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Toward a Cognitive-Affective Model of Athletic Burnout

Ronald E. Smith

Although athletic burnout is a frequent topic of discussion and speculation, little in the way of a conceptual model or empirical data currently exists. An attempt is made to incorporate what is known about the nature, causes, and consequences of burnout within a cognitive-affective model of stress and to note the parallel situational, cognitive, physiologic, and behavioral components of stress and burnout. Thibaut and Kelley's social exchange model is used to define the conditions under which withdrawal from a sport can be attributed to burnout. Empirical findings concerning the causes and consequences of burnout derived from nonathletic populations are incorporated within the athletic burnout model, and its implications for preventing and coping with burnout are discussed. A number of conceptual and methodological issues are discussed, including operationalizing and measuring athletic burnout, the need for epidemiological research, and the assessment of causal and moderator variables. Based upon the literature on burnout in nonsport environments and the literature on sources and consequences of athletic stress, a number of testable hypotheses are advanced.

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Generalization Effects in Coping Skills Training

Ronald E. Smith

An important consideration in coping skills training is the extent to which acquired skills generalize to other life domains. For example, sport-oriented performance enhancement skills are often regarded as “life skills” that can also facilitate adaptation in other areas of life. Moreover, task-specific increases in self-efficacy produced by coping skills training could generalize to broader self-referent cognitive domains and affect global personality traits such as self-esteem and locus of control. The concept of generalization is analyzed, and factors and procedures that influence the strength and breadth of generalization effects are discussed. Several coping skills studies that address generalization effects of stress management and self-defense training are described, and the author suggests that generalization assessment should be a focal rather than incidental consideration when evaluating coping skills interventions.

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Book Reviews

Ronald E. Smith

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Conceptual and Statistical Issues in Research Involving Multidimensional Anxiety Scales

Ronald E. Smith

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Psychological Skills as Predictors of Performance and Survival in Professional Baseball

Ronald E. Smith and Donald S. Christensen

The role of physical and psychological skills as predictors of performance and survival in professional baseball was studied in a sample of 104 minor league baseball players. Psychological and physical skills were largely uncorrelated with one another and appear to be measuring separate and independent skill domains. Preseason scores on the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory (ACSI-28) and coaches’/managers’ ratings of the same skills on an ACSI Rating Form each accounted for as much performance variance in batting average (approximately 20%) as did physical skills when differences in the latter were statistically controlled, and the psychological measures accounted for substantially more variance in pitchers’ earned run averages than did the expert ratings of physical skills. The psychological skills measures also predicted athletes’ survival in professional baseball 2 and 3 years after they were obtained. Bayesian hit rate anlayses indicated substantially increased survival predictability over simple base rate predictions.

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Factorial Integrity of the Sport Anxiety Scale: A Methodological Note and Revised Scoring Recommendations

Ronald E. Smith, Sean P. Cumming, and Frank L. Smoll

Results of several recent studies have called into question the factorial integrity of the Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS; Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990) because two items (14 and 20) that loaded on the Concentration Disruption subscale in our validation and cross-validation samples have loaded or cross-loaded on the Worry subscale in other samples. We agree that this is a serious problem, and we evaluate proposed modifications of the SAS on both conceptual and empirical grounds. For researchers currently using the SAS, we recommend a new scoring system that deletes two troublesome Concentration Disruption items and one Somatic Anxiety item, preserving separate and factorially consistent Somatic, Worry, and Concentration Disruption subscales. We present evidence that our original Worry scale provides a better CFA fit than a suggested “cognitive anxiety” alternative that combines the two concentration disruption items with the Worry scale items. We also describe nonreplication of the SAS three-factor structure in child samples and caution researchers against computing subscale scores for child samples.

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Athlete-Perceived Coaching Behaviors: Relating Two Measurement Traditions

Sean P. Cumming, Ronald E. Smith, and Frank L. Smoll

For more than two decades, the behavioral categories of the Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS) and the Coaching Behavior Assessment System (CBAS) have been used by a wide range of researchers to measure coaching behaviors, yet little is known about how the behavioral categories in the two models relate statistically to one another. Male and female athletes on 63 high school teams (N = 645) completed the LSS and the athlete-perception version of the CBAS (CBAS-PBS) following the sport season, and they evaluated their coaches. Several of Chelladurai’s (1993) hypotheses regarding relations among behavioral categories of the two models were strongly supported. However, many significant and overlapping correlations between LSS subscales and CBAS-PBS behavioral categories cast doubt upon the specificity of relations between the two instruments. The LSS and the CBAS-PBS accounted for similar and notable amounts of variance in athletes’ liking for their coach and evaluations of their knowledge and teaching ability.

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Effects of a Motivational Climate Intervention for Coaches on Young Athletes’ Sport Performance Anxiety

Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll, and Sean P. Cumming

The mastery approach to coaching is a cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to promote a mastery-involving motivational climate, shown in previous research to be related to lower anxiety in athletes. We tested the effects of this intervention on motivational climate and on changes in male and female athletes’ cognitive and somatic performance anxiety over the course of a basketball season. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed that the athletes in the intervention condition perceived their coaches as being more mastery-involving on the Motivational Climate Scale for Youth Sports when compared to athletes in an untreated control condition. Relative to athletes who played for untrained coaches, those who played for the trained coaches exhibited decreases on all subscales of the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 and on total anxiety score from preseason to late season. Control group athletes reported increases in anxiety over the season. The intervention had equally positive effects on boys and girls teams.

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Coach Effectiveness Training: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Enhancing Relationship Skills in Youth Sport Coaches

Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll, and Bill Curtis

Little League Baseball coaches were exposed to a preseason training program designed to assist them in relating more effectively to children. Empirically derived behavioral guidelines were presented and modeled, and behavioral feedback and self-monitoring were used to enhance self-awareness and to encourage compliance with the guidelines. Trained coaches differed from controls in both overt and player-perceived behaviors in a manner consistent with the behavioral guidelines. They were also evaluated more positively by their players, and a higher level of intrateam attraction was found on their teams despite the fact that they did not differ from controls in won-lost records. Children who played for the trained coaches exhibited a significant increase in general self-esteem compared with scores obtained a year earlier; control group children did not. The greatest differences in attitudes toward trained and control coaches were found among children low in self-esteem, and such children appeared most sensitive to variations in coaches' use of encouragement, punishment, and technical instruction.

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Measurement of Multidimensional Sport Performance Anxiety in Children and Adults: The Sport Anxiety Scale-2

Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll, Sean P. Cumming, and Joel R. Grossbard

This article describes the development and validation of the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 (SAS-2), a multidimensional measure of cognitive and somatic trait anxiety in sport performance settings. Scale development was stimulated by findings that the 3-factor structure of the original Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS; Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990) could not be reproduced in child samples and that several items on the scale produced conflicting factor loadings in adult samples. Alternative items having readability levels of grade 4 or below were therefore written to create a new version suitable for both children and adults. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses replicated the original SAS factor structure at all age levels, yielding separate 5-item subscales for Somatic Anxiety, Worry, and Concentration Disruption in samples as young as 9 to 10 years of age. The SAS-2 has stronger factorial validity than the original scale did, and construct validity research indicates that scores relate to other psychological measures as expected. The scale reliably predicts precompetition state anxiety scores and proved sensitive to anxiety-reduction interventions directed at youth sport coaches and parents.