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Jon Hammermeister and Damon Burton

This exploratory investigation examined the value of using Lazarus’ (1991; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) stress model, (i.e., primary appraisal, secondary appraisal, and perceived coping) to identify the antecedents of cognitive and somatic state anxiety for endurance athletes. This study also assessed whether endurance athletes with qualitatively similar levels of cognitive and somatic anxiety demonstrate differential antecedent profiles. Participants were 175 triathletes, 70 distance runners, and 70 cyclists who completed stress-related questionnaires 1-2 days prior to competition and the CSAI-2 approximately one hour before competing. Results revealed that all three components of Lazarus’ stress model predicted both cognitive and somatic state anxiety better than did individual model components. Moreover, perceived threat accounted for a greater percentage of variance in cognitive and somatic anxiety than did perceived control or coping resources. Cluster analyses revealed distinct antecedent profiles for high, moderate, low, and “repressed” anxious endurance athletes, suggesting that multiple antecedent profiles may exist for highly anxious athletes in endurance sports.

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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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Christin Lang, Anna Karina Feldmeth, Serge Brand, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse and Markus Gerber

In most physical education (PE) syllabuses, promoting life skills constitutes an important educational objective. The aim of this study was to implement a coping training program (EPHECT) within regular PE and to evaluate its effects on coping and stress among vocational students. Eight classes from a vocational school were selected for study; four were allocated to the intervention group (IG) and four to the control group (CG). The study examined intervention effects between pre- and postintervention, and postintervention and 6-months follow-up. Compared with the CG, the IG showed improved coping skills from pre- to postintervention. From postintervention to follow-up, stress decreased for the IG. A path analysis suggests an indirect effect on stress perception at follow-up via improved adaptive coping skills. The findings support EPHECT as a positive contribution to the development of adaptive coping skills. The project further shows how physical educators can translate psychological theory into practice.

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Ronald E. Smith, Robert W. Schutz, Frank L. Smoll and J.T. Ptacek

Confirmatory factor analysis was used as the basis for a new form of the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory (ACSI). The ACSI-28 contains seven sport-specific subscales: Coping With Adversity, Peaking Under Pressure, Goal Setting/Mental Preparation, Concentration, Freedom From Worry, Confidence and Achievement Motivation, and Coachability. The scales can be summed to yield a Personal Coping Resources score, which is assumed to reflect a multifaceted psychological skills construct. Confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated the factorial validity of the ACSI-28, as the seven subscales conform well to the underlying factor structure for both male and female athletes. Psychometric characteristics are described, and preliminary evidence for construct and predictive validity is presented.

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Homan Lee, Janice Causgrove Dunn and Nicholas L. Holt

The purpose of this study was to explore youth sport experiences of individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Participants were 6 males (mean age = 22.7 yr) with ADHD who had played 3 or more seasons in team sports during adolescence. Following interpretive phenomenological analysis methodology, each participant completed 2 semistructured interviews. Findings showed that symptoms of ADHD hampered participants’ experiences and led to negative interpersonal and performance-related consequences. On the other hand, participants reported social and stress/energy-release benefits arising from their experiences in sport. Their experiences were therefore complex, and some findings relating to social interactions appeared contradictory (e.g., negative interpersonal experiences vs. social benefits). Supportive coaches, understanding teammates, and personal coping strategies were key factors that enabled participants to realize benefits and, to some degree, mitigate negative consequences associated with their participation in sport.

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Anne H. Laybourne, Simon Biggs and Finbarr C. Martin

One third of adults over 65 yr old fall each year. Wide-ranging consequences include fracture, reduced activity, and death. Research synthesis suggests that falls-prevention programs can be effective in reducing falls by about 20%. Strength and balance training is the most efficacious component, and the assumed method of effect is an improvement in these performance domains. There is some evidence for this, but the authors have previously proposed an alternative method, activity restriction, leading to a reduction in subsequent falls through a reduction in exposure. The aim of this study was to examine physical activity in older fallers, applying a theory of adaptation, to ascertain predictors of habitual physical activity. Referrals to hospital- and community-based exercise programs were assessed for (a) habitual walking steps and (b) coping strategies, falls self-efficacy, social support, and balance mobility. There was no average group change in physical activity. There was high interindividual variability. Two coping strategies, loss-based selection and optimization, best explained the change in physical activity between baseline and follow-up. Notwithstanding some limitations, this work suggests further use of adaptation theory in falls research. A potential application is the creation of a profiling tool to enable clinicians to better match treatment to patient.

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Leilani Madrigal, Katherine Wurst and Diane L. Gill

In this study, we explored mental toughness, injury response, and coping among female athletes in roller derby (n = 68) and collegiate rugby (n = 122). Participants completed a survey with measures of mental toughness, hardiness, optimism, coping with injury and psychological response to injury, as well as questions regarding injury status. Injured roller derby players had a more negative response to injury than injured rugby players, but did not differ on mental toughness. Mental toughness was related to approach styles of coping and negatively related to adverse psychological responses to injury. Rugby players who would play through injury reported higher mental toughness than those who would not play through injury; however, the reverse was found for roller derby players. Mental toughness is related to adaptive coping and positive injury response, but also to engaging in activity when injured, with potential detrimental effects.

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Svenja A. Wolf, Mark A. Eys, Pamela Sadler and Jens Kleinert

Athletes’ precompetitive appraisal is important because it determines emotions, which may impact performance. When part of a team, athletes perform their appraisal within a social context, and in this study we examined whether perceived team cohesion, as a characteristic of this context, related to appraisal. We asked 386 male and female intercollegiate team-sport athletes to respond to measures of cohesion and precompetitive appraisal before an in-season game. For males and females, across all teams, (a) an appraisal of increased competition importance was predicted by perceptions of higher task cohesion (individual level), better previous team performance, and a weaker opponent (team level) and (b) an appraisal of more positive prospects for coping with competitive demands was predicted by higher individual attractions to the group (individual level). Consequently, athletes who perceive their team as more cohesive likely appraise the pending competition as a challenge, which would benefit both emotions and performance.

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Jennifer M. Schumacher, Andrea J. Becker and Lenny D. Wiersma

Phenomenological interview methods were used to examine the experiences of thirteen channel swimmers (nine males and four females) with an average age of 41.08 years (SD = 10.05). All participants successfully completed an official channel crossing of 20 or more miles within the past 2 years. Analyses of the interview transcripts yielded 2,028 meaning units that were grouped into subthemes, themes, and major dimensions (e.g., Patton, 2002). The final thematic structure consisted of three major dimensions that chronicled the swimmers’ experiences including: before my channel swim, during my channel swim, and after my channel swim. This manuscript specifically focuses on the themes from within the dimension of during my channel swim, which includes the swimmers’ environmental, physical, social, and psychological experiences during the swim itself as well as the coping mechanisms that they used to succeed.

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Stephanie M. Mazerolle, Thomas G. Bowman and Carrie Fister

Context:

Athletic training majors are at risk for experiencing elevated stress, frustrations, and eventual burnout. Evidence suggests that stressors can accumulate over time, but academic standing can plausibly influence experiences with stress.

Objective:

Gain information related to coping strategies used by athletic training majors to manage their stress and frustrations to prevent burnout.

Design:

Online qualitative study.

Setting:

Athletic training programs.

Patients or Other Participants:

10 sophomores, 9 juniors, and 4 seniors completed the online questionnaire. The athletic training majors were recruited from four institutions with accredited programs.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Data were collected in March 2013 via asynchronous online interviewing via QuestionPro. All participants responded to the same set of 25 questions and data were analyzed following a general inductive approach. The questionnaire was reviewed by a peer and piloted. Multiple analyst coding was completed.

Results:

We identified an overarching theme of personal coping strategies, which athletic training majors used to manage and cope with their stressors. These strategies were simply considered outside the confines of the athletic training program itself, and included outside support networks, physical outlets, and time management skills. We acknowledged athletic training majors also employed stress-relieving strategies that were facilitated within or by the athletic training program itself. Specifically, our participants noted that they received support from peer and programmatic personnel (preceptors, faculty).

Conclusions:

Athletic training majors must develop personal strategies that can help them best alleviate their stressors, but also must have strong support in place especially within their athletic training programs. We recommend that athletic training majors reflect upon what strategies work best for them and to find hobbies and personal interests that help them de-stress and rejuvenate from their demanding workloads.