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Evangelos Vertopoulos and Martin J. Turner

The present study examined the effects of a rational emotive personal-disclosure mutual-sharing (REPDMS) intervention on the rational and irrational beliefs of a group of Greek adolescent athletes that had previously participated in four rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) educational workshops. Measurements were taken before REBT workshops (baseline), during the REBT workshop period, and after the REPDMS session (postintervention). Further, a comparison group received REBT education, but did not receive REPDMS, allowing the between-subjects comparison between participants who received REPDMS and participants who did not. Findings support the hypotheses that REPDMS has positive effects on further reducing irrational beliefs, enhancing rational beliefs, and prolonging the duration of these positive effects, over and above REBT education alone. Qualitative inspection of the REPDMS transcript also revealed participant perceptions of REBT, and served to stimulate critical author reflections on REPDMS.

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Martin J. Turner and Alberto P. Avolio

International guidelines suggest limiting sodium intake to 86–100 mmol/day, but average intake exceeds 150 mmol/day. Participants in physical activities are, however, advised to increase sodium intake before, during and after exercise to ensure euhydration, replace sodium lost in sweat, speed rehydration and maintain performance. A similar range of health benefits is attributable to exercise and to reduction in sodium intake, including reductions in blood pressure (BP) and the increase of BP with age, reduced risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, and reduced risk of osteoporosis and dementia. Sweat typically contains 40–60 mmol/L of sodium, leading to approximately 20–90 mmol of sodium lost in one exercise session with sweat rates of 0.5–1.5 L/h. Reductions in sodium intake of 20–90 mmol/day have been associated with substantial health benefits. Homeostatic systems reduce sweat sodium as low as 3–10 mmol/L to prevent excessive sodium loss. “Salty sweaters” may be individuals with high sodium intake who perpetuate their “salty sweat” condition by continual replacement of sodium excreted in sweat. Studies of prolonged high intensity exercise in hot environments suggest that sodium supplementation is not necessary to prevent hyponatremia during exercise lasting up to 6 hr. We examine the novel hypothesis that sodium excreted in sweat during physical activity offsets a significant fraction of excess dietary sodium, and hence may contribute part of the health benefits of exercise. Replacing sodium lost in sweat during exercise may improve physical performance, but may attenuate the long-term health benefits of exercise.

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Martin J. Turner, Stuart Carrington and Anthony Miller

It is not fully understood the extent to which cognitive mediators are involved in the transaction between the athletic environment and athlete mental health. Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) holds that primary irrational beliefs lead to psychological distress through secondary irrational beliefs. Therefore this study examined the mediational effects of primary and secondary irrational beliefs on psychological distress across three sport participation groups; non-sport participants, recreational sport participants, and elite athletes. This study also examined the differences in irrational beliefs and psychological distress between individual and team sport participants, between females and males, and across the three sport participation groups. Data revealed that secondary irrational beliefs mediated the relationships between primary irrational beliefs and psychological distress. Between-groups analyses revealed that elite athletes demonstrated smallest depreciation irrational beliefs, and elite female athletes reported greater depression symptoms than elite male athletes. The implications of the findings for research and applied work are discussed.

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Martin J. Turner and Jamie B. Barker

The use of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) in sport psychology has received scant research attention. Therefore, little is known about how REBT can be adopted by sport psychology practitioners. This paper principally outlines how practitioners can use REBT on a one-to-one basis to reduce irrational beliefs in athletes. Guidance is offered on the introduction of REBT to applied contexts, the REBT process through which an athlete is guided, and offers an assessment of the effectiveness of REBT with athletes. It is hoped that this paper will encourage other practitioners to adopt REBT in their work and to report their experiences.

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Samuel J.D. Cumming, Martin J. Turner and Marc Jones

Challenge cognitive appraisals are associated with superior performance compared with threat (Jones, Meijen, McCarthy, & Sheffield, 2009). However, research has not examined longitudinal temporal patterns of challenge and threat appraisals. In this study, 14 (five female) elite rowers (Mage = 25.79 years, SD = 2.67) provided self-reported appraisals data at four time points (baseline; before national trials; before the second world rowing cup regatta; and before the world rowing championships). The rowers’ predisposed appraisal style predicted subsequent appraisals. Challenge and self-efficacy increased while loss and avoidance appraisals decreased over time. The rowers were highly predisposed to challenge, becoming more challenged through events of increasing magnitude. This suggests that athletes’ predisposed appraisal style can predict their approach to competition. Future studies could identify protocols for encouraging challenge states in athletes, observe the physiological indicators of challenge and threat longitudinally, and consider the interaction between challenge and threat appraisals.

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Andrew G. Wood, Jamie B. Barker and Martin J. Turner

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT; Ellis, 1957) is a psychotherapeutic approach receiving increasing interest within sport. REBT is focused on identifying, disputing, and replacing irrational beliefs (IBs) with rational beliefs (RBs) to promote emotional well-being and goal achievement. This study provides a detailed case outlining the application and effect of seven one-to-one REBT sessions with an elite level archer who was experiencing performance-related anxiety, before and during competition. The case also offers an insight into common misconceptions, challenges, and guidance for those who may consider applying REBT within their practice. Data revealed meaningful short and long-term (6-months) reductions in IBs and improvements in RBs, self-efficacy, perception of control and archery performance. The case supports the effective application of REBT as an intervention with athletic performers, promoting lasting changes in an athlete’s ability to manage their cognitions, emotions and behaviors in the pursuit of performance excellence.

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Andrew L. Evans, Matthew J. Slater, Martin J. Turner and Jamie B. Barker

The present study examined the effects of personal-disclosure mutual-sharing (PDMS) on a diverse set of group factors in a previously unexplored context. During a single bout of PDMS, 14 soccer-academy athletes voluntarily disclosed unknown personal stories to fellow teammates. Social identity, friendships identity content, results identity content, and collective efficacy were measured at baseline, post-PDMS, follow-up, and maintenance phases. In addition, team performance over the competitive season was assessed via goal difference and goal discrepancy. Data indicated that a short-term significant increase in friendships identity content and a sustained improvement in team performance occurred after the PDMS session, and social identity, results identity content, and collective efficacy remained elevated across all intervention phases. Data suggest that PDMS fosters immediate increases in aspects of team functioning that may exert a positive influence upon team performance. Future research would benefit from ascertaining the exact mechanisms in which PDMS encourages changes in team outcomes observed within the current study.

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Martin J. Turner, Marc V. Jones, David Sheffield, Matthew J. Slater, Jamie B. Barker and James J. Bell

This study assessed whether cardiovascular (CV) reactivity patterns indexing challenge and threat states predicted batting performance in elite male county (N = 12) and national (N = 30) academy cricketers. Participants completed a batting test under pressure, before which CV reactivity was recorded in response to ego-threatening audio instructions. Self-reported self-efficacy, control, achievement goals, and emotions were also assessed. Challenge CV reactivity predicted superior performance in the Batting Test, compared with threat CV reactivity. The relationships between self-report measures and CV reactivity, and self-report measures and performance were inconsistent. A small subsample of participants who exhibited threat CV reactivity, but performed well, reported greater self-efficacy than participants who exhibited threat CV reactivity, but performed poorly. Also a small subsample of participants who exhibited challenge reactivity, but performed poorly, had higher avoidance goals than participants with challenge reactivity who performed well. The mechanisms for the observed relationship between CV reactivity and performance are discussed alongside implications for future research and applied practice.