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Susan Jackson

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Susan A. Jackson, Lisa Mayocchi, and Jeremy Dover

The experiences of 18 Olympic gold medallists from Australia are analyzed relative to the changes effected by their Olympic wins. Specifically, the effect an Olympic win has on subsequent athletic performance is addressed as are athletes’ strategies for coping with changes faced after winning a gold medal and recommendations for future Olympic champions. Athletes perceived that both preparation and focus for subsequent competitions were affected by an Olympic win and saw most of these changes as negative influences. Athletes’ coping strategies were similar to those reported by other elite athletes. Recommendations for helping prepare elite athletes for the changes associated with high-level athletic success are discussed.

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Susan A. Jackson and Herbert W. Marsh

The Flow State Scale (FSS) is a new measure of flow in sport and physical activity settings. The nine FSS scales of the 36-item instrument represent the dimensions of flow discussed by Csikszentmihalyi (1990, 1993), and each scale is measured by four items. Development of items was based on (a) past research with flow state both within and outside of sport settings, (b) qualitative analysis of interviews with elite athletes, and (c) quantitative analyses conducted in the present investigation. Internal consistency estimates for the nine FSS scales were reasonable (alpha M = 33) for administration of the scale to 394 athletes. Confirmatory factor analyses supported the nine scales. Consistent with the theoretical basis of the FSS, there was also support for a hierarchical model in which one global (higher order) flow factor explained correlations among the nine first-order FSS factors. Suggestions for use of the scale and for further research are discussed.

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Susan A. Jackson, Jeremy Dover, and Lisa Mayocchi

To better understand the impact that winning an Olympic gold medal has upon athletes, a qualitative investigation of the experiences encountered by Australian athletes who won an Olympic gold medal between 1984-1992 was conducted. A total of 18 Olympic champions were interviewed on their experiences as gold medallists. While athletes recognized many positive aspects associated with their Olympic wins, a large number of negative experiences were also recounted. The win created significant and long-lasting change to most athletes’ lives. Evaluation and comparison of the athletes’ personal experiences in relation to other Australian gold medallists from this time period are discussed.

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Daniel Gould, Susan Jackson, and Laura Finch

This investigation examined stress and sources of stress experienced by U.S. national champion figure skaters. Seventeen national champions, who held their titles between 1985 and 1990, were interviewed about the stress they experienced as national champions and were asked to identify specific sources of stress. Qualitative methodology was used to inductively analyze the interview transcripts and revealed that 71% of the skaters experienced more stress after winning their title than before doing so. Stress source dimensions were also identified and included: relationship issues, expectations and pressure to perform, psychological demands on skater resources, physical demands on skater resources, environmental demands on skater resources, life direction concerns, and a number of individual specific uncategorizable sources. In general, these findings parallel the previous elite figure skaters stress source research of Scanlan, Stein, and Ravizza (1991), although there were several points of divergence relative to the type of stressors experienced by this sample of national champion athletes.

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Susan A. Jackson and Glyn C. Roberts

This study investigated relationships among peak performance, flow, goal orientation, and perceived ability in an attempt to ascertain possible conceptual bases to peak performance. Collegiate athletes (N=200) answered a questionnaire that assessed mastery and competitive goal orientations, perceived ability, flow, and experience in best and worst competitive performances. It was hypothesized that the psychological process of flow underlies peak performance and is associated with a mastery oriented focus and high perceived ability. These predicted relationships were supported by both quantitative and qualitative analyses. Analysis of athletes’ best performances indicated a total focus on performance, and other characteristics of flow were key to the perception of a superior state of functioning. In contrast, overconcern with the outcome, reflecting a competitive orientation, was often associated with athletes’ worst performances. These associations suggest that investigating positive performance states from a motivational standpoint may lead to greater understanding of the underlying conceptual bases of peak athletic performance.

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Susan A. Jackson and Robert C. Eklund

The Flow State Scale-2 (FSS-2) and Dispositional Flow Scale-2 (DFS-2) are presented as two self-report instruments designed to assess flow experiences in physical activity. Item modifications were made to the original versions of these scales in order to improve the measurement of some of the flow dimensions. Confirmatory factor analyses of an item identification and a cross-validation sample demonstrated a good fit of the new scales. There was support for both a 9-first-order factor model and a higher order model with a global flow factor. The item identification sample yielded mean item loadings on the first-order factor of .78 for the FSS-2 and .77 for the DFS-2. Reliability estimates ranged from .80 to .90 for the FSS-2, and .81 to .90 for the DFS-2. In the cross-validation sample, mean item loadings on the first-order factor were .80 for the FSS-2, and .73 for the DFS-2. Reliability estimates ranged between .80 to .92 for the FSS-2 and .78 to .86 for the DFS-2. The scales are presented as ways of assessing flow experienced within a particular event (FSS-2) or the frequency of flow experiences in chosen physical activity in general (DFS-2).

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Susan A. Jackson and Herbert W. Marsh

The purpose of this study was to examine relations between women's involvment in sports and three psychological constructs: role conflict, sex-role identification, and multidimensional self-concepts. The three groups comprised female powerlifters competing in a national championship (n = 30), high school female athletes (n = 46), and high school female nonathletes (n = 46). Role conflict was not substantial except for a few specific areas related to conflicting expectations of appropriate female and athlete behavior. Both athletic groups scored substantially higher on masculinity (M) and on self-concept of physical ability than the nonathletic group, but there were no group differences on femininity (F) and few substantial differences in other areas of self-concept. Hence the results provide further support for the construct validity of androgyny and for the multidimensionality of self-concept. The major findings, that female athletes can be more M without being less F, and that female athletic involvement has positive benefits without producing any loss in F or in self-concept, dispels a popular myth about women's involvement in sports.

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Ken Hodge, Chris Lonsdale, and Susan A. Jackson

In this exploratory study, we examined hypothesized antecedents (basic psychological needs) and consequences (dispositional flow) of athlete engagement (AE); plus the extent to which AE mediated the relationship between basic needs and flow. Structural equation modeling with a sample of 201 elite Canadian athletes (60.20% female, mean age = 22.92 years) showed that needs satisfaction (particularly competence & autonomy) predicted athlete engagement (30% explained variance); and needs satisfaction and athlete engagement predicted dispositional flow (68% explained variance). AE partially mediated the relationship between needs satisfaction and flow. Practical suggestions are offered for needs-supportive coaching programs designed to increase both AE and flow.

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Susan G. Zieff, Mi-Sook Kim, Jackson Wilson, and Patrick Tierney

Background:

Temporary parks such as the monthly event, Sunday Streets SF, support public health goals by using existing infrastructure and street closures to provide physical activity in neighborhoods underserved for recreational resources. Sunday Streets creates routes to enhance community connection.

Methods:

Six hundred and thirty-nine participants at 3 Sunday Streets events were surveyed using a 36-item instrument of open- and closed-ended questions about overall physical activity behavior, physical activity while at Sunday Streets, experience of the events, and demographic data.

Results:

Overall, Sunday Streets participants are physically active (79% engage in activity 3–7 days/week) and approximately represent the ethnic minority distribution of the city. There were significant differences between first-time attendees and multiple-event attendees by duration of physical activity at the event (55.83 minutes vs. 75.13 minutes) and by frequency of physical activity bouts per week (3.69 vs. 4.22). Both groups emphasized the positive experience and safe environment as reasons to return to the event; for first-time attendees, the social environment was another reason to return.

Conclusions:

Temporary parks like Sunday Streets have the potential to provide healthful, population-wide physical activity using existing streets. The trend toward increased activity by multiple-event attendees suggests the importance of a regular schedule of events.