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Suzanne A. Nasco and William M. Webb

The link between a strong identification with the athletic self-concept and well-being, commitment, and effort in athletes has been established in numerous research projects. However, current measures of athletic identity do not specifically acknowledge the public and private aspects of the athlete role and their differential influence on behavior. The goal of the present project was to create a short, psychometrically sound scale that measured these dimensions. Our scale (Public-Private Athletic Identity Scale; PPAIS) was validated using over 1,000 nonathletes, recreational athletes, current collegiate athletes, and retired athletes. We used exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis to establish the structure of the scale and examined validity by comparing and contrasting the PPAIS with other existing athletic identity measures. Regressions also were used to show that the PPAIS enhances prediction of behavioral measures over other identity scales.

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Christopher M. Janelle, Robert N. Singer and A. Mark Williams

We examined distraction and attentional narrowing in a dual-task auto-racing simulation. Participants were randomly assigned to six groups: distraction control, distraction anxiety, relevant control, relevant anxiety, central control, and central anxiety. Those in central conditions performed a driving task; the other four groups identified peripheral lights in addition to driving. Irrelevant peripheral lights were included in distraction conditions. Participants in anxiety conditions were exposed to increasing levels of anxiety via a time-to-event paradigm. In 3 sessions of 20 trials, measures of cognitive anxiety, arousal. visual search patterns, and performance were recorded. At higher levels of anxiety, the identification of peripheral lights became slower and less accurate. and significant performance decrements occurred in central and peripheral tasks. Furthermore, visual search patterns were more eccentric in the distraction anxiety group. Results suggest that drivers who are highly anxious experience an altered ability to acquire peripheral information at the perceptual level.

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Jean Côté, John H. Salmela and Storm Russell

An expert system approach (Buchanan et al., 1983) was used to identify and conceptualize the knowledge of 17 Canadian expert high-performance gymnastic coaches. By using a qualitative research methodology based on the traditions of cognitive anthropology and grounded theory, the first two stages of the knowledge acquisition process for building an expert system (identification and conceptualization) were examined. Open-ended questions and various questioning methods were used to unveil, explore, and probe important information (Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1979) about various coaching situations. All coaches’ interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the unstructured qualitative data were inductively analyzed following the procedures and techniques of grounded theory (Côté, Salmela, Baria, & Russell, 1993; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). This article provides the underlying methodological framework used for the entire project. Details about the coaches studied and the methodological framework used to collect and analyze the data are presented.

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Charles H. Hillman, Bruce N. Cuthbert, Margaret M. Bradley and Peter J. Lang

Psychophysiological responses of two rival sport fan groups were assessed within the context of Lang’s biphasic theory of emotion. Twenty-four participants, placed in two groups based on their identification with local sport teams, viewed 6 pictures from 6 categories: team-relevant pleasant sport, team-irrelevant sport, team-relevant unpleasant sport, erotica, household objects, and mutilation. Fans rated appetitive sport pictures higher in pleasure and arousal compared to aversive sport pictures. Physiological measures (startle probe-P3, the startle eye-blink reflex, slow cortical potentials to picture onset, and skin conductance) differentiated both appetitive and aversive team-relevant categories from team-irrelevant pictures, and increased orbicularis oculi EMG was found only for team-relevant appetitive pictures. These results suggest there are differences between rival sport fans in response to the same pictorial stimuli, and further suggest that fans provide an ideal population in which to measure motivation toward appetitive stimuli.

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Jim Taylor

The objective of this article is to reply to Dr. Albert Ellis’s application of his rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) paradigm to the issue of exercise and sport avoidance. This article begins with a consideration of why people avoid exercise and sport participation and an identification of what needs to be modified for people to initiate and adhere to exercise and sport programs. Then, in reponse to Dr. Ellis’s discussion, some of the key elements of his proposed program are reviewed. Additionally, some of his techniques are reinterpreted in a manner with which exercise/sport psychologists may be more familiar. Also, some suggestions are offered to enhance the impact of REBT to exercise and sport avoidance.

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Daniel Gould, Larry Lauer, Cristina Rolo, Caroline Jannes and Nori Pennisi

This study was designed to investigate experienced coaches’ perceptions of the parent’s role in junior tennis and identify positive and negative parental behaviors and attitudes. Six focus groups were conducted with 24 coaches. Content analysis of coaches’ responses revealed that most parents were positive influences and espoused an appropriate perspective of tennis, emphasized child development, and were supportive. In contrast, a minority of parents were perceived as negative, demanding and overbearing, and exhibiting an outcome orientation. New findings included parents’ setting limits on tennis and emphasizing a child’s total development, as well as the identification of behaviors that represent parental overinvolvement and that negatively affect coaching. Results are discussed relative to sport-parenting literature, and practical implications are outlined.

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Erich J. Petushek, Edward T. Cokely, Paul Ward and Gregory D. Myer

Instrument-based biomechanical movement analysis is an effective injury screening method but relies on expensive equipment and time-consuming analysis. Screening methods that rely on visual inspection and perceptual skill for prognosticating injury risk provide an alternative approach that can significantly reduce cost and time. However, substantial individual differences exist in skill when estimating injury risk performance via observation. The underlying perceptual-cognitive mechanisms of injury risk identification were explored to better understand the nature of this skill and provide a foundation for improving performance. Quantitative structural and process modeling of risk estimation indicated that superior performance was largely mediated by specific strategies and skills (e.g., irrelevant information reduction), and independent of domain-general cognitive abilities (e.g., mental rotation, general decision skill). These cognitive models suggest that injury prediction expertise (i.e., ACL-IQ) is a trainable skill, and provide a foundation for future research and applications in training, decision support, and ultimately clinical screening investigations.

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Clive J. Brewer and Robyn L. Jones

The purpose of this paper is to propose a five-stage process for establishing both validity and reliability in new systematic observation instruments. The process is contextualized within the working behaviors of elite level rugby union coaches within the practice setting. The sequential stages began with observer training and progressed through the identification of coaching behaviors through induction (to establish content validity), to establishing face validity through a domain-referenced test. The objectivity and reliability of the developed behavioral classifications are determined through an interobserver agreement test while, finally, the researcher’s ability to reliably reproduce data with the developed instrument is determined using a test/retest intraobserver reliability check. The developed instrument (the Rugby Union Coaches Observation Instrument: RUCOI) is deemed able to record the situationally unique behaviors arising from the nature of the sport and of the elite standard, both of which were considered to impinge upon the pedagogical process in the said context.

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Jean M. Williams

Identification of psychological and perceptual variables which cause one athlete to be more successful than another may enable coaches to initially better select those individuals who might ultimately have the greatest prospect for success within a given sport. The purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether a relationship exists between fencing ability and psychological differentiation, as measured by a test of field dependence-independence. Because differentiating the movement of one's body and analytically diagnosing the events during a bout are critical to fencing success, it was hypothesized that higher skilled, classified fencers (N = 26) would be more field independent (as measured by a rod and frame test) than less skilled, unclassified fencers (N = 20). The results were significant and in the hypothesized direction (p < .001). There were no significant differences for age, number of years fenced, and educational background. It was concluded that any assessment of fencing potential should include a rod and frame test to measure field dependence-independence.

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Patricia S. Miller and Gretchen A. Kerr

This study examined the role experimentation of university student athletes using in-depth interviews. The results revealed participants’ role experimentation was limited to three spheres: athletic, academic, and social. Participants’ exploration of and commitment to roles revealed a two-stage model of identity formation. The first stage, Over-Identification with the Athlete Role, revealed a singular focus on athletics that persisted throughout much of the participants’ university careers. The second stage, Deferred Role Experimentation, reflected an increased investment in academic and social roles in the participants’ upper years. Results were consistent with previous findings of an athletic identity among intercollegiate student-athletes (Brewer, Van Raalte, & Linder, 1993), but supported Perna, Zaichkowsky, and Bocknek’s (1996) suggestion that identity foreclosure may have been overgeneralized.