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Robert Brustad Portland and Maureen R. Weiss

This study examined the relationship between cognitive appraisal processes and the affective characteristics of youth sport involvement using Harter's competence motivation theory as a framework. Specifically, the present study extended Passer's (1983) research on patterns of competitive trait anxiety (CTA) in young male soccer players by including female athletes and athletes involved in different sports. Boy baseball players (N = 55) and girl softball players (N = 58) completed self-report measures of CTA, self-esteem, perceived physical competence, and frequency of evaluative and performance-related worries about athletic competition. Multivariate analyses revealed that high-CTA boys reported lower levels of self-esteem and more frequent worries about their performance than did their less anxious counterparts. For the girls, no significant relationships were found between levels of competitive trait anxiety and the cognitive variables. To enhance the experiences of youth sport participants, it is essential that the contributors to, and consequences of, competitive trait anxiety be more closely examined.

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Trent A. Petrie

This study prospectively investigated the effects of life stress, psychological coping skills, competitive trait anxiety, and playing status (starter vs. non-starter) on injury in 158 NCAA Division I-A collegiate football players. Playing status moderated the influence of the psychosocial variables as predictors of athletic injury. For starters positive life stress, coping skills, and competitive trait anxiety accounted for 60% of the injury variance. In addition, competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of positive life stress such that increases in these variables were associated with increases in the number of days missed due to injury. No relationship between any of the psychosocial variables and injury emerged for nonstarters. Implications for future research are discussed with respect to the Andersen and Williams (1988) theoretical model.

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Robin S. Vealey

An interactional, sport-specific model of self-confidence was developed in which sport-confidence was conceptualized into trait (SC-trait) and state (SC-state) components. A competitive orientation construct was also included in the model to account for individual differences in defining success in sport. In order to test the relationship represented in the conceptual model, an instrument to measure SC-trait (Trait Sport-Confidence Inventory or TSCI), an instrument to measure SC-state (State Sport-Confidence Inventory or SSCI), and an instrument to measure competitive orientation (Competitive Orientation Inventory or COI) were developed and validated. Validation procedures included five phases of data collection involving 666 high school, college, and adult athletes. All three instruments demonstrated adequate item discrimination, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, content validity, and concurrent validity. In the construct validation phase, the results supported several predictions based on the conceptual model.

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Ryan J. Hamilton, Carl D. Paton and William G. Hopkins

In a recent study competitive road cyclists experienced substantial gains in sprint and endurance performance when sessions of high-intensity interval training were added to their usual training in the competitive phase of a season. The current study reports the effect of this type of training on performance of 20 distance runners randomized to an experimental or control group for 5 to 7 weeks of training. The experimental group replaced part of their usual competitive-phase training with 10 × 30-minute sessions consisting of 3 sets of explosive single-leg jumps (20 for each leg) alternating with 3 sets of resisted treadmill sprints (5 × 30-second efforts alternating with 30-second recovery). Before and after the training period all runners completed an incremental treadmill test for assessment of lactate threshold and maximum running speed, 2 treadmill runs to exhaustion for prediction of 800- and 1500-m times, and a 5-km outdoor time trial. Relative to the control group, the mean changes (±90% confidence limits) in the experimental group were: maximum running speed, 1.8% (± 1.1%); lactate-threshold speed, 3.5% (±3.4%); predicted 800-m speed, 3.6% (± 1.8%); predicted 1500-m speed, 3.7% (± 3.0%); and 5-km time-trial speed, 1.2% (± 1.1%). We conclude that high-intensity resistance training in the competitive phase is likely to produce beneficial gains in performance for most distance runners.

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Michael W. Passer

The competitive trait anxiety of 316 male youth soccer participants was assessed prior to the start of a season. Players' performance expectancies, anticipated affective reactions to success-failure, expectations of criticism for failure, performance- and evaluation-related worries, perceived competence, and self-esteem also were recorded. The responses of players in the upper (n = 79) and lower (n = 84) competitive trait-anxiety quartiles indicated that, as predicted, high-anxious players expected to play less well and experience greater shame, upset, and more frequent criticism from parents and coaches in the event of poor performance. Even when these expectancies were controlled, high-anxious players worried more frequently than low-anxious players about not playing well, losing, and being evaluated by parents, coaches, and teammates. No between-group differences existed in players' self-perceived athletic competence or in their ability as rated by coaches. Competitive trait anxiety was weakly related to self-esteem. The findings support the general hypothesis that fear of failure and fear of evaluation are significant sources of threat in competitive-trait-anxious children.

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Tara K. Scanlan and Rebecca Lewthwaite

This field study investigated the influence and stability of individual difference and situational factors on the competitive stress experienced by 9- to 14-year-old wrestlers. Stress was assessed by the children's form of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory and was measured immediately before and after each of two consecutive tournament matches. Wrestlers' dispositions, characteristic precompetition cognitions, perceptions of significant adult influences, psychological states, self-perceptions, and competitive outcomes were examined as predictors of pre- and postmatch anxiety in separate multiple regression analyses for each tournament round. The most influential and stable predictors of prematch stress for both matches were competitive trait anxiety and personal performance expectancies, while win-loss and fun experienced during the match predicted postmatch stress for both rounds. In addition, prematch worries about failure and perceived parental pressure to participate were predictive of round 1 prematch stress. Round 1 postmatch stress levels predicted stress after round 2, suggesting some consistency in children's stress responses. In total, 61 and 35% of prematch and 41 and 32% of postmatch state anxiety variance was explained for rounds 1 and 2, respectively.

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Yves Chantal and Iouri Bernache-Assollant

The authors demonstrate in three experiments (N = 241) that yellow impacts on social perceptions when associated with competitive cycling. In Experiment 1, the image of a syringe evocated competitive cycling and doping more strongly when presented on yellow as compared with gray. In Experiment 2, a performance improvement scenario yielded more discredit of a depicted racer and higher suspicions of doping when ending on a yellow frame, as opposed to a gray one. In Experiment 3, the image of a racer wearing a yellow jersey (instead of a gray or a white one) yielded the lowest scores on measures of suitability as a role model and attractiveness of sport participation. Moreover, no significant differences emerged for gender, thereby suggesting equivalent effects for female and male participants. Finally, the authors discuss conceptual and practical implications as well as limitations before proposing a number of avenues for future research.

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Mark W. Bruner, Ian D. Boardley, Veronica Allan, Christopher Forrest, Zachary Root and Jean Côté

Social identity has been found to play a salient role in regulating teammate behavior among youth participating in a range of sports (Bruner, Boardley, & Côté, 2014). This study aimed to better understand social identity by examining how it may influence intrateam moral behavior specifically in competitive youth ice hockey. Thirty-six male and female competitive youth ice hockey players from nine teams participated in narrative interviews. Using a thematic narrative analysis, three distinct narratives were identified: (1) family-oriented team narrative, (2) performance-oriented team narrative, and (3) dominance-oriented team narrative. Within each of the narratives, a reciprocal relationship between social identity and intrateam moral behavior was reported such that young athletes’ social identities developed through team membership may influence and be influenced by their moral behavior toward teammates. Collectively, the results extend previous research by providing an in-depth qualitative understanding of social identity and intrateam moral behavior in youth sport.

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Diane E. Taub and Rose Ann Benson

Since most research on eating disorders among athletes has focused on college-age samples, the present investigation examines the adolescent competitive swimmer. Three areas related to weight and eating habits were explored: general concerns about weight, use of weight control techniques, and tendencies toward anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and associated behavioral/personal characteristics. Previous research has found females to be at greater risk than males, thus gender comparisons were undertaken. Questionnaires were completed by 85 adolescent competitive swimmers attending a nationally known summer swim camp at a large midwestern university. Consistent with the cultural norm of thinness for women, young female swimmers desired weight loss more than their male counterparts did. In terms of actual pathogenic weight control techniques or eating disorder tendencies, however, few significant gender differences were found. Neither male nor female adolescent swimmers were particularly susceptible to eating disorders or pathogenic weight control techniques.

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Urban Johnson

Objective:

To explore the effectiveness of psychological interventions for a sample of competitive athletes with long-term injuries.

Design:

Modified 2-group, pretreatment and posttreatment (repeated measure).

Patients:

58 patients, 14 in the experimental group and 44 in the control group.

Interventions:

Three intervention strategies: stress management and cognitive control, goal-setting skills, and relaxation/guided imagery.

Main Outcome Measure:

Mood level was used as the outcome variable.

Results:

The experimental group had a higher overall mood level at the midpoint and end of rehabilitation and were also feeling more ready for competition than the control group was, both as rated by themselves and by the treating physiotherapist The only strategy to show statistical differences was relaxation/guided imagery.

Conclusions:

The results of this study support the idea that a short-term intervention has the potential to elevate mood levels in competitive athletes with long-term injuries.