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Relationship of Intensity and Direction of Competitive Anxiety with Coping Strategies

Nikos Ntoumanis and Stuart J.H. Biddle

The purpose of the present study was to examine how coping strategies in sport relate to differences in levels of anxiety intensity and to the interpretation of these levels as being facilitative or debilitative to performance. British university athletes were asked to recall a recent stressful situation in their sport, the coping strategies they used, and the intensity and direction of their anxiety symptoms. Results showed that perceptions of facilitative cognitive anxiety were related to the use of problem-focused coping. High levels of cognitive anxiety intensity were related to emotion-focused coping and avoidance coping. With regard to somatic anxiety, there was a significant interaction between the intensity and direction dimensions in that similar high levels of anxiety intensity were related to different coping strategies, depending on whether somatic anxiety was perceived to be facilitative or debilitative. From a practical point of view, the results show that athletes with positive perceptions of their anxiety level are able to use effective coping strategies. Lastly, suggestions are offered for further exploration of the nature of the interrelationship between coping strategies and anxiety.

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Exercise and Depression: Considering Variability and Contextuality

Guy Faulkner and Stuart J.H. Biddle

Research continues to support the consideration of exercise as an adjunctive treatment for depression. Adopting a qualitative approach, the aim of this study was to extend our understanding of the motives and barriers to exercise faced by this clinical population, and to explore the role of physical activity in promoting psychological well-being, in a way that encompasses the variability and contextuality of the lives of individuals. Marking a departure from standard content analyses reported in the literature, instrumental case studies are developed that offer a different format for representing qualitative data. Given its longitudinal nature, this study demonstrates the fundamental importance of considering the wider context of participants’ lives in order to understand the relationship between physical activity and psychological well-being. This association is likely to be complex and highly idiosyncratic. Such an understanding may inform a more critical insight into the potential of exercise as an antidepressant in terms of process and effectiveness.

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Motivation and Perceptions of Control: Tracing Its Development and Plotting Its Future in Exercise and Sport Psychology

Stuart J.H. Biddle

An analysis of control-related motivation constructs that have been studied in sport and exercise psychology is attempted using Skinner’s (1995, 1996) agent-means-ends framework and her “competence system” model. I review and analyze six constructs or approaches that have received a great deal of attention in our field in the past (locus of control and attributions), the present (self-efficacy, achievement goal orientations, and perceived behavioral control), and. I predict, the future (self-determination theory). For each construct or approach. I provide an overview and research summary followed by an analysis of its control-related properties using Skinner’s frameworks.

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Modeling the Relation of Goal Orientations to Achievement-Related Affect in Physical Education: Does Perceived Ability Matter?

Symeon Vlachopoulos and Stuart J.H. Biddle

This study investigated likely determinants of achievement-related affect in physical education. In particular, interrelationships were examined between achievement goal orientations, success perceptions, personally controllable attributions, and achievement-related affect based on data collected from 1,070 British students aged 11-16 years. A positive association emerged between task orientation and success perception, but not between ego orientation and success perception. In addition, perceived success positively influenced personally controllable attributions and positive affect, but had no effect on negative emotion. Furthermore, personally controllable attributions augmented positive emotion and minimized negative affect. Perceived ability moderated the relation between ego orientation and personally controllable attributions. Hence, under the low perceived ability condition, ego orientation was associated with personally uncontrollable attributions, but the opposite was true for the high perceived ability group. An enhancement of both task orientation and perceived athletic competence is needed for adolescents to derive positive affective experiences from physical education.

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Cognitive Strategies in Running: A Response to Masters and Ogles (1998)

Clare D. Stevinson and Stuart J.H. Biddle

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The Use of Pedometers for Monitoring Physical Activity in Children and Adolescents: Measurement Considerations

Stacy A. Clemes and Stuart J.H. Biddle


Pedometers are increasingly being used to measure physical activity in children and adolescents. This review provides an overview of common measurement issues relating to their use.


Studies addressing the following measurement issues in children/adolescents (aged 3−18 years) were included: pedometer validity and reliability, monitoring period, wear time, reactivity, and data treatment and reporting. Pedometer surveillance studies in children/adolescents (aged: 4−18 years) were also included to enable common measurement protocols to be highlighted.


In children > 5 years, pedometers provide a valid and reliable, objective measure of ambulatory activity. Further evidence is required on pedometer validity in preschool children. Across all ages, optimal monitoring frames to detect habitual activity have yet to be determined; most surveillance studies use 7 days. It is recommended that standardized wear time criteria are established for different age groups, and that wear times are reported. As activity varies between weekdays and weekend days, researchers interested in habitual activity should include both types of day in surveillance studies. There is conflicting evidence on the presence of reactivity to pedometers.


Pedometers are a suitable tool to objectively assess ambulatory activity in children (> 5 years) and adolescents. This review provides recommendations to enhance the standardization of measurement protocols.

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Ethical and Professional Issues in Contemporary British Sport Psychology

Stuart J.H. Biddle, Stephen J. Bull, and Carole L. Seheult

Associated with the rapid increase in the demand for, and supply of, sport psychologists in Britain, a number of ethical and professional issues have arisen. Although some of these may not be unique to Britain, they may shed light on important issues that can contribute to a wider, international dialogue. Specifically, the paper addresses issues associated with the establishment of the Code of Conduct and the Register of sport psychologists in Britain. In addition, the consultancy process is considered from what have been termed educational and clinical perspectives, with illustrative case-study examples. Future directions are discussed in the hope of stimulating informed debate in the international community of sport psychology.

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Young People’s Motivational Profiles in Physical Activity: A Cluster Analysis

C.K. John Wang and Stuart J.H. Biddle

A great deal has been written about the motivation of young people in physical activity, and the determinants of activity for this age group have been identified as a research priority. Despite this, there are few large-scale studies identifying “types” or “clusters” of young people based on their scores on validated motivation inventories. This study reports the results of a cluster analysis of a large national sample (n = 2,510) of 12- to 15-year-olds using contemporary approaches to physical activity motivation: achievement goal orientations, self-determination theory (including amotivation), the nature of athletic ability beliefs, and perceived competence. Five meaningful clusters were identified reflecting two highly motivated and two less well-motivated clusters, as well as a clearly amotivated cluster. Groupings were validated by investigating differences in physical activity participation and perceptions of physical self-worth. Some clusters reflected age and gender differences. The results provide valuable information for likely strategies to promote physical activity in young people.

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Critical Hours: Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior of Adolescents after School

Andrew J. Atkin, Trish Gorely, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Simon J. Marshall, and Noel Cameron

The present study examined physical activity and sedentary behavior patterns of adolescents between 15.30h and 18.30h. The sample for this study is 1,484 (boys: n = 561; girls: n = 923). Boys and girls reported 21 and 19 min of physical activity and 24 and 26 min of homework respectively during this period. Technology-based sedentary behavior (TV viewing, computer and video game use) was significantly higher in boys than girls (boys = 50 mins; girls = 35 mins; p < .05). The most prevalent behaviors after school are technology-based sedentary behavior, homework and physical activity. During these hours, engagement in physical activity does not appear to displace time spent doing homework.

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Social-Psychological and Physical Environmental Factors in Groups Differing by Levels of Physical Activity: A Study of Scottish Adolescent Girls

Sarah H. Whitehead, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Toni M. O’Donovan, and Mary E. Nevill

Few studies have addressed factors influencing Scottish adolescent girls’ participation in physical activity (PA). Participants (N = 352) aged 11 to 16 years completed surveys measuring PA participation and potential social-psychological and physical-environmental correlates. Data were analyzed separately by two age groups (11-13 and 14-16 years). For younger girls, mother’s participation, perceived importance, and home equipment use were higher among those higher in PA. For older girls, perceived importance, home equipment use, neighborhood perceptions, and use and enjoyment of local facilities were higher among girls higher in PA. It seems that older girls place less importance on significant others and move toward autonomy away from the home.