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Psychological Momentum and Skill Performance: A Laboratory Study

John M. Siva III, Allen E. Cornelius, and Laura M. Finch

This study used a laboratory setting and a novel motor skill to investigate psychological momentum and its relationship to performance. Subjects were paired» placed in competition in a novel motor task, and given false feedback concerning the outcome of games. Positive or negative momentum conditions were imposed by manipulating their experiences of victory or defeat as the match progressed. The actual performance and error scores for each subject were recorded after each game. The results indicated that subjects in positive conditions felt they had a high frequency of positive psychological momentum and that subjects in negative conditions felt they had a high frequency of negative psychological momentum. However» comparing mean performance and error scores of subjects in the two momentum conditions over the entire contest; comparing them in the last two games of a set, winners versus losers; and examining the predictive power of set outcome on performance and error scores in the next two games of the following set failed to demonstrate a significant performance effect.

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Say What? An Analysis of Spontaneous Self-Talk Categorization

Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Maureen K. Copeskey, and Britton W. Brewer

Research exploring spontaneously generated self-talk has involved recording performers’ self-talk categorized by researchers. The actor-observer bias, suggests that actors (performers) and observers (researchers) may perceive the same situation (e.g., self-talk) differently. The purpose of this study was to explore the actor-observer bias and validity of self-talk categorization. College students’ (n = 30) spontaneous self-talk was audio recorded during a dart throwing task. Participants then listened to and categorized their self-talk. Three independent researchers reviewed written transcripts and categorized the self-talk. Another three researchers who had not read the transcripts listened to audio recordings and categorized the same self-talk. Results confirmed actor-observer bias predictions. Spontaneous self-talk ratings made by participants were similar to but distinct from those made by researchers reading transcripts or listening to self-talk audio recordings. These results suggest that participant categorization of spontaneous self-talk may be a valid strategy to enhance understanding of self-talk used in competitive settings.

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Self-Talk of Marathon Runners

Judy L. Van Raalte, Ruth Brennan Morrey, Allen E. Cornelius, and Britton W. Brewer

Much of the research on self-talk in sport has focused on the effects of assigned self-talk (e.g., instructional self-talk, motivational self-talk) on the performance of laboratory tasks and/or tasks of short duration (Hatzigeorgiadis, Zourbanos, Galanis, & Theodorakis, 2011; Tod, Hardy, & Oliver, 2011). The purpose of this study was to explore more fully the self-talk of athletes involved in competition over an extended period of time. Marathon runners (N = 483) were surveyed. The majority (88%) of runners, those who indicated that they use self-talk during marathons, completed open-ended items describing their self-talk while competing. Runners reported using a rich variety of motivational self-talk as well as spiritual self-talk and mantras, types of self-talk less widely studied in the literature. Given the findings of this research, future studies exploring self-talk use during competition in sporting events of long duration seems warranted.

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Patterns of Emotional Response to ACL Reconstruction Surgery

Jamie L. Shapiro, Britton W. Brewer, Allen E. Cornelius, and Judy L. Van Raalte

The purposes of this study were to investigate patterns of emotional response to reconstructive surgery of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee following sport injury and to examine the extent to which neuroticism differed across patterns of adjustment. Participants were 73 patients (51% recreational athletes, 46% competitive athletes, 3% nonathletes) who had ACL reconstruction surgery and who had low levels of negative mood before surgery. Participants completed measures of personality and negative mood before surgery and completed daily assessments of negative mood for 6 weeks postsurgery. The negative mood of participants was classified into three patterns for two different time periods. Participants with patterns of resilience outnumbered those with patterns of disturbance. Participants with patterns involving mood disturbance one week after surgery had significantly higher presurgery neuroticism levels. Practitioners should target individuals with high neuroticism before surgery for emotion management interventions to prevent mood disturbance following ACL surgery.

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Mental Health Referral for Student-Athletes: Web-Based Education and Training

Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Staci Andrews, Nancy S. Diehl, and Britton W. Brewer

Physically and mentally healthy student-athletes are in a good position to thrive academically, socially, and athletically. Unfortunately, many student-athletes fail to get the mental health help they need due to factors such as lack of knowledge and mental health stigma. The purpose of this research was to create and evaluate a multimedia, interactive website (www.SupportForSport.org) to enable student-athletes to gain the necessary knowledge and confidence to make effective mental health referrals. Study 1 was conducted to determine if the website functioned as intended. In Study 2, 27 intercollegiate athletic directors and coaches evaluated the website. Their favorable evaluations led to Study 3, a controlled field trial with a national sample of 153 student-athletes. Results indicated that viewing the www.SupportForSport.org site resulted in enhanced mental health referral knowledge and efficacy relative to a control group. These results suggest that tailored online programming can affect outcomes for student-athletes across geographic regions and resource availability levels.

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The Antecedents and Consequences of Self-Talk in Competitive Tennis

Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Britton W. Brewer, and Stephen J. Hatten

Although a number of studies have demonstrated the effects of self-talk on sport performance, the research literature on the antecedents of self-talk in competitive sport is sparse. The purpose of this study was to examine both the antecedents and the consequences of self-talk during competitive tennis performance. Eighteen adult tournament players were observed during United States Tennis Association–sanctioned matches. Players’ audible self-talk, observable gestures, and tennis scores were recorded using the Self-Talk and Gestures Rating Scale (Van Raalte, Brewer, Rivera, & Petitpas, 1994b). Results indicated that all players used observable self-talk and gestures during their matches. Furthermore, for all players, match circumstances (e.g., point outcome, serving status) predicted the use of negative self-talk. Positive and instructional self-talk were predicted by match circumstances for some players. The results suggest that match circumstances contribute to the generation of self-talk and provide useful information for researchers interested in better understanding the antecedents of self-talk.

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Adversarial Growth After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Britton W. Brewer, Allen E. Cornelius, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Howard Tennen

Although psychological research on sport injury has long focused on negative responses to injury, investigators have begun to explore positive consequences as well. This study examined adversarial growth longitudinally after anterior cruciate ligament surgery and rehabilitation. Participants (N = 108) completed questionnaires measuring (a) aspects of adversarial growth before anterior cruciate ligament surgery and at 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery and (b) daily pain and negative mood for 42 days postoperatively. Although most participants reported little or no adversarial growth due to their injury and rehabilitation, significant increases over preoperative values were found at 6 months postsurgery for three aspects of adversarial growth. Daily pain and negative mood were positively associated with aspects of adversarial growth at each postoperative assessment. It appears that modest but detectable increases in aspects of perceived adversarial growth can occur after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and be related to indices of adversity experienced during rehabilitation.

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A Framework for Planning Youth Sport Programs That Foster Psychosocial Development

Albert J. Petitpas, Allen E. Cornelius, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Tiffany Jones

Although there is considerable interest in the use of sport as a vehicle to promote psychosocial development in youth, little is known about the specific content or implementation strategies that are likely to account for positive outcomes. In this article, a brief review of current literature and a working definition of youth development through sport are provided to lay a foundation for a framework for planning youth sport programs that are structured to promote psychosocial development in participants. The components of the framework are outlined and suggestions for research, evaluation, and program development are offered.

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A Psychometric Evaluation of the Sports Inventory for Pain

John B. Bartholomew, Darwyn E. Linder, Britton W. Brewer, Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, and Shannon M. Bart

This investigation was designed to assess the validity of the Sports Inventory for Pain (SIP; Meyers, Bourgeois, Stewart, & LeUnes, 1992). Study 1 used SIP responses to predict three objective measures of pain coping: pain threshold, pain tolerance, and the perception of a fixed, submaximal level of painful stimulation. Participants were 70 undergraduate volunteers (35 females, 35 males). Although two SIP subscales (Cognitive and Body Awareness) were related to at least one pain measure, another subscale (Coping) was negatively related to pain tolerance (opposite of predictions), and the composite HURT scores were not related to any of the pain measures. In Study 2,41 participants (31 females, 10 males) completed a wall sit (phantom chair) task and the SIP approximately 1 month after initially filling out the SIP. Test-retest reliabilities of the SIP were acceptable (average r = .75), but responses on the SIP did not predict performance on the painful physical endurance task. In Study 3, 54 participants (17 females, 37 males) completed the SIP approximately 1 month after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. SIP scores were not significantly correlated with measures of rehabilitation adherence and functional outcome at approximately 6 months postsurgery. Taken together, these three studies provide marginal support for the validity of the SIP and raise questions about the utility of the SIP as a predictor of participants’ ability to function while experiencing pain.

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I Will Use Declarative Self-Talk . . . or Will I? Replication, Extension, and Meta-Analyses

Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Elizabeth M. Mullin, Britton W. Brewer, Erika D. Van Dyke, Alicia J. Johnson, and Takehiro Iwatsuki

A series of studies was conducted by Senay et al. in 2010 to replicate and extend research indicating that self-posed questions have performance benefits. Studies 1–3 compared the effects of the self-posed interrogative question (“Will I?”) to declarative (“I will”) and control self-talk, and found no significant group differences in motivation, perceived exertion, or performance. In Studies 4–5, interrogative, declarative, and control self-talk primes were compared, and no outcome differences were found. In Study 6, the effects of self-talk on motivation, perceived exertion, and physical performance were assessed. The self-talk groups performed better and were more motivated than the control group, but declarative and interrogative groups did not differ from each other. Finally, meta-analyses of the six studies indicated no significant differences among conditions. These results highlight the value of replication and suggest that factors other than grammatical form of self-posed questions may drive the demonstrated relationships between self-talk and performance.