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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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Jean M. Williams and Vikki Krane

Self-report measures of psychological states are commonly used in sport psychology research and practice, yet the possibility of response bias due to social desirability (repressive defensiveness) often has been overlooked. The present study was designed to examine whether or not a significant relationship exists between social desirability and competitive trait anxiety and the CSAI-2 subscales measuring state somatic anxiety, cognitive anxiety, and self-confidence. The participants were 58 female collegiate golfers representing 13 NCAA Division I universities. Pearson product-moment correlations indicated that competitive trait anxiety (−.24), self-confidence (.45, .38), and cognitive anxiety (−.24) appeared to be influenced by social desirability distortion. If the present findings are replicated in future studies using the SCAT, CSAI-2, and other inventories, the field of sport psychology may need to reexamine some of the theoretical and application conclusions drawn from previous research in which no attempt was made to eliminate data from subjects who may have distorted their responses.

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Jean M. Williams and Colleen M. Hacker

The purpose of this study was to examine whether team cohesion in women's intercollegiate field hockey was specifically a cause for or an effect of successful performance and to examine what the cause-effect relationship is between cohesion and satisfaction and satisfaction and performance. A secondary purpose was to compare results from a cross-lagged panel correlation analysis with partial correlations and path analysis of the data. The high and significant individual correlations from cohesion to performance and performance to cohesion, combined with the failure of the cross-lagged correlation to indicate any causal predominance, suggested a circular relationship between cohesion and performance. Examination of the satisfaction correlations suggested that satisfaction may be a mediating variable in the cohesion-performance circular relationship. Support for this model totally broke down when the results from the partial correlations and path analysis of the data were examined. The only causal flow, and this only in a few select circumstances, was from success to increased cohesiveness and greater satisfaction, and from increased cohesiveness to greater satisfaction.

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Jean M. Williams and Bonnie L. Parkhouse

Sex bias in attitudes toward male and female basketball coaches was examined within a context of social learning theory to determine if the precepts of social learning theory help clarify exactly when and why differential attitudes toward males and females occur. More specifically, would having a male or female coach role model and participating on a winning or losing team mediate sex bias previously found when female athletes evaluate hypothetical coaches who vary in sex and status (defined by won/loss record and coaching honors)? In addition to evaluating written coaching philosophy statements from a hypothetical male and female coach with a successful or unsuccessful professional status, the subjects (N=80) were forced to choose which coach they would prefer to have as their own. Attitudes were mediated by both the sex of the athlete's own coach and successfulness of the athlete's team. There appears to be merit in future researchers examining the potential causes of sex stereotypes and bias within a context of social learning theory.

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John D. Perry and Jean M. Williams

The purpose of this study was to examine the intensity of competitive trait anxiety and self-confidence and interpret whether these symptoms facilitated or debilitated performance in three distinct skill-level groups in tennis for both males and females. Advanced (n = 50), intermediate (n = 96), and novice (n = 79) tennis players completed a modified Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2. The three groups did not differ for somatic anxiety intensity, but the novice group reported less cognitive anxiety intensity and the advanced group higher self-confidence levels. Only advanced players reported more facilitative interpretations versus the hypothesized progressive increase across skill level. Males and females did not differ on self-confidence and anxiety intensity, but males reported a more facilitative interpretation of anxiety. Analyses of subjects who reported debilitating effects for cognitive and somatic anxiety revealed higher intensities on both anxiety subscales and lower self-confidence levels. The discussion addresses implications for the practitioner.

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Laura J. Kenow and Jean M. Williams

Two experiments examined Smoll and Smith’s (1989) model of leadership behaviors in sport. The coaching behaviors of a male head coach of a collegiate women’s basketball team (n=11 players) were examined. The data supported competitive trait anxiety as an individual-difference variable that mediates athletes’ perception and evaluation of coaching behaviors. There also was support for adding athletes’ state cognitive anxiety, state self-confidence, and perception of the coach’s cognitive anxiety to the model as individual-difference variables. Athletes who scored high in trait anxiety (p<.001) and state cognitive anxiety (p<.05) and low in state self-confidence (p<.05), and athletes who perceived the coach as high in state cognitive anxiety (p<.001), evaluated coaching behavior more negatively. Game outcome may influence the effect of self-confidence in mediating athletes’ perception and evaluation of coaching behaviors. Additionally, athletes perceived several specific coaching behaviors more negatively than did the coach, and athletes drastically overestimated their coach’s self-reported pregame cognitive and somatic anxiety and underestimated his self-confidence. Overall, the results suggest that coaches should be more supportive and less negative with high anxious and low self-confident athletes.

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Jean M. Williams and W. Neil Widmeyer

The cohesion-performance outcome relationship was reexamined in coacting teams utilizing a recent multidimensional approach to group cohesion (Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985). Contrary to the results of earlier studies, a positive rather than negative relationship was hypothesized. Teams with high cohesion were predicted to have higher intrateam communication and member motivation. The latter two variables, in turn, were hypothesized to predict performance. Subjects were 83 female golfers from 18 NCAA Division I teams who participated in a 54-hole tournament. Cohesiveness was assessed by the Group Environment Questionnaire (Carron et al., 1985), and performance outcome was assessed by the team tournament score minus the NCAA differential (handicap) score. Cohesion significantly predicted performance outcome (r2 = 16.7), with task cohesion being the best predictor. Cohesiveness also significantly predicted communication (r2=23) and motivation as assessed by commitment to the team goal (r2=28). Communication and motivation accounted for only 5 % of the variance in performance, with motivation being the only significant predictor. The results are discussed in terms of measurement contaminants, Steiner's group productivity model, and future research needs.

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Mark B. Andersen and Jean M. Williams

A theoretical model of stress and athletic injury is presented. The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework for the prediction and prevention of stress-related injuries that includes cognitive, physiological, attentional, behavioral, intrapersonal, social, and stress history variables. Development of the model grew from a synthesis of the stress-illness, stress-accident, and stress-injury literatures. The model and its resulting hypotheses offer a framework for many avenues of research into the nature of injury and reduction of injury risk. Other advantages of the model are that it addresses possible mechanisms behind the stress-injury relationship and suggests several specific interventions that may help diminish the likelihood of injury. The model also has the potential of being applied to the investigation of injury and accident occurrence in general.

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M. Kathleen Ryan, Jean M. Williams and Beverly Wimer

The present study examined the stability of athletes' legitimacy judgments and behavioral intentions over the course of a basketball season and the relationship between these factors to actual behavior. The 49 female basketball players responded to a questionnaire that was derived from Bredemeier's (1985) Continuum of Injurious Acts. The preseason legitimacy rating of aggressive actions made by first-year basketball players were significantly higher than those made by more experienced players, but by the end of the season the first-year participants' ratings had dropped to a level comparable to their more experienced teammates. Preseason legitimacy judgments were found to predict player aggression during the season. Interpretation of the findings and recommendations for future direction in this area are discussed.