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Jennifer L. Cumming and Diane M. Ste-Marie

The primary purpose of this study was to use synchronized skaters to examine the influence of imagery perspective on the cognitive and motivational functions of imagery during a five-week imagery training program. To this end, 16 novice synchronized skaters participated in an imagery intervention that incorporated both cognitive and motivational imagery. The Sport Imagery Questionnaire (SIQ: Hall, Mack, Paivio, & Hausenblas, 1998) was used to assess changes in the skaters’ use of cognitive and motivational images as a result of the training program. The results of a MANOVA indicated that skaters increased their use of cognitive specific and cognitive general imagery, regardless of their preferred imagery perspective. Furthermore, neither group showed changes in their use of imagery for motivational functions. The findings are discussed within the context of Hardy’s (1997) proposal that a particular imagery perspective is beneficial for the learning and performance of motor skills if it provides visual information that is otherwise not available to the performer.

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Georgia A. Bird, Mary L. Quinton, and Jennifer Cumming

This study investigated the relationship between reappraisal and suppression with depression and mental well-being among university athletes. It was hypothesized reappraisal would associate with lower depression and greater mental well-being, whereas suppression would associate with greater depression and reduced mental well-being. Employing a cross-sectional design, 427 participants (M age = 20.18, SD = 1.52; 188 males and 239 females) completed questionnaires assessing mental health and strategy use. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed reappraisal was positively associated, and suppression negatively associated with mental well-being, ΔR 2 = 4.8%, ΔF(2, 422) = 17.01, p < .001; suppression, β = −0.08, p = .028; reappraisal, β = 0.21, p < .001, but neither were associated with depression, ΔR 2 = 0.4%, ΔF(2, 422) = 1.33, p = .267; suppression, β = 0.06, p = .114; reappraisal, β = 0.03, p = .525. Results highlight reappraisal as correlated with mental well-being in student-athletes, and therefore, reappraisal could be beneficial for managing stress in sport. Reappraisal may implicate how well-being is promoted through sport, but future experimental research is needed to confirm causal relationships.

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Charlotte Woodcock, Joan L. Duda, Jennifer Cumming, Lee-Ann Sharp, and Mark J.G. Holland

Drawing from the experiences of the authors in developing, conducting, and evaluating sport psychology interventions, several considerations are highlighted and recommendations offered for effective psychometric assessment. Using the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS; Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999) as a working example, opportunities for bias to undermine a measure’s validity and reliability are discussed with reference to a respondent’s four cognitive processes: (a) comprehension, (b) retrieval, (c) decision-making, and (d) response generation. Further threats to an instrument’s psychometric properties are highlighted in the form of demand characteristics athletes perceive in the environment. With these concerns in mind, several recommendations are made relating to the process of questionnaire administration and how possible compromises to the psychometric soundness of measures used in applied interventions can be minimized.

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Charlotte Woodcock, Mark J.G. Holland, Joan L. Duda, and Jennifer Cumming

The aim of the current study was to extend previous research by Holland and colleagues (2010) into the required psychological qualities of young talented rugby players by considering the perceptions and supportive role of influential others. Perceptions of players’ parents (n = 17), coaches (n = 7), and sport administration staff (SAS; n = 2) were explored through focus group discussions. Findings show that these influential others considered the same 11 higher order themes for psychological qualities previously identified as desirable by players. Their views on how they assisted in developing these player psychological qualities were classified into three higher-order themes, namely progressive development, professional environment, and performance environment. Specific behaviors contributing to each context and deemed helpful by influential others were discussed in terms of ecological systems theory (Bonfenbrenner, 1977). Recommendations for future research and applied implications for consultants are subsequently offered.

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Eleanor Quested, Jos A. Bosch, Victoria E. Burns, Jennifer Cumming, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Joan L. Duda

Self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) posits basic psychological need satisfaction (BPNS) as essential for optimal functioning and health. Grounded in this framework, the current study examined the role of BPNS in dancers’ cognitive appraisals and hormonal and emotional responses to performance stress. Dancers reported their degree of BPNS 1 month before a solo performance. Threat and challenge appraisals of the solo were recorded 2 hr before the performance. Salivary cortisol and anxiety were measured 15 min before, and 15, 30, 45, and 60 min postperformance. Higher BPNS was associated with lower cortisol responses and anxiety intensity. Challenge appraisals mediated the association between BPNS and cortisol. Threat appraisals mediated the BPNS–anxiety intensity relationship. These findings point to the potential importance of performers’ BPNS for optimal emotional and hormonal homeostasis in performance conditions.

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Lee-Ann Sharp, Charlotte Woodcock, Mark J.G. Holland, Jennifer Cumming, and Joan L. Duda

The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of a mental skills training (MST) program for male youth elite rugby athletes. Three focus groups were held with 21 under-16 male rugby athletes and four male coaches involved in the MST program to examine the quality of service delivery, athlete responses to the MST program, the mental qualities used by athletes, and its perceived influence on athlete performance. Following inductive-deductive content analysis, 40 subcategories and 16 categories emerged. Participants believed the MST program to be an interactive, well-planned program that increased athlete understanding of MST methods and awareness of MST strategies to manage rugby performance. Athletes thought it important that their coaches develop a greater knowledge and understanding of MST methods. Finally, athletes perceived the MST skills and methods they learnt through the MST program were transferable to other sports and areas of their life outside of rugby (e.g., school).

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Mimi S. H. Ho, Paul R. Appleton, Jennifer Cumming, and Joan L. Duda

This study examined whether the relationships between self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism and symptoms of burning out (i.e., reduced accomplishment, emotional and physical exhaustion, sport devaluation, negative affect, and symptoms of physical ill-health) were moderated by hearing ability. A total of 417 athletes (hearing = 205, deaf = 212) completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (Hewitt & Flett, 1991, 2004), the negative affect subscale of the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988), the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (Raedeke & Smith, 2001), and the Physical Symptoms Checklist (Emmons, 1991). Regression analyses revealed the hypothesized relationships were generally consistent across both groups. The current findings provide insight into the potential effects of perfectionism dimensions for hearing and deaf athletes’ health.

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Mark J.G. Holland, Charlotte Woodcock, Jennifer Cumming, and Joan L. Duda

Research on the psychological characteristics of elite performers has primarily focused on Olympic and World champions; however, the mental attributes of young developing and talented athletes have received less attention. Addressing this, the current study had two aims: (a) to examine the perceptions held by youth athletes regarding the mental qualities they need to facilitate their development and (b) to investigate the mental techniques used by these athletes. Forty-three male youth rugby players participated in a series of focus groups. Inductive content analysis revealed 11 categories of psychological qualities, including enjoyment, responsibility, adaptability, squad spirit, self-aware learner, determination, confidence, optimal performance state, game sense, attentional focus, and mental toughness. Techniques employed included personal performance strategies, refection on action, taking advantage of a supportive climate, and team-based strategies. Findings are discussed in relation to their implications for mental skills training program development and evaluation in the case of youth elite team sport athletes.