This study examined the relationship between coping and sport achievement at the within-person level of analysis. Fifty-four golfers completed diary measures of coping, stress, and sport achievement after six consecutive rounds of golf. Results of hierarchical linear modeling revealed golfers’ episodic task-oriented coping and disengagement-oriented coping were associated, respectively, with their better and worst levels of subjective and objective achievement. Distraction-oriented coping was not significantly associated with achievement. These results were obtained after accounting for between-subjects differences in ability level and for within-person variations in perceived stress across both practice and competitive golf rounds. These results contribute to an emerging literature on the relationship between coping and sport achievement, and highlight the promises of an episodic process model of sport achievement to understand the transient self-regulatory factors associated with within-person variations in athletic achievement.
Patrick Gaudreau, Adam Nicholls, and Andrew R. Levy
Adam R. Nicholls, John L. Perry, and Luis Calmeiro
Grounded in Lazarus’s (1991, 1999, 2000) cognitive-motivational-relational theory of emotions, we tested a model of achievement goals, stress appraisals, emotions, and coping. We predicted that precompetitive achievement goals would be associated with appraisals, appraisals with emotions, and emotions with coping in our model. The mediating effects of emotions among the overall sample of 827 athletes and two stratified random subsamples were also explored. The results of this study support our proposed model in the overall sample and the stratified subsamples. Further, emotion mediated the relationship between appraisal and coping. Mediation analyses revealed that there were indirect effects of pleasant and unpleasant emotions, which indicates the importance of examining multiple emotions to reveal a more accurate representation of the overall stress process. Our findings indicate that both appraisals and emotions are just as important in shaping coping.
Adam R. Nicholls, Nicholas L. Holt, and Remco C.J. Polman
The purpose of this study was to examine instances when international agegroup golfers coped effectively and ineffectively with performance-related stressors during competition. Eighteen male Irish international golfers (M age = 17 years) participated in semistructured interviews pertaining to their coping experiences during golf competition. Data were thematically analyzed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2003). Strategies associated with effective coping were rationalizing, reappraising, blocking, positive self-talk, following a routine, breathing exercises, physical relaxation, and seeking on-course social support. Alternatively, different types of coping responses (trying too hard, speeding up, routine changes, negative thoughts, lack of coping) were associated with ineffective coping. Theoretical and applied implications of these findings are discussed.
Mark A. Thompson, Adam R. Nicholls, John Toner, John L. Perry, and Rachel Burke
The authors investigated relationships between emotions, coping, and resilience across two studies. In Study 1a, 319 athletes completed dispositional questionnaires relating to the aforementioned constructs. In Study 1b, 126 athletes from Study 1a repeated the same questionnaires 6 months later. In Study 2, 21 athletes were randomly allocated to an emotional (e.g., pleasant or unpleasant emotions) or control group and undertook a laboratory-based reaction-time task across three time points. Questionnaires and salivary cortisol samples were collected before and after each performance with imagery-based emotional manipulations engendered during the second testing session. Partial longitudinal evidence of the broaden-and-build effects of pleasant emotions was found. Pleasant emotions may undo lingering cognitive resource losses incurred from previous unpleasant emotional experiences. In Study 2, pleasant and unpleasant emotions had an immediate and sustained psychophysiological and performance impact. Taken together, this research supports the application of broaden-and-build theory in framing emotional interventions for athletes.
Adam R. Nicholls, Jim McKenna, Remco C.J. Polman, and Susan H. Backhouse
The aim of this study was to explore the perceived factors that contribute to stress and negative affective states during preseason among a sample of professional rugby union players. The participants were 12 male professional rugby union players between 18 and 21 years of age (M age = 19 years, SD = 0.85). Data were collected via semistructured interviews and analyzed using an inductive content analysis procedure. Players identified training (structure and volume), the number of matches played and the recovery period, diet, sleep, and travel as factors that they believed contributed to their experience of stress and negative affective states. The present findings suggest that players may require more time to recover between matches, alongside interventions to help players manage the symptoms of stress and negative affect during times in which players are overtraining.
Adam R. Nicholls, John L. Perry, Leigh Jones, Dave Morley, and Fraser Carson
It is accepted among scholars that coping changes as people mature during adolescence, but little is known about the relationship between maturity and coping. The purpose of this paper was to assess a model, which included dispositional coping, coping effectiveness, and cognitive social maturity. We predicted that cognitive social maturity would have a direct effect on coping effectiveness, and also an indirect impact via dispositional coping. Two hundred forty-five adolescent athletes completed measures of dispositional coping, coping effectiveness, and cognitive social maturity, which has three dimensions: conscientiousness, peer influence on behavior, and rule following. Using structural equation modeling, we found support for our model, suggesting that coping is related to cognitive social maturity. This information can be used to influence the content of coping interventions for adolescents of different maturational levels.
Adam R. Nicholls, Nicholas L. Holt, Remco C.J. Polman, and Jonny Bloomfield
The overall purpose of this study was to examine stressors, coping strategies, and perceived coping effectiveness among professional rugby union players. Eight first class professional male rugby union players maintained diaries over a 28-day period. The diaries included a stressor checklist, an open-ended coping response section, and a Likert-type scale evaluation of coping effectiveness. Total reported stressors and coping strategies were tallied and analyzed longitudinally. The most frequently cited stressors were injury concerns, mental errors, and physical errors. The most frequently cited coping strategies were increased concentration, blocking, positive reappraisal, and being focused on the task. The most effective coping strategies were focusing on task and increasing effort. Professional rugby players use a variety of different coping strategies in order to manage the stressors they experience, but the effectiveness of their coping attempts can vary.