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Stuart Beattie, Lew Hardy and Tim Woodman

Higgins’ (1987) self-discrepancy theory holds that certain emotions occur as a result of discrepancies between pairs of psychological entities called self-guides. The present study explored self-discrepancies in self-confidence in relation to performance and cognitive anxiety. Slalom canoeists (n = 81) reported ideal, ought, and feared levels of self-confidence 3 hours before a national ranking slalom tournament. Within a half-hour of the start of the race, canoeists reported their actual self-confidence and cognitive anxiety levels. Hierarchical multiple-regression analyses revealed that self-discrepancies predicted significantly more performance variance than actual self-confidence alone. Additionally, hierarchical multiple-regression analyses revealed that, contrary to the specific predictions of self-discrepancy theory, ideal and feared discrepancies (not “ought” and “feared” discrepancies) significantly predicted cognitive anxiety. Additional findings, implications, and directions for further research into the nature of the self in sport are discussed.

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Jennifer Brunet, Catherine Sabiston, Andree Castonguay, Leah Ferguson and Natalia Bessette

The objectives of this study were to test the associations between physical self-discrepancies (actual:ideal and actual:ought) and physical activity behavior, and to examine whether motivational regulations mediate these associations using self-discrepancy (Higgins, 1987) and organismic integration (Deci & Ryan, 1985) theories as guiding frameworks. Young women (N = 205; M age = 18.87 years, SD = 1.83) completed self-report questionnaires. Main analyses involved path analysis using a polynomial regression approach, estimation of direct and indirect effects, and evaluation of response surface values. Agreement between actual and ideal (or ought) physical self-perceptions was related to physical activity both directly and indirectly as mediated by the motivational regulations (R 2 = .24–.30). Specifically, when actual and ideal self-perceptions scores were similar, physical activity levels increased as actual and ideal scores increased. Furthermore, physical activity levels were lower when the discrepancy was such that ideal or ought self were higher than actual self. These findings provide support for integrating self-discrepancy and organismic integration theories to advance research in this area.