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Chapter 6

Chapter 6-Stress and Coping in Sport and Exercise.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 3480
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 6 – Stress and Coping in Sport and Exercise THE C ONCEPT OF STRESS  Stress can represent what is often referred to as the stress response (our physiological, cognitive, affective, and behavioural reactions when faced with heavy demands) o Serves adaptive function for humans, and athletes more able to get pumped up or get adrenaline flowing to achieve peak performance when sympathetic nervous system arousal  Stress is process that links situational demands to an individual’s reactions to the outcomes of that experience o Consistent with cognitive-based models of stress that emphasize dynamic interrelationships between environment and people’s thoughts and behaviours in that environment  Stress – an experience produced through person-situation relationship that is perceived as taxing or exceeding person’s resources  Stressors – external events, forces, and situations that have the potential to be interpreted as stressful o Each athlete or exerciser might interpret situations and stressors in unique ways  Cognitive appraisal – someone’s interpretation of a situation o Primary appraisal – evaluation of what is at stake for person in a situation, depends on whether what is happening is relevant to person’s goals and whether situation is interpreted as having potential to be beneficial or harmful o Secondary appraisal –evaluation of what can be done in the situation, depends on individual’s available resources, level of perceived control, and expectations regarding hat is likely to occur in the future  Cognitive appraisal process can result in various kinds of stress o Harm/Loss – situation in which psychological damage has already been done and loss is irrevocable o Threat – anticipation of harm that might occur or is likely to occur o Challenge – interpretation of potential benefits from succeeding in a situation that presents difficult demands  Not all stress is negative and to be avoided  Selye (1993) – one of the pioneers of the stress concept of 20 century; distinguished between eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress) o Stress can be useful for performance and well-being (eustress) but at certain point becomes too high (distress) and results in various mental, emotional, and physiological limitations  We experience stress only if the situation is meaningful or important to us – if you don’t really care about what happens, then the situation will not be perceived as stressful STRESS AND EMOTION  Lazarus – suggest that the concepts of stress and emotion are similar; we can learn more about what an individual is experiencing, what a situation means to an individual, and how the individual is likely to respond by looking at the specific motion that is experienced rather than by looking at the more general concept of stress o 15 emotions identified – each is important because of core relational theme for each emotion that describes the nature of the relationship between a person and the environment  Anger – demeaning offence against me and mine  Anxiety – facing uncertain, existential threat  Fright – immediate, concrete, and overwhelming physical danger  Guilt – having transgressed moral imperative  Shame – failing to live up to an ego ideal  Sadness – having experienced an irrevocable loss  Envy – wanting what rdmeone else has and feeling deprived of it but justified in having it  Jealousy – resenting 3 party for loss of or threat to another’s affection or favour  Happiness – making reasonable progress toward the realization of a goal  Pride – enhancement of one’s ego identity by taking credit for valued object or accomplishment, either one’s own or that of someone or a group with whom one identifies  Relief – distressing goal-incongruent condition that has changed for the better or gone away  Hope – fearing the worst but yearning for better and believing the improvement is possible  Love – desiring or participation in affection, usually but not necessarily reciprocated  Gratitude – appreciating an altruistic gift that provides personal benefit  Compassion – being moved by another’s suffering and wanting to help o The emotion that is experienced depends a lot on what is at stake for the individual and his or her perceived resources to cope with the situation SOURCES OF STRESS IN SPORT  Gould & colleages – general sources of stress identified by athletes included: o Psychological concerns (competitive stress, self-doubt, losing, fear of injury, and mental readiness to perform) o Physical concerns (injury, body weight, pain, and physical inactivity) o Social concerns (negative relationships with others, lack of attention, coaching changes, and others’ expectations) o Environmental concerns (financial stress and media demands) o Career and life direction concerns  4 main categories of stressors – coaches’ communication (negative punitive coach-player interaction during training), demands of international soccer (need to adjust to the technical and tactical demands of a fast-paced international game), competitive stressors (pre-game anxiety, etc.), and distractions (fatigue from practicing twice a day during camp and opponent aggression) Types of Stressors  Acute vs. Chronic Stressors o Acute – occurs over a short period of time and is onset much more sudden o Chronic – occurs over a long period of time (ongoing harassment, relationship issues, and chronic pain)  Expected vs. Unexpected Stressors o Expected – one that an athlete plans or prepares for o Unexpected – one that is not anticipated  Dugdale & colleagues – more than 2/3 of athletes who reported stress said that the source of stress was unexpected (transportation delays, poor food, bad refereeing decisions) o Athlete’s perceived unexpected stressors to be more threatening than the expected ones, suggesting that athletes might experience more or less stress depending on the type of stress source they face  Competitive vs. Non-Competitive Stressors o Competitive – those that are experienced prior to, during, or immediately following competition (injury, poor officiating, and expectations from others) o Non-Competitive – those that are related to sport but are not directly part of an actual competition performance (dealing with media, travel, rehabilitation, team meetings)  Noblet & Gifford (2002) – reported competitive stressors (poor technique, constant pressure to perform, high performance expectations) as well as a wide variety of non-competitive stressors (job insecurity, long training session, lack of feedback, constant public scrutiny, and difficulty balancing sport with other commitments)  Important to recognize that specific sports that might have unique sources of stress  McKay & colleagues (2008) – many of the sources of strain they face are common to athletes in previous research (competitive concerns, pressure to perform, lifestyle demands, and negative aspect of interpersonal relationships) but that there are sources of strain that might be specifically relevant to track athletes (social evaluation and self- presentational concerns) o No one strain was reported by all participants in the study SELF -PRESENTATION AND E XERCISE  Leary & Kowalski (1990) – described self-presentation as “process by which individuals attempt to control the impressions others form of them” – people often concerned about impressions being formed about them by others, hence exercise can be source of self-presentational concern and stress for many people  Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2004) – Hausenblas & colleagues discussed how self-presentation can influence wide range of exercise cognitions, attitudes, and behaviours o Can also deter participation in exercise for those who doubt that they can appear attractive to others  Choices people make as to how and where they exercise, such as in public or private settings, often driven by self- presentation motives and concerns  Social anxiety is probably most common because it arises when there is desire to project a particular image to others but also doubt as to whether or not that desired image will be made successfully  SPA experienced by someone when there is a concern that physique will be negatively evaluated by others  Sabiston, Sedgwick, Crocker, Kowalski & Mack (2007) – some of the most common antecedents of SPA included social situations and events, as well as messages about appearance received from others C ONCEPT OF C OPING  If athletes or exercisers believe that they can effectively manage a situation, will be less likely to experience stress and negative emotions to begin with  Ways in which people attempt to cope with stress can affect both the level and the type of stress and emotion that they experience o If stress and emotion are experienced when a situation taxes someone’s perceived resources, then coping is the way in which he or she attempts to deal with that psychological stress and emotion  Lazarus (1991) – coping is “cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific external or internal demands (and conflicts between them) that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person”  If athletes engage in behaviours that are routine but that still help them to avoid problems, such as going to practice every day, it is not coping per se  Efforts to manage stress are constantly changing and are extremely complex  Coping depends, in part, on available coping resources and expectations o Coping efforts then must shit as the effectiveness of particular strategies become evident and as the situation itself changes over time M ICRO-AND M ACRO -ANALYTIC L EVELS OFC OPING  Micro-analytic – specific coping strategies, or families of coping strategies, that people engage in to cope with stress o Crocker & Graham (1995) – strategies assess were active coping, seeking social support for instrumental or emotional reasons, planning, denial, humour, behavioural disengagement, venting of emotion, and suppression of competing activities o Provides rich description of diversified coping repertoire of athletes and exercisers o No consistent set of micro-level coping strategies across studies. Variety of strategies is necessary in order to understand coping in different sports or situations  Limitation – knowing the specific coping strategies being used tells us little about why athletes are using those particular strategies or what goals they are t
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