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Jeffrey D. Graham and Steven R. Bray

The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of task self-efficacy as a psychological factor involved in the relationship between self-control depletion and physical endurance. Participants (N = 37) completed two isometric handgrip endurance trials, separated by a Stroop task, which was either congruent (control) or incongruent (causing depletion). Task self-efficacy for the second endurance trial was measured following the Stroop task. Participants in the depletion condition reported lower task self-efficacy and showed a greater reduction in performance on the second endurance trial when compared with controls. Task self-efficacy also mediated the relationship between self-control depletion and endurance performance. The results of this study provide evidence that task self-efficacy is negatively affected following self-control depletion. We recommend that task self-efficacy be further investigated as a psychological factor accounting for the negative change in self-control performance of physical endurance and sport tasks following self-control strength depletion.

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Denver M.Y. Brown and Steven R. Bray

Physical performance is impaired following cognitive control exertion. Incentives can ameliorate adverse carryover effects of cognitive control exertion but have not been investigated for physical endurance. This study examined the effect of monetary incentives on physical performance and muscle activation following exposure to a mentally fatiguing, cognitive control task. Participants (N = 82) performed two isometric endurance handgrip trials separated by a 12-min cognitive control manipulation using a 2 (high cognitive control [HCC]/low cognitive control [LCC]) × 2 (incentive/no incentive) design. Mental fatigue was significantly higher in the HCC conditions. Performance decreased in the HCC/no incentive condition but was unaffected in the HCC/incentive condition, which did not differ from the low cognitive control conditions. Electromyography data revealed increased muscle activation in the HCC/no incentive condition, which was also attenuated in the HCC/incentive condition. Findings show that incentives counteract the negative effects of HCC on physical endurance and alter central drive to motor units.

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Steven R. Bray, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, and Jennifer Woodgate

Self-regulation consumes a form of strength or energy. The authors investigated aftereffects of self-regulation depletion on muscle-endurance performance in older adults. Participants (N = 61, mean age = 71) were randomized to a self-regulation-depletion or control group and completed 2 muscle-endurance performance tasks involving isometric handgrip squeezing that were separated by a cognitive-depletion task. The depletion group showed greater deterioration of muscle-endurance performance than controls, F(1, 59) = 7.31, p = .009. Results are comparable to those of younger adults in a similar study and support Baumeister et al.’s limited-strength model. Self-regulation may contribute to central-nervous-system fatigue; however, biological processes may allow aging muscle to offset depletion of self-regulatory resources affecting muscle-endurance performance.

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Melissa N. Galea, Steven R. Bray, and Kathleen A. Martin Ginis

This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators associated with walking for exercise among people who experience intermittent claudication. Fifteen individuals (7 men and 8 women) participated in 3 focus groups that were tape-recorded and content analyzed. A social-cognitive framework was used to categorize barriers and facilitators as those related to the person, to the activity, or to the environment. Variables identified included those specific to intermittent claudication and those common among the general population. Barriers to walking included irregular or graded walking surfaces, uncertainty about the outcome of walking, ambiguity regarding pain, the need to take rest breaks, and the presence of leg pain. Facilitating factors included availability of a resting place, use of cognitive coping strategies, companionship support, and availability of a treadmill-walking program. Findings are interpreted in light of current research on exercise determinants and encourage prospective examinations of the predictive validity of these factors for walking.

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Desmond McEwan, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, and Steven R. Bray

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of depleted self-control strength on skill-based sports task performance. Sixty-two participants completed the following: a baseline dart-tossing task (20 tosses), with measures of accuracy, reaction time, and myoelectrical activity of the arms taken throughout; a self-control depletion (experimental) or a nondepletion (control) manipulation; and a second round of dart tossing. As hypothesized, participants in the experimental condition had poorer mean accuracy at Round 2 than control condition participants, and a significant decline in accuracy from Round 1 to Round 2. Experimental condition participants also demonstrated poorer consistency in accuracy compared with control condition participants at Round 2 and a significant deterioration in consistency from Round 1 to Round 2. In addition, consistency in reaction time improved significantly for the control group but not for the experimental group. The results of this study provide evidence that ego depletion effects occur in the performance of a skill-based sports task.

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Mark Eys, Todd Loughead, Steven R. Bray, and Albert V. Carron

The purpose of the current study was to initiate the development of a psychometrically sound measure of cohesion for youth sport groups. A series of projects were undertaken in a four-phase research program. The initial phase was designed to garner an understanding of how youth sport group members perceived the concept of cohesion through focus groups (n = 56), open-ended questionnaires (n = 280), and a literature review. In Phase 2, information from the initial projects was used in the development of 142 potential items and content validity was assessed. In Phase 3, 227 participants completed a revised 87-item questionnaire. Principal components analyses further reduced the number of items to 17 and suggested a two-factor structure (i.e., task and social cohesion dimensions). Finally, support for the factorial validity of the resultant questionnaire was provided through confirmatory factor analyses with an independent sample (n = 352) in Phase 4. The final version of the questionnaire contains 16 items that assess task and social cohesion in addition to 2 negatively worded spurious items. Specific issues related to assessing youth perceptions of cohesion are discussed and future research directions are suggested.

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Kira L. Innes, Jeffrey D. Graham, and Steven R. Bray

Social interactions are theorized to inform relation-inferred self-efficacy (RISE), which, in turn, may influence self-efficacy and behavior. This study investigated the effects of peer encouragement on RISE, task self-efficacy, and physical performance. Children (N = 84) were assigned to dyads and randomized to provide peer encouragement to one another or not (control group). Participants completed two endurance handgrip trials, separated by a cognitively demanding task intended to induce mental fatigue and increase the salience of the peer encouragement manipulation. Participants in the experimental group exchanged words of encouragement prior to the second endurance trial, whereas those in the control group did not. The peer encouragement group reported higher RISE and showed increased performance across trials compared with controls. Providing peer encouragement prior to a challenging physical task was associated with more positive RISE perceptions and improved physical performance.

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Mark R. Beauchamp, Steven R. Bray, Mark A. Eys, and Albert V. Carron

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between role ambiguity and precompetition state anxiety (A-state). Consistent with multidimensional anxiety theory (Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990), it was hypothesized that role ambiguity would be positively related to cognitive but not to somatic A-state. Based on the conceptual model presented by Beauchamp, Bray, Eys, and Carron (2002), role ambiguity in sport was operationalized as a multidimensional construct (i.e., scope of responsibilities, role behaviors, role evaluation, and role consequences) potentially manifested in each of two contexts, offense and defense. Consistent with hypotheses, ambiguity in terms of the scope of offensive role responsibilities predicted cognitive A-state (R 2 = .19). However, contrary to hypotheses, offensive role-consequences ambiguity also predicted somatic A-state (R 2 = .09). Results highlight the importance of using a multidimensional approach to investigate role ambiguity in sport and are discussed in terms of both theory advancement and possible interventions.

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Mark A. Eys, Albert V. Carron, Mark R. Beauchamp, and Steven R. Bray

The general purpose of the present study was to examine the nature of role ambiguity in sport teams and to explore the construct validity of the operational definition of role ambiguity developed by Beauchamp, Bray, Eys, and Carron (2002). Role ambiguity was operationalized as a multidimensional construct (Scope of Responsibilities, Behavioral Responsibilities, Evaluation of Performance, and Consequences of Not Fulfilling Responsibilities) that occurs in two contexts, offense and defense. Consistent with the a priori hypothesis, perceptions of role ambiguity exhibited some degree of within-group consistency and group-level variability, but most of the variance in role ambiguity was seen at the individual level. Also, perceptions of role ambiguity decreased from early to late season. Finally, veteran athletes experienced less role ambiguity than first-year athletes at the beginning of the season, but not at the end. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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Mark A. Eys, Albert V. Carron, Steven R. Bray, and Lawrence R. Brawley

A common practice for counteracting response acquiescence in psychological measures has been to employ both negatively and positively worded items. However, previous research has highlighted that the reliability of measures can be affected by this practice (Spector, 1992). The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect that the presence of negatively worded items has on the internal reliability of the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ). Two samples (N = 276) were utilized, and participants were asked to complete the GEQ (original and revised) on separate occasions. Results demonstrated that the revised questionnaire (containing all positively worded items) had significantly higher Cronbach a values for three of the four dimensions of the GEQ. Implications, alternatives, and future directions are discussed.