Psychology and Behavior in Sport/Exercise x
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Nick Galli, Justine J. Reel, Hester Henderson and Nicole Detling

The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to explore the body image of athletes with physical disabilities, and (b) to understand how sport influences body image among these athletes. We interviewed 20 male and female athletes (M age = 34.25, SD = 8.49) from a variety of sports regarding their body image and the role of sport in influencing body image. A thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to generate six themes: (a) personal significance of injury and disability, (b) noncentrality of the body and disability, (c) positive influence of sport on body esteem, (d) social factors influencing body-related emotions and perceptions, (e) body critiques and preferences, and (f) positive thoughts and emotions about the body. Sport seemed to be an important vehicle for experiencing body-related pride, and athletes expressed an intimate connection with the body parts that enabled them to physically compete.

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David J. Blakelock, Mark A. Chen and Tim Prescott

Elite adolescent soccer players may represent one athletic population that is vulnerable to developing psychological distress following deselection. This study examined the proportion of players experiencing clinical levels of psychological distress following selection procedures and whether player status (i.e., deselected vs. retained) had a significant effect on psychological distress. Data was collected from 91 players who completed the General Health Questionnaire -12 at three time points: 7–14 days before selection procedures, 7 days after and 21 days after. Although outcomes were heterogeneous, a sizable proportion of deselected players were found to experience clinical levels of psychological distress. A factorial ANOVA (p < .001) found that deselected players experienced higher levels of psychological distress than retained players at postselection time points. The research provides evidence that some deselected players are “at risk” of developing clinical levels of psychological distress. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.

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Kamuran Yerlikaya Balyan, Serdar Tok, Arkun Tatar, Erdal Binboga and Melih Balyan

The present study examined the association between personality, competitive anxiety, somatic anxiety and physiological arousal in athletes with high and low anxiety levels. Anxiety was manipulated by means of an incentive. Fifty male participants, first, completed the Five Factor Personality Inventory and their resting electro dermal activity (EDA) was recorded. In the second stage, participants were randomly assigned to high or low anxiety groups. Individual EDAs were recorded again to determine precompetition physiological arousal. Participants also completed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) and played a computer-simulated soccer match. Results showed that neuroticism was related to both CSAI-2 components and physiological arousal only in the group receiving the incentive. Winners had higher levels of cognitive anxiety and lower levels of physiological arousal than losers. On the basis of these findings, we concluded that an athlete’s neurotic personality may influence his cognitive and physiological responses in a competition.

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Brigid Byrd and Jeffrey J. Martin

The purpose of this cross sectional study was to predict feelings of belonging and social responsibility based on climate perceptions of youth participating in a middle school running program. Method: Seventy-four youth from a middle school track and cross country program in the Midwest participated. Results: Based on multiple regression analyses we predicted 52% of the variance in feelings of belonging largely due to perceptions of leadership emotional support and task climate and 25% of the variance in feelings of social responsibility largely due to perceptions of a caring climate. Conclusions: Our findings support the importance of middle school running programs which offered an environment allowing multiple psychosocial benefits, such as nurturing feelings of belonging and social responsibility.

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Kiira N. Poux and Mary D. Fry

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between studentathletes’ perceptions of the motivational climate on their sport teams and their own career exploration and engagement and athletic identity. Student-athletes (N = 101) from various National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institutions were administered online surveys. Canonical correlation analysis was used to examine the relationship between the climate variables (i.e., caring, task, and ego) and athletic identity, career self-efficacy, and career exploration/engagement. One significant function emerged: Perceptions of a high task-involving climate and moderate caring climate were positively associated with athletes’ reporting higher athletic identity, career self-efficacy, and career exploration/engagement. Results suggest that Division I athletes may benefit from having coaches who foster a caring and task-involving team climate with regard to the athletes’ development as holistic individuals who spend their college years performing at a high level of sport and also preparing for their lives after college and sports.

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Jeffrey J. Martin, Brigid Byrd, Michele Lewis Watts and Maana Dent

The purpose of the current study was to predict both general and sport-specific quality of life using measures of grit, hardiness, and resilience. Seventy-five adults (74 men, 1 woman) who are wheelchair basketball athletes participated in the current study. Twenty-six percent of the variance in life satisfaction was accounted for. Both hardiness and resilience accounted for meaningful variance, as indicated by their significant beta weights. Twenty-two percent of the variance in sport engagement was predicted; resilience and grit accounted for meaningful variance, as indicated by their significant beta weight. The regression results indicate that athletes reporting the highest levels of grit and resilience tended to also be the most engaged in their sport, and athletes with high levels of hardiness and resilience reported the highest quality of life. The descriptive results support an affirmation model of disability for the current sample of wheelchair athletes in that they reported moderate to strong levels of resiliency, grit, hardiness, sport engagement, and a high quality of life.

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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

In this study, the authors examined female competitive figure skaters’ experiences of weight pressure in sport. Perceptions of the ideal skating body; sources of weight pressure; ways that body image, weight-management behaviors, and athletic performance have been affected; and recommendations for improving body image were explored. Aligning with a social constructivist view (Creswell, 2014), data were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Skaters described the ideal skating body in an inflexible fashion with little room for deviation and acceptance of body diversity. Skaters cited their first weightpressure experience between 7 and 14 years of age, which most notably involved coaches, parents, skating partners, and other aspects of the skating culture. These experiences were characterized as promoting body-image concerns, unhealthy weight-management strategies, and interference with the psychological aspects of on-ice performance. Results from this study demonstrate the need to construct and maintain body-positive skating environments.

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Gary Robinson and Mark Freeston

A growing body of research has provided evidence for intolerance of uncertainty (IU)—a dispositional characteristic resulting from negative beliefs about uncertainty and its implications—as a possible transdiagnostic maintaining factor across a range of anxiety disorders. No studies have yet examined IU in performance anxiety in sport. The purpose of the present investigation, therefore, was to investigate the relationship between IU and performance anxiety in sport. Participants included 160 university athletes (51% female) who completed measures of IU, performance anxiety, and robustness of sport confidence. Regression analyses revealed that the inhibitory dimension of IU and robustness of sport confidence were significant predictors of performance anxiety. A simple mediation model was also tested and suggested indirect and direct effects of inhibitory IU on performance anxiety symptoms through robustness of sport confidence. Implications of these findings for researchers and practitioners and directions for future research are discussed.

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William V. Massey, Stacy L. Gnacinski and Barbara B. Meyer

Research has demonstrated the efficacy of psychological skills training (PST), yet many athletes do not appear ready to do whatever it takes to improve the mental aspects of performance. Although the transtheoretical model of behavior change (TTM), generally, and readiness to change, specifically, have received considerable attention in a range of allied health fields, few studies have been conducted to examine this construct in applied sport psychology. The purpose of the current study was to examine National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletes’ readiness for PST as it relates to their stage of change, decisional balance, self-efficacy, and use of processes of change. The data trends observed in the current study were consistent with the theoretical underpinnings of the TTM as well as previous research on NCAA Division I athletes. The results of the current study highlight the need to consider readiness to change when designing and implementing PST interventions.

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Ashley Coker-Cranney and Justine J. Reel

When athletes “uncritically accept” the coaching expectations associated with their sport, negative health consequences (e.g., disordered eating behaviors, clinical eating disorders) may result. The coach’s influence on disordered eating behaviors may be a product of factors related to overconformity to the sport ethic, issues with coach communication regarding recommendations for weight management, and the strength of the coach-athlete relationship. The present study investigated perceived weight-related coach pressure, the coach-athlete relationship, and disordered eating behaviors by surveying 248 female varsity athletes and dancers from four universities. Mediational analysis revealed that the coach-athlete relationship was a partial mediating variable between perceived coach pressures and disordered eating behaviors. Subsequently, strong relationships between coaches and their athletes may reduce the negative impact of perceived weight-related coach pressure on the development or exacerbation of disordered eating behaviors in female collegiate athletes.