Higgins’ (1987) self-discrepancy theory holds that certain emotions occur as a result of discrepancies between pairs of psychological entities called self-guides. The present study explored self-discrepancies in self-confidence in relation to performance and cognitive anxiety. Slalom canoeists (n = 81) reported ideal, ought, and feared levels of self-confidence 3 hours before a national ranking slalom tournament. Within a half-hour of the start of the race, canoeists reported their actual self-confidence and cognitive anxiety levels. Hierarchical multiple-regression analyses revealed that self-discrepancies predicted significantly more performance variance than actual self-confidence alone. Additionally, hierarchical multiple-regression analyses revealed that, contrary to the specific predictions of self-discrepancy theory, ideal and feared discrepancies (not “ought” and “feared” discrepancies) significantly predicted cognitive anxiety. Additional findings, implications, and directions for further research into the nature of the self in sport are discussed.
Stuart Beattie, Lew Hardy and Tim Woodman
Shuge Zhang, Stuart Beattie, Amanda Pitkethly and Chelsey Dempsey
High-quality training environments are essential for athletic peak performance. However, recent research highlighted that athletes’ personality characteristics could undermine effective training. The current set of studies aimed to examine whether specific transformational leadership characteristics displayed by the coach would moderate the potential negative impacts of 2 personality traits (i.e., extraversion and neuroticism) on training behaviors. In Study 1, 99 university athletes completed questionnaires assessing personality, transformational leadership, and training behaviors. In Study 2, 84 high-level athletes completed the same personality and transformational leadership questionnaires, but the head coaches assessed their training behaviors. Both studies showed that coaches’ high performance expectations moderated the extraversion–distractibility relationship. Furthermore, both studies demonstrated that the relationship between neuroticism and coping with adversity was moderated by coaches’ inspirational motivation. The findings indicate that extraversion and neuroticism can negatively relate to training behaviors, but such effects can be moderated by certain transformational leadership behaviors.