The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between reported physical activity and optimism. A secondary purpose was to determine whether physical self-efficacy and trait anxiety mediate the relationship between exercise and optimism. Participants (N = 188) were administered a battery of questionnaires assessing optimism, pessimism, physical self-efficacy, trait anxiety, and extent and nature of involvement in physical activity. Demographic information was also collected. The results indicated that high active individuals were significantly more optimistic and less pessimistic than inactive/low active individuals. In addition, the moderately and high active groups reported significantly higher physical self-efficacy and lower trait anxiety than the inactive/low active group. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that trait anxiety and physical self-efficacy accounted for significant unique variation in optimism. The findings are consistent with previous research indicating that optimists engage in exercise significantly more often than pessimists.
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Maria Kavussanu and Edward McAuley
Maria Kavussanu and Christopher Ring
In this study, we integrated elements of social cognitive theory of moral thought and action and the social cognitive model of moral identity to better understand doping likelihood in athletes. Participants (N = 398) recruited from a variety of team sports completed measures of moral identity, moral disengagement, anticipated guilt, and doping likelihood. Moral identity predicted doping likelihood indirectly via moral disengagement and anticipated guilt. Anticipated guilt about potential doping mediated the relationship between moral disengagement and doping likelihood. Our findings provide novel evidence to suggest that athletes, who feel that being a moral person is central to their self-concept, are less likely to use banned substances due to their lower tendency to morally disengage and the more intense feelings of guilt they expect to experience for using banned substances.
Luke Sage and Maria Kavussanu
In this experiment we examined the effects of task and ego involvement on three measures of moral behavior—prosocial choice, observed prosocial behavior, and observed antisocial behavior—in a competitive setting. We also investigated sex differences in moral behavior. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 48) college students were randomly assigned to a task-involving, an ego-involving, or a control condition. Participants played two 10-min games of table soccer and completed measures of prosocial choice, goal involvement, goal orientation, and demographics. The two games were recorded, and frequencies of prosocial and antisocial behavior were coded. Players assigned to the task-involving condition were higher in prosocial choice than those in the ego-involving or control conditions. Individuals in the ego-involving condition displayed more antisocial behaviors than those in the task-involving or control conditions. Finally, females displayed more prosocial behaviors than males.
Maria Kavussanu and Nikos Ntoumanis
This study examined whether participation in contact sports influences moral functioning within the sport context, and whether these effects are mediated by ego orientation; the role of task orientation on moral functioning was also examined. Participants (N = 221) were college athletes participating in basketball, soccer, field hockey, and rugby. They completed questionnaires assessing sport participation, goal orientations, moral functioning, and social desirability. Structural equation modeling analysis indicated that participation in contact sports positively predicted ego orientation, which in turn predicted low levels of moral functioning. The direct effects of sport participation on moral functioning became nonsignificant in the presence of ego orientation, indicating that the latter construct mediates the relationship between the first two variables. Task orientation corresponded to high levels of moral functioning. These findings help us further understand the processes operating in contact sports and are discussed in terms of their implications for eliminating unsportspersonlike conduct from the sport context.
Luke Sage and Maria Kavussanu
The purpose of this study was to examine task-, ego-, and social-goal orientations as predictors of prosocial and antisocial behavior in youth soccer. Participants were 365 male (n = 227) and female (n = 138) youth soccer players M age = 13.4 years, SD = 1.8), who completed questionnaires measuring task and ego orientation; the goals of social affiliation, social recognition and social status; prosocial and antisocial behavior; and demographics. Regression analyses revealed that prosocial behavior was predicted positively by task orientation and social affiliation and negatively by social status. In contrast, antisocial behavior was predicted positively by ego orientation and social status and negatively by task orientation. Findings for task and ego orientation are consistent with previous work. Social-goal orientations explained further variance in prosocial and antisocial behavior, and their inclusion in future moral research is encouraged.
Maria Kavussanu and Glyn C. Roberts
This study examined the relationship between perceived motivational climate and intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy and determined the role of goal orientation and perceived motivational climate in predicting intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. College students (N = 285) enrolled in beginning tennis classes completed a battery of questionnaires assessing perceived motivational climate, goal orientation, intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, and perceived ability. Perceptions of mastery climate were positively associated with enjoyment, effort, perceived competence, and self-efficacy and were inversely related to tension. In males, dispositional goal orientation and perceived motivational climate emerged as equally important predictors of intrinsic motivation, while mastery motivational climate was the only significant predictor of self-efficacy. In females, performance motivational climate was the strongest predictor of intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. Perceived normative ability accounted for a substantial amount of unique variance in intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy in both males and females. The motivational implications of the findings are discussed, and directions for future research are provided.
Ali Al-Yaaribi and Maria Kavussanu
The manner in which teammates behave toward each other when playing sport could have important achievement-related consequences. However, this issue has received very little research attention. In this study, we investigated whether (a) prosocial and antisocial teammate behaviors predict task cohesion and burnout, and (b) positive and negative affect mediates these relationships. In total, 272 (M age = 21.86, SD = 4.36) team-sport players completed a multisection questionnaire assessing the aforementioned variables. Structural equation modeling indicated that prosocial teammate behavior positively predicted task cohesion and negatively predicted burnout, and these relationships were mediated by positive affect. The reverse pattern of relationships was observed for antisocial teammate behavior which negatively predicted task cohesion and positively predicted burnout, and these relationships were mediated by negative affect. Our findings underscore the importance of promoting prosocial and reducing antisocial behaviors in sport and highlight the role of affect in explaining the identified relationships.
Christopher Ring, Maria Kavussanu, and Andrew Cooke
Social interdependence theory proposes that task structure influences performance via social interaction. Using this framework, we examined sport performance. Fifty-six males performed a basketball task under four conditions: as an individual (individual, perform your best) and as a member of a team of two (cooperation, where teammates sought to better their individual performance; means independent competition, where two teams competed sequentially to outperform the other team; means interdependent competition, where two teams competed simultaneously to outperform the other team). Task performance (points) was better during means independent competition than other conditions. Anxiety and effort peaked during the competitions and enjoyment was greater during competition and cooperation than during the individual condition. Emotions, effort, and actions are discussed as explanations for the performance effects. Social interdependence theory provides a valuable framework to understand emotion, motivation, and performance. Team competition can be used to promote effort and enhance performance in sport.
Christopher Ring, Maria Kavussanu, and Benjamin Walters
Objectives: Self–other divergence refers to individuals judging themselves to be different from others. The authors investigated doping-related self-other divergence. Design: The authors used a quasi-experimental repeated-measures design to compare the effects of an independent variable (perspective: self, other) on doping likelihood and guilt. Method: Rugby players rated doping likelihood and guilt in situations describing two perspectives: self (their own behavior and feelings) and other (another player’s behavior and feelings). They also completed measures of moral agency, identity, perfectionism, and values (moral traits). Results: Doping likelihood was lower and guilt was higher for self-based ratings compared with other-based ratings. The self–other difference in doping likelihood was mediated by guilt and moderated by moral traits (larger for athletes with higher agency and values). Agency and values were more strongly related to self than other doping likelihood. Conclusions: Other-referenced measures differed from self-referenced measures of doping likelihood and guilt, indicating that it is wrong to presume equivalence of measurement.
Nicholas Stanger, Maria Kavussanu, and Christopher Ring
Aggression has been linked to empathy and emotions (e.g., guilt) in cross-sectional studies. The purpose of this experiment was to examine the effects of empathy on emotional reactions to aggression and the role of guilt in the empathy–aggression relationship. Seventy-one undergraduate sport and exercise science students with a mean age of 19.56 (SD = 1.94) years were randomly assigned to either a high- or a low-empathy group. We experimentally manipulated empathy using perspective taking instructions and examined the following: (a) participants’ emotional reactions to images of aggressive acts; (b) their reported likelihood to aggress in a hypothetical sport situation; and (c) the extent to which they anticipated feeling guilt if they were to engage in an aggressive act. Participants in the high-empathy group experienced stronger negative emotional reactions to images of aggressive acts and reported lower likelihood to aggress than did those in the low-empathy group. Anticipated guilt partially mediated the effects of empathy on reported likelihood to aggress. Our findings suggest that empathy may help reduce aggressive behavior and highlight the potential mediating role of guilt.