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Luke Sage and Maria Kavussanu

In this experiment we examined the effects of task and ego involvement on three measures of moral behavior—prosocial choice, observed prosocial behavior, and observed antisocial behavior—in a competitive setting. We also investigated sex differences in moral behavior. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 48) college students were randomly assigned to a task-involving, an ego-involving, or a control condition. Participants played two 10-min games of table soccer and completed measures of prosocial choice, goal involvement, goal orientation, and demographics. The two games were recorded, and frequencies of prosocial and antisocial behavior were coded. Players assigned to the task-involving condition were higher in prosocial choice than those in the ego-involving or control conditions. Individuals in the ego-involving condition displayed more antisocial behaviors than those in the task-involving or control conditions. Finally, females displayed more prosocial behaviors than males.

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Lynne Evans, Leigh Jones and Richard Mullen

The purpose of the present study was to explore the use of imagery by an elite rugby union football player and to examine the effects of an imagery intervention in a practical performance environment. The study took place over a 14-week period of the competitive season. Data collection comprised semi-structured interviews, diaries, and the Sport Imagery Questionnaire. The findings suggested that the participant primarily used cognitive specific and cognitive general imagery. Post-intervention, the participant reported greater clarity; detail; control over his anxiety, activation, and motivation levels; an improvement in his ability to generate confidence in his playing ability prior to games; and more structure to his imagery use. The study highlighted the importance of individualizing imagery interventions to meet the specific needs of different athletes.

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Daniel Gould, Eileen Udry, Suzanne Tuffey and James Loehr

This is the third in a series of manuscripts reporting results from a research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. Individual differences in burnout are examined by discussing idiographic profiles from three athletes who were identified as having burned out in the earlier phases of the project. These cases were chosen as they represented different substrains of social psychologically driven and physically driven burnout. In particular, the three cases included: (a) a player characterized by high levels of perfectionism and overtraining; (b) a player who experienced pressure from others and a need for a social life; and (c) a player who was physically overtrained and had inappropriate goals. It was concluded that although important patterns result from content analyses across participants, the unique experience of each individual must be recognized.

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Shawna L. Palmer

This study investigated the influence of two distinct mental practice techniques on figure skating performance. Twelve prenovice and novice level competitive figure skaters each performed two figures which were assessed as a pretreatment measure. In Phase 1 the subjects were assigned to one of three groups: Martin self-talk technique, paper patch technique, or a notreatment control group. Following a 4-week period of using the assigned technique, a second performance assessment revealed no significant differences between the Martin group and the control group, while the paper patch group showed significant improvements over both. In Phase 2 a multiple-comparison-across-subjects design was used. A third assessment was completed after an additional 4-week period which demonstrated that a significantly greater number of skaters using the paper patch technique improved in performance. This study reveals the importance of investigating the efficacies of different types of mental practice when applied to specific sporting or performance activities.

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Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard and Sheldon Hanton

Competitive anxiety and self-confidence were examined temporally in “facilitators,” “debilitators,” and “mixed interpreters” using the modified CSAI-2 (intensity, direction, frequency). MANOVA’s (group X time-to-competition) and follow-up tests revealed no significant interactions but revealed significant main effects for both factors. Facilitators displayed increased intensities of self-confidence, more positive interpretations of cognitive and somatic symptoms, increased frequency of self-confidence, and decreased frequency of cognitive symptoms than debilitators through performance preparation. Time-to-competition effects indicated intensities of cognitive and somatic responses increased, and self-confidence decreased near competition. Directional perceptions of cognitive and somatic responses became less positive, and the frequency of these symptoms increased toward the event. Findings have implications for intervention design and timing and emphasize the importance of viewing symptoms over temporal phases.

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Bruce D. Hale and Adam Whitehouse

This study attempted to manipulate an athlete’s facilitative or debilitative appraisal (direction; Jones, 1995) of competitive anxiety through imagery-based interventions in order to study the effects on subsequent anxiety intensity (heart rate and CSAI-2) and direction (CSAI-2D; Jones & Swain, 1992). In a within-subjects’ design, 24 experienced soccer players were relaxed via progressive relaxation audiotape and then randomly underwent an imagery-based video- and audiotaped manipulation of their appraisal of taking a hypothetical gamewinning penalty kick under either a “pressure” or “challenge” appraisal emphasis. There was no significant effect for heart rate. A repeated measures MANOVA for CSAI-2 and CSAI-2D scores revealed that for both intensity and direction scores the challenge condition produced less cognitive anxiety, less somatic anxiety, and more self-confidence (all p < .001) than the pressure situation. This finding suggests that a challenge appraisal manipulation taught by applied sport psychologists might benefit athletes’ performance.

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Roger Feltman and Andrew J. Elliot

Recent research has revealed that a person or team wearing red is more likely to win a physical contest than a person or team wearing another color. In the present research, we examined whether red influences perceptions of relative dominance and threat in an imagined same-sex competitive context, and did so attending to the distinction between wearing red oneself and viewing red on an opponent. Results revealed a bidirectional effect: wearing red enhanced perceptions of one’s relative dominance and threat, and viewing an opponent in red enhanced perceptions of the opponent’s relative dominance and threat. These effects were observed across sex, and participants seemed unaware of the influence of red on their responses. Our findings lead to practical suggestions regarding the use of colored attire in sport contexts, and add to an emerging, provocative literature indicating that red has a subtle but important influence on psychological functioning.

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Megan L. Babkes and Maureen R. Weiss

This study examined the relationship between children’s perceptions of parental influence and their psychosocial responses to competitive soccer participation. Female (n = 114) and male (n = 113) athletes completed self-reports of soccer competence, enjoyment, intrinsic motivation, and parents’ influence on their participation. Mothers (n = 160) and fathers (n = 123) reported their own attitudes and behaviors toward their child’s participation. Regression analyses revealed that mothers and fathers who were perceived as positive exercise role models, who had more positive beliefs about their child’s competency, and who gave more frequent positive contingent responses to performance successes were associated with athletes who had higher perceived competence, enjoyment, and intrinsic motivation. Children who also perceived their fathers as being more involved in their soccer participation and exerting lower amounts of pressure to perform had more positive psychosocial responses. However, a nonsignificant relationship was found for mother and father reported influence with children’s psychosocial responses.

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Richard R Albrecht and Deborah L. Feltz

The Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS) was developed as an objective measure by which an individual's attentional predisposition could be identified and used to predict performance on a variety of tasks. The present study had three purposes: (a) to construct a baseball/softball batting (B-TAIS) version of each TAIS attentional subscale, (b) to compare TAIS and B-TAIS reliability, and (c) to compare TAIS and B-TAIS validity. Both instruments were administered to 29 intercollegiate baseball and softball players. The B-TAIS demonstrated slightly higher test-restest reliability on five of the six attentional subscales and was higher than the TAIS in internal consistency on all subscales. Batting performance was positively related to all B-TAIS subscales assessing effective attentional deployment and negatively related to all subscales assessing ineffective attention. Significant positive correlations also existed between B-TAIS ineffective subscale scores and competitive trait anxiety. However, these relationships were not found with the general TAIS.

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Daniel Gould, Suzanne Tuffey, Eileen Udry and James Loehr

This study reports results from the first phase of a large-scale research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. Thirty junior tennis burnout and 32 comparison players, identified by U.S. Tennis Association personnel, voluntarily completed a battery of psychological assessments. A series of discriminant function analyses and univariate t-tests revealed that burned out, as contrasted to comparison players, had significantly: (a) higher burnout scores; (b) less input into training; (c) were more likely to have played high school tennis; (d) more likely played up in age division; (e) practiced fewer days; (f) were lower in external motivation; (g) were higher in amotivation; (h) reported being more withdrawn; (i) differed on a variety of perfectionism subscales; (j) were less likely to use planning coping strategies; and (k) were lower on positive interpretation and growth coping. It was concluded that in addition to a variety of personal and situational predictors of burnout, perfectionism plays a particularly important role.