The influence of negative emotions such as anxiety on athletes’ preparation and performance has been studied extensively. The focus of this review is on more adaptive approaches to competition such as the experience of positive emotion and beneficial perceptions of emotion. Evidence on the antecedents and adaptive consequences of positive emotions is reviewed, and implications for research and practice in a sport context are suggested. We focus on the cognitive appraisal of challenge as a significant antecedent of both positive emotion and beneficial perceptions of emotion. A theoretical model of beneficial and harmful perceptions of emotion is presented which incorporates appraisals of challenge, coping expectancies, and valence (positive vs. negative) of emotion. Research that supports the model is reviewed, and implications for research, coaching, and training in the sport context are suggested.
Natalie Skinner and Neil Brewer
Christopher Rumpf and Christoph Breuer
research, the emotional experience of watching sports has been a topic of interest (e.g., Wann & Branscombe, 1992 ). Empirical research has found, for example, that the degree of team identification amplifies both positive and negative emotions ( Wann, Dolan, McGeorge, & Allison, 1994 ). In a recent study
Peter J. Lang
Emotions are organized around 2 basic motivational systems, appetitive and defensive, that evolved from primitive neural circuits in the mammalian brain. The appetitive system is keyed for approach behavior, founded on the preservative, sexual, and nurturant reflexes that underlie pleasant affects; the defense system is keyed for withdrawal, founded on protective and escape reflexes that underlie unpleasant affects. Both systems control attentional processing: Distal engagement by motive-relevant cues prompts immobility and orienting. With greater cue proximity (e.g., predator or prey imminence), neural motor centers supercede, determining overt defensive or consummatory action. In humans, these systems determine affective expression, evaluation behavior, and physiological responses that can be related to specific functional changes in the brain. This theoretical approach is illustrated with psychophysiological and brain imagery studies in which human subjects respond to emotional picture stimuli.
Robert J. Vallerand
This paper presents and critically assesses four major cognitive theories of emotion. Theories were selected on the basis of their pertinence to a social psychological study of emotion in sport. Four cognitive theories of emotion by Schachter (1964), Lazarus (1966), Arnold (1960), and Weiner (1981) were reviewed. Strengths and weaknesses of these theories were examined. Cognitive theories of emotion were also shown to be amenable to theoretical research in sport. It was suggested that a comprehensive theory of emotion in sport should incorporate aspects of different cognitive theories of emotion thus leading to a better understanding and prediction of emotion in sport settings. Such a comprehensive theory, however, must await future research. Issues for a social psychology of emotion in sport were formulated. It was argued that emotion research in sport should be incorporated within a social psychological framework. To this end it was suggested that a better understanding of the antecedents and consequences of affect is needed in order to fully understand emotion as experienced by sport participants.
Maria Kavussanu, Adrian Willoughby and Christopher Ring
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of moral identity on physiological responses to affective pictures, namely, the startle blink reflex and pain-related evoked potential. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 46) athletes participating in contact team sports were randomly assigned to either a moral identity group or a non-moral identity group and viewed a series of unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant sport-specific pictures. During picture viewing, a noxious electrocutaneous stimulus was delivered as the startle probe and the startle blink and pain-related evoked potential were measured. Upon completion of physiological measures, participants reviewed the pictures and rated them for valence and arousal. ANOVAs revealed that participants in the moral identity group displayed larger startle blinks and smaller pain-related potentials than did those in the non-moral identity group across all picture valence categories. However, the difference in the magnitude of startle blinks between the moral and non-moral identity groups was larger in response to unpleasant than pleasant and neutral pictures. Our findings suggest that moral identity affects physiological responses to sport-specific affective pictures, thereby providing objective evidence for the link between moral identity and emotion in athletes.
Marc V. Jones, Andrew M. Lane, Steven R. Bray, Mark Uphill and James Catlin
The present paper outlines the development of a sport-specific measure of precompetitive emotion to assess anger, anxiety, dejection, excitement, and happiness. Face, content, factorial, and concurrent validity were examined over four stages. Stage 1 had 264 athletes complete an open-ended questionnaire to identify emotions experienced in sport. The item pool was extended through the inclusion of additional items taken from the literature. In Stage 2 a total of 148 athletes verified the item pool while a separate sample of 49 athletes indicated the extent to which items were representative of the emotions anger, anxiety, dejection, excitement, and happiness. Stage 3 had 518 athletes complete a provisional Sport Emotion Questionnaire (SEQ) before competition. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that a 22-item and 5-fac-tor structure provided acceptable model fit. Results from Stage 4 supported the criterion validity of the SEQ. The SEQ is proposed as a valid measure of precompetitive emotion for use in sport settings.
Eldon E. Snyder
Previous studies of emotion in sport have examined team sports. The present research focuses on an individual sport—women’s collegiate gymnastics. Data were gathered during the gymnastics season of 1988-89 from 10 members of the team and its coach and trainer. The methodology included the use of photo-elicitation interviews and observations of women’s gymnastics. The emotion-work and categories of emotions described were displayed when the gymnasts were off stage, when preparing to compete, between events, and after competition. Discussion focuses on the control and management of emotions according to the “feeling rules” (i.e., the socially constructed subcultural norms of the sport). The gymnasts did display individual variations in their adherence to the feeling rules. Categories of emotion included nervousness, fear of pain and injury, frustration, and disappointment. Emotional social experiences included social psyching up and the happiness and joy associated with a successful performance. Consideration is given to some advantages and qualifications of the photo-elicitation technique.
Rich Neil, Harry C.R. Bowles, Scott Fleming and Sheldon Hanton
The purpose of the study was to conduct an in-depth examination of the stress and emotion process experienced by three sub-elite-level male cricketers over a series of five competitive performances. Using reflective diaries and follow-up semistructured interviews, the findings highlighted the impact of appraisal, coping, and emotion on performance, with perceptions of control and self-confidence emerging as variables that can influence the emotive and behavioral outcomes of a stressful transaction. Postperformance, guided athlete reflection was advanced as a valuable tool in the production and application of idiographic coping behaviors that could enhance perceptions of control and self-confidence and influence stress and emotion processes.
Mickaël Campo, Stephen Mellalieu, Claude Ferrand, Guillaume Martinent and Elisabeth Rosnet
This study systematically reviewed the literature on the emotional processes associated with performance in team contact sports. To consider the entire emotional spectrum, Lazarus’s (1999) cognitive motivational relational theory was used as a guiding framework. An electronic search of the literature identified 48 of 5,079 papers as relevant. Anxiety and anger were found to be the most common emotions studied, potentially due to the combative nature of team contact sports. The influence of group processes on emotional experiences was also prominent. The findings highlight the need to increase awareness of the emotional experience in team contact sports and to develop emotion-specific regulation strategies. Recommendations for future research include exploring other emotions that might emerge from situations related to collisions (e.g., fright) and emotions related to relationships with teammates (e.g., guilt and compassion).
Katherine A. Tamminen, Patrick Gaudreau, Carolyn E. McEwen and Peter R.E. Crocker
Efforts to regulate emotions can influence others, and interpersonal emotion regulation within teams may affect athletes’ own affective and motivational outcomes. We examined adolescent athletes’ (N = 451, N teams = 38) self- and interpersonal emotion regulation, as well as associations with peer climate, sport enjoyment, and sport commitment within a multilevel model of emotion regulation in teams. Results of multilevel Bayesian structural equation modeling showed that athletes’ self-worsening emotion regulation strategies were negatively associated with enjoyment while other-improving emotion regulation strategies were positively associated enjoyment and commitment. The team-level interpersonal emotion regulation climate and peer motivational climates were also associated with enjoyment and commitment. Team-level factors moderated some of the relationships between athletes’ emotion regulation with enjoyment and commitment. These findings extend previous research by examining interpersonal emotion regulation within teams using a multilevel approach, and they demonstrate the importance of person- and team-level factors for athletes’ enjoyment and commitment.