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Robert C. Eklund

Sport psychology research conducted in field settings has expanded considerably in the last decade and a half. However, there has been little formal discussion of a number of important issues concerning the notion of conducting research in ecologically valid settings. Gaining entry to collect data with sport participants is one such issue. This important initial stage of the field research process regards not only the feasibility of collecting data but also the very quality of data that one might be able to collect in the setting. This manuscript presents important guiding considerations for efforts to gain entry to field settings, including personal attributes of the researcher, connections, accounts, knowledge, and courtesy. Social science and sport psychology practitioner literature regarding gaining entry are examined, and relevant examples are integrated into the discussion.

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Edited by Robert C. Eklund

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Robert C. Eklund

In order to extend Gould, Eklund, and Jackson’s (1992a) investigation with 1988 U.S. Olympic wrestlers, Eklund (1994) reported results from a season-long investigation of cognition during performance among collegiate wrestlers. This manuscript expands the account of that season-long investigation by reporting precompetitive cognition and affect—the psychological experience immediately prior to match performance—associated with performance. Qualitative data were collected from 6 NCAA Division I wrestlers via indepth retrospective interviews regarding all-time best and worst performances within 2’days of 38 season matches. Observable patterns in the organization and content of precompetitive psychological experience were identified in high, moderate, and low quality performances and observations made regarding associations with the competitive psychological experience.

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Robert C. Eklund

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Sally Crawford and Robert C. Eklund

Hart, Leary, and Rejeski (1989) hypothesized that social physique anxiety (SPA), self-presentational anxiety associated with the physique, may deter some people from participating in fitness programs. This contention was explored in the present investigation. Data were collected from 104 undergraduate females regarding SPA, weight satisfaction, body satisfaction, and reasons for exercise. Following each of two video presentations of aerobics classes as stimulus materials, attitudes toward the favorability of the exercise settings were assessed. One class wore attire emphasizing the physique; the other appeared in shorts and T-shirts, deemphasizing the physique. Multiple regression analyses revealed SPA was associated with favorability of attitudes toward both exercise settings. SPA was negatively associated with favorability of the setting emphasizing the physique and was positively related to favorability of the setting de-emphasizing the physique. The results indicate that self-presentational, theoretical perspectives may be useful in understanding exercise behavior patterns.

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Robert C. Eklund and Sally Crawford

The purpose of this investigation was to replicate and extend Crawford and Eklund's (1994) investigation of social physique anxiety (SPA) and exercise. Women (N = 94) enrolled in physical education activity or major classes participated in the investigation. Data were collected on SPA, weight satisfaction, percent body fat, reasons for exercise, exercise behaviors and preferences, and attitudes toward two aerobic class video presentations featuring a manipulation of physique salience. Consistent with the previous investigation, self-presentational reasons for exercise (body tone, weight control, and physical attractiveness) were positively associated with SPA in both simple correlations and hierarchical analyses controlling for body composition. In contrast to previous findings, SPA was not associated with favorability of attitudes toward either of the video presentations. The inability to fully replicate Crawford and Eklund's (1993) findings raised interesting questions with regard to variables that may moderate or mediate self-presentational anxiety in exercise settings.

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Leslie Podlog and Robert C. Eklund

Context:

It is argued in self-determination theory that the motivation underlying behavior has implications for health and well-being independent of the behavior itself.

Objective:

To examine associations between athlete motivations for returning to sport after injury and perceived psychological return-to-sport outcomes.

Design:

A correlational survey design was employed to obtain data in Canada, Australia, and England.

Participants:

Elite and subelite athletes (N = 180) with injuries requiring a minimum 2-month absence from sport participation.

Main Outcome Measures:

Participants completed an inventory measuring perceptions of motivation to return to sport from a serious injury and psychological return-to-sport outcomes.

Results:

Correlational analyses revealed that intrinsic motivations for returning to competition were associated with a positive renewed perspective on sport participation. Conversely, extrinsic motivations for returning to sport were associated with increased worry and concern.

Conclusions:

The motivation underlying return to sport might play an important role in return-to-sport perceptions among elite and subelite athletes.

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Philip Wilson and Robert C. Eklund

The purpose of this investigation was to examine Leary’s (1992) contention that competitive anxiety revolves around the self-presentational implications of sport competition. Intercollegiate athletes (N = 199) completed inventories assessing competitive trait anxiety and self-presentational concerns. Principal-axis factor analysis with direct oblim rotation of self-presentational concern items produced an interpretable four-factor solution accounting for 62% of the variance. These factors were interpreted to represent self-presentational concerns about Performance/Composure Inadequacies, Appearing Fatigued/Lacking Energy, Physical Appearance, and Appearing Athletically Untalented. Correlational and structural equation modeling analyses revealed that self-presentational concern was more strongly associated with cognitive rather than somatic anxiety, and that substantial portions of variance in competitive anxiety could be accounted for by self-presentational concern variables. The results of this investigation provide support for Leary’s (1992) assertion regarding the relationship between self-presentational concern and competitive anxiety.

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Theresa Bianco and Robert C. Eklund

There is an extensive body of research indicating that social support can contribute to health and well-being by reducing exposure to stress and enhancing coping efforts. The mechanisms underlying this relationship remain poorly understood, however, and confusion abounds as to the nature of social support. This paper examines some of the major conceptual issues relevant to the study of social support in the context of sport injury. Specific issues addressed include differences between (a) support activities and support messages, (b) perceived support and received support, and (c) support networks, support behaviors, and appraisals of support. The discussion includes an examination of the general and sport-specific social support research. Gaps in the research are identified and suggestions are made throughout the paper for investigating social support issues in sport.