The multidimensional, hierarchical model of fear of failure (FF) has gained popularity in sport; however, the unique meaning of lower-order fears of failing in previous research may have been obscured by the hierarchical structure of the model. The present research aimed to establish the unique psychological meaning of lower-order fears of failing. Samples of recreational athletes (N = 440) and female varsity intercollegiate track and field athletes (N = 71) completed measures of multidimensional fears of failing, self-talk while failing, 2 × 2 achievement goals, and contextual motivation. Partial correlation analyses revealed unique patterns of relationships for each lower-order FF score with the external measures of self-talk, achievement goals, and contextual motivation. Fears of experiencing shame and embarrassment appeared to be at the heart of dysfunctional aspects of FF, whereas fears of having an uncertain future evidenced some uniquely adaptive components.
David E. Conroy and Jonathan N. Metzler
Although self-talk and anxiety are both held to influence sport performance, little is known about the relationship between these two psychological phenomena in sport. The introject surface of a circumplex model (Structural Analysis of Social Behavior; SASB) is presented as a tool for integrating popular existing schemes for classifying self-talk in sport. Using a sample of 440 college-age men and women, the present study examined the relationship between SASB-defined patterns of state-specific self-talk (while failing, while succeeding, wished for, and feared) and three forms of situation-specific trait performance anxiety: fear of failure (FF), fear of success (FS), and sport anxiety (SA). Distinct patterns of self-talk were associated with competitive anxieties in sport; the strongest effects were associated with FF and SA, in that order, whereas FS was more weakly associated with systematic patterns of self-talk. These results are consistent with cognitive theories of anxiety and may be used to inform assessments, diagnoses, and treatments of performance anxiety problems in sport.
David E. Conroy and Lorna Smith Benjamin
Psychodynamic concepts have only recently begun to attract serious attention in the sport psychology literature. A dynamically based, interpersonal approach to sport psychology consultation is outlined in this article. Key interpersonal constructs such as important persons and their internalized representations (IPIRs), copy processes, and self-sacrificing gifts of love are described to portray how a case formulation may be developed to explain and guide interventions to overcome some performance problems. Two cases, one involving a performance phobia and the other an enduring slump related to a fear of success, are presented to demonstrate the unique contributions of interpersonal case formulations in performance enhancement consultation.
David E. Conroy and J. Douglas Coatsworth
Organized youth sports afford a unique opportunity for promoting positive youth development, but little is known about why these settings can be beneficial for youth. The purposes of this article are (a) to discuss the instrumental role coaches play in determining the developmental yield of sport participation for youth and (b) to examine the efficacy of coach training programs for enhancing youth development in light of an expanded model of coaching effects on youth. This model features an elaborated internalization mechanism involving cognitive and motivational pathways. Emerging support for this model is reviewed and future directions for coach training researchers and practitioners are highlighted.
Chih-Hsiang Yang and David E. Conroy
Mindful walking has emerged as a potential intervention strategy to improve mental health and promote well-being in adult and clinical populations. This strategy has not been implemented specifically with older adults to date. This study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, sustainability, and preliminary efficacy of a mindful walking program for reducing negative affect in older adults. Community-dwelling older adults (n = 29) completed a 1-month, outdoor mindful walking program distributed across eight 30-min sessions. Responses from postprogram and follow-up questionnaires revealed that mindful walking was well-accepted, highly valued, and maintained after the program ended. Analysis from the pre- and postwalk surveys also suggested the preliminary efficacy of a mindful walking program for reducing negative affect. Positive results identified in the current feasibility study indicate readiness for randomized controlled trials to further examine the efficacy and effectiveness of a mindful walking intervention for promoting health and well-being in older populations.
Jaclyn P. Maher and David E. Conroy
This study evaluated how older adults’ daily physical activity covaries with naturally occurring variation in both the duration and patterning of daily sedentary behavior. Older adults (n = 95) wore activPAL3 monitors for 15 consecutive days. Multilevel modeling regressed daily step counts on the frequency of sit-to-stand transitions and the duration of sedentary behavior. At the person-level, older adults who sat less (b = −14.31, p < .001) and stood up more frequently (b = 41.08, p = .01) took more steps on average. At the within-person level, older adults took more steps on days when they sat less than usual (b = −8.29, p < .001) and stood up more frequently than usual (b = 52.75, p < .001). Older adults’ daily physical activity may be influenced by interrupting sedentary behavior more frequently as well as reducing total sedentary behavior. It may be easier to monitor the frequency of discrete behaviors, like standing up, than it is to monitor the duration of continuous behaviors (e.g., walking, sitting).
Jaclyn P. Maher and David E. Conroy
This study was designed to examine the moderating influence of habit strength on daily action planning effects on physical activity and sedentary behavior. A 2 by 2 design was used with experimental factors corresponding to action planning interventions for (a) engaging in physical activity and (b) limiting or interrupting sedentary behavior. At the end of each day for 1 week, university students (n = 195) completed (a) a questionnaire about their behavior during the day and behavioral intentions for the following day and (b) a planning intervention(s) corresponding to their randomly assigned experimental condition. Action planning increased physical activity in those with weak habits but decreased physical activity in those with strong habits compared with those who did not create action plans. Action planning did not impact sedentary behavior. Action planning was a useful behavior change technique for increasing physical activity in people with weak habits, but may be iatrogenic for those with strong habits.
David E. Conroy, Andrew J. Elliot and Scott M. Hofer
Achievement goals in sport have traditionally been defined according to the definition of competence alone (i.e., mastery/task, performance/ego). Emerging research and theory from the academic domain indicates that the utility of the achievement goal construct can be enhanced when the valence (i.e., approach, avoidance) of goals is also considered in conjunction with the definition of competence. The present study was designed to evaluate the psychometric properties of scores for mastery-approach, mastery-avoidance, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals from a measure of achievement goals in sport. The a priori 2 × 2 model fit the data better than any of the plausible alternative models. In a series of longitudinal factorial invariance and latent growth curve analyses, scores for the four subscales exhibited structural invariance, and both differential and latent mean stability over a 21-day period. Achievement goal scores conformed to theoretical predictions regarding their relationship with fear-of-failure scores. The AGQ-S would be an appropriate instrument for future research using the 2 × 2 model of achievement goals in sport, particularly for experimental/intervention research on change processes associated with achievement goals.
David E. Conroy, Robert W. Motl and Evelyn G. Hall
Self-presentation has become an increasingly popular topic in exercise and sport psychology, yet few instruments exist to measure this construct. This paper describes two validation studies conducted on the Self-Presentation in Exercise Questionnaire (SPEQ), a paper-and-pencil instrument based on Leary and Kowalski’s (1990) two-component model of impression management. The SPEQ was designed to assess impression motivation (IM) and impression construction (IC) in exercise environments. The first study employed exploratory factor analysis to reduce a pool of 125 content-representative items to a subset of 41 items forming the hypothesized two-factor model of IM and IC. In the second study, the 41 items were further reduced using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses in separate samples, and the reduced SPEQ also conformed to the IM and IC factor structure. The second study also provided initial evidence to support the convergent and discriminant validity of the SPEQ with theoretically salient constructs such as body surveillance, perceived physical ability, physical self-presentation confidence, social desirability, and social physique anxiety.
Jenna D. Gilchrist, David E. Conroy and Catherine M. Sabiston
This study examined how experienced and anticipated pride and shame were related to time spent training and effort expended toward training the following week. Participants (N = 158, 76% women; M age = 35.51, SD = 10.29 years) training for a marathon/half-marathon completed a weekly online questionnaire for 5 weeks leading up to a race. In the multilevel models, time spent training was positively predicted by race proximity, age, and effort expended that week. Effort expended toward training was predicted by the current week’s effort, the amount of time spent training that week, and was greater for participants who usually reported experiencing more pride than others. Neither anticipated pride or shame predicted time or effort, nor did experienced shame. The findings indicate that it is functional to foster high levels of pride when training for a long-distance race. Further work is needed to ascertain the relationship between anticipated emotions on goal-directed behavior.