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Mark R. Leary

This article examines the effects of self-presentational processes on four aspects of sport and exercise: the motivation to engage in physical activity, people's choices of physical activities and the contexts in which they engage in these activities, the quality of athletic performance, and people's emotional reactions to engaging in sport and exercise.

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David E. Conroy, Robert W. Motl and Evelyn G. Hall

Self-presentation has become an increasingly popular topic in exercise and sport psychology, yet few instruments exist to measure this construct. This paper describes two validation studies conducted on the Self-Presentation in Exercise Questionnaire (SPEQ), a paper-and-pencil instrument based on Leary and Kowalski’s (1990) two-component model of impression management. The SPEQ was designed to assess impression motivation (IM) and impression construction (IC) in exercise environments. The first study employed exploratory factor analysis to reduce a pool of 125 content-representative items to a subset of 41 items forming the hypothesized two-factor model of IM and IC. In the second study, the 41 items were further reduced using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses in separate samples, and the reduced SPEQ also conformed to the IM and IC factor structure. The second study also provided initial evidence to support the convergent and discriminant validity of the SPEQ with theoretically salient constructs such as body surveillance, perceived physical ability, physical self-presentation confidence, social desirability, and social physique anxiety.

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Nina Verma, Robert C. Eklund, Calum A. Arthur, Timothy C. Howle and Ann-Marie Gibson

intervention using constructs drawn together, which have been previously identified as predictors of physical activity in adolescent samples. These include physical activity identity ( Rhodes, Kaushal, & Quinlan, 2016 ) and physical activity self-presentational motives ( Howle, Dimmock, Whipp, & Jackson, 2015b

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Erin McGowan, Harry Prapavessis and Natascha Wesch

The purpose of this study was to improve understanding of the link between self-presentational concerns and competitive anxiety. Specifically, we examined (a) associations among self-presentational concerns and competitive state anxiety dimensional symptom responses using the modified Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2; Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990) and (b) whether self-presentational concerns mediate trait–state anxiety relationships. In addressing these matters, we also examined the factor structure and composition of the Self-Presentation in Sport Questionnaire (SPSQ; Wilson & Eklund, 1998). Results showed that self-presentational concerns were positively associated with intensity and frequency dimensional symptoms and negatively associated with direction symptoms. Results also showed that self-presentational concerns demonstrated consistently higher associations with the cognitive component and the intensity symptom of the CSAI-2 state measures. Results showed no support for the notion that self-presentational concerns mediate the trait–state anxiety relationship. When examining the factor structure and composition of the SPSQ, the results from two independent athlete samples support the tenability of an abbreviated 21-item four-factor model. Thus the newly constituted scale is recommended for measuring self-presentational concerns in sport.

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Edward K. Sadalla, Darwyn E. Linder and Bradley A. Jenkins

This study was designed to explore cognitive and motivational factors that underlie preferences for particular sports. Based upon self-presentational theory, it was assumed that sports constitute a symbol system that communicates something about the participant's personality and identity. Individuals may learn to prefer those sports whose symbolism is appropriate to their desired social identity. In order to explore this premise, subjects were asked to rate the participants of five different sports (bowling, skiing, golf, tennis, motocross) on 70 personality and identity dimensions. Results indicated that stereotypes concerning the participants in each sport are widely shared, and that specific identity dimensions are associated with each sport.

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Christopher Mesagno, Jack T. Harvey and Christopher M. Janelle

Whether self-presentation is involved in the choking process remains unknown. The purpose of the current study was to determine the role of self-presentation concerns on the frequency of choking within the context of a recently proposed self-presentation model. Experienced field hockey players (N = 45) were randomly assigned to one of five groups (i.e., performance-contingent monetary incentive, video camera placebo, video camera self-presentation, audience, or combined pressure), before taking penalty strokes in low- and high-pressure phases. Results indicated that groups exposed to self-presentation manipulations experienced choking, whereas those receiving motivational pressure treatments decreased anxiety and increased performance under pressure. Furthermore, cognitive state anxiety mediated the relationship between the self-presentation group and performance. These findings provide quantitative support for the proposed self-presentation model of choking, while also holding implications for anxiety manipulations in future sport psychology research.

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Philip Wilson and Robert C. Eklund

The purpose of this investigation was to examine Leary’s (1992) contention that competitive anxiety revolves around the self-presentational implications of sport competition. Intercollegiate athletes (N = 199) completed inventories assessing competitive trait anxiety and self-presentational concerns. Principal-axis factor analysis with direct oblim rotation of self-presentational concern items produced an interpretable four-factor solution accounting for 62% of the variance. These factors were interpreted to represent self-presentational concerns about Performance/Composure Inadequacies, Appearing Fatigued/Lacking Energy, Physical Appearance, and Appearing Athletically Untalented. Correlational and structural equation modeling analyses revealed that self-presentational concern was more strongly associated with cognitive rather than somatic anxiety, and that substantial portions of variance in competitive anxiety could be accounted for by self-presentational concern variables. The results of this investigation provide support for Leary’s (1992) assertion regarding the relationship between self-presentational concern and competitive anxiety.

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Benjamin James and David Collins

A qualitative investigation was conducted to identify sources of stress and the self-presentational mechanism that may underpin them during competition. Twenty athletes described factors they perceived as stressful during competition. Content analysis revealed eight general sources of stress, including significant others, competitive anxiety and doubts, perceived readiness, and the nature of the competition (e.g., importance). Two thirds (67.3%) of all stress sources appeared to heighten the athletes’ need to present themselves in a favorable way to the audience. Factors that increased perceived likelihood of poor personal performance lowered the athletes’ ability to convey a desired image to their audience. Social evaluation and self-presentation was also identified as a general source of stress in its own right. These findings suggest that (a) these athletes were sensitive about the impressions people form of them during competition, and (b) stress responses maybe triggered by factors that primarily influence the self-presentational implications of performance.

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Stephen H. Boutcher, Lori A. Fleischer-Curtian and Scott D. Gines

This study was designed to examine the audience-pleasing and self-constructional aspects of self-presentation on perceived exertion. Subjects performed two 18-min sessions on a cycle ergometer at light, moderate, and heavy workloads, during which perceived exertion and heart rate were collected. Each subject participated in a male and female experimenter condition. Males reported significantly lower perceived exertion in the female experimenter condition at the heavy load, compared to the same load in the male experimenter condition. There were no other significant differences for males or females at any of the workloads in either condition. Responses on the Self-Monitoring Inventory were used to assign subjects to either a high or low self-construction group. Results indicated that high self-constructors recorded significantly lower perceived exertion, compared to low self-constructors, at the low and moderate workloads.

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Evan L. Frederick and Galen Clavio

The purpose of this study was to explore self-presentation among highly ranked high school football recruits on Twitter. The top 10 athletes in the ESPN 300 were selected for analysis. Specifically, an inductive thematic analysis of the athletes’ tweets was conducted using grounded theory and constant-comparative methodology. Tweets were analyzed from the beginning of the football season through national signing day on February 5. Five self-presentation categories emerged from the data analysis including the personalist, interactivist, promotionalist, culturalist, and vocationalist. Overall, the high school athletes in this study were more likely to use Twitter to engage in backstage (i.e., candid) self-presentation than front-stage (i.e., calculated) self-presentation. While these athletes did use front-stage self-presentation, the performances were characterized by a highly personalized approach to communicating. The candid nature of these athletes’ use of Twitter suggests that proactive education of how to properly use social-media platforms is essential.