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COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill

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Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
Lesson 21
COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT
Coping has been defined by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) as "constantly changing cognitive and behavioral
efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taking or exceeding the
resources of the person".
Coping involves a personal response on the part of the athlete to address the stress response. The athlete
feels anxious in a competitive situation and tries to use personal coping resources to reduce anxiety. The use
of various relaxations or arousal management procedures to reduce anxiety is commonly referred to as
stress management. When an athlete uses a stress management technique or any other cognitive or
behavioral intervention, this is a form of coping.
In this lecture we will focus our discussion on:
A conceptual framework for coping strategies and styles
Measurement of coping skills.
The dynamic nature of coping skill
Factors that enhance the generalizability of coping
Coping strategies used by elite athletes.
Conceptual Framework for Coping Strategies and Styles
Coping strategies are of two types: problem-focused and emotion-focused. Problem focused coping
strategies center on alleviating the environmental stimulus that is causing the stress response. For example,
in cricket, if a right handed batsman is very anxious when batting against a left-arm bowler, an appropriate
problem-focused coping strategy might be to get more experience against a left-arm bowler during practice.
Other common names for problem focused coping includes the terms "task-focused coping" and
sometimes "action focused coping."
Emotion focused coping strategies seek to regulate emotions in order to reduce or manage cognitive
distress. In the same cricket example, the batsman would focus his coping on controlling his emotions
through anxiety reduction techniques. Instead of attacking the source of the problem, through problem-
focused coping, the athlete seeks to reduce or eliminate the symptoms associated with stress.
Several authors have proposed a third coping strategy and called it "avoidance coping". Anshel and others
however, have pointed out that rather than being a coping strategy, avoidance coping is really a coping style.
Two different coping styles are identified: approach coping and avoidance coping.
Some athletes prefer an approach style of coping in which their coping preference is to address the stressful
situation directly. Conversely, some athletes prefer an avoidance style of coping, in which their preferred
coping style is to solve the problem by avoiding the problem. Avoidance coping is also referred to as
repression, disengagement, or rejection.
Based upon these four different coping strategies include:
1. Approach/problem-focused coping
2. Approach/emotion-focused coping
3. Avoidance/problem-focused coping
4. Avoidance/emotion-focused coping
Athletes cope with stress by either approaching or avoiding the situation. Within this framework, they will
either adopt an active problem-solving strategy or an emotion-focused strategy.
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Sport Psychology(psy407)
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Measurement of Coping Skill
Several different pencil-and-paper inventories have been developed to measure coping resources. Among
them are:
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Ways of Coping Checklist (WOCC) by Crocker, Folkman & Lazarus (1992)
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COPE and MCOPE instruments by Craver, Scheier and Weintraub(1989)
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Coping inventory for stressful situations (CISS) by Endler & Parker
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The Coping Style in Sport Survey (CSSS) by Anshel et al. (1990)
The Coping Style in Sport Survey (CSSS) was developed to reflect the coping styles and strategies. The
CSSS is composed of 134 items associated with seven common sports-related stressors. The athletes' task is
to indicate how she would usually respond relative to the following acute stressors:
1.
After making a physical or mental error
2.
After being criticized by the coach
3.
After observing my opponent cheat
4.
After experiencing intense pain or injury
5.
After receiving a "bad" call by an official
6.
After successful performance by an opponent
7.
After poor environmental conditions such as bad weather, poor ground/court conditions or
negative crowd reactions
The Dynamic Nature of Coping Styles and Strategies
Sport psychologists have been interested in knowing if athletes' coping strategies are dispositional in nature
or if they are consistent with a dynamic process. The dispositional hypothesis posits that athletes have a
certain learned or innate way of coping with stress-related situations. Conversely, the dynamic hypothesis
posits that athletes' coping responses are dynamic and fluid, changing from situation to situation. Research
shows that athletes utilize a dynamic as opposed to dispositional approach to coping with stress.
Applied research (Gould, Eklund & Jackson, 1993; Gould, Finch and Jackson, 1993; Park, 2000) supported
the hypothesis that coping strategies and styles are dynamic and fluid.
Factors That Enhance the Genralizability of Coping
The skills athletes acquire to deal with anxiety, low self-confidence, and other stressful sport-related
situations may generalize to other more global life situations. This means that if an athlete can learn to cope
with failure (or success) in an athletic situation, the coping skill may be transferred to another sport situation
or even a stressful nonsport situation such as illness, financial setback, loss of job or loss of friend.
In this regards, Smith (1999) identifies five different factors that can facilitate the generalizability of coping
skills to other situations. These factors are as follow:
1. Recognition of stimulus generality
Many stressful life situations are very similar to athletic situations. Recognizing the similarity and recalling
the specific coping strategy that was effective in the athletic situations will facilitate transfer of coping skill
to another situation.
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Sport Psychology(psy407)
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2. Broad application of coping skill
Some coping skills are very specific to a specific athletic situation, but others are very broad. Progressive
relaxation, for example, is a broad coping skill that should generalize to numerous sport and nonsport
situations.
3. Personal significance of coping application
A coping skill that was effective in reducing stress related to an issue of great personal significance will be
remembered. Coping skills that have proven to be personally important will generalize to other situations.
4. Internal locus of control of coping skill
When an athlete claims "ownership" of a coping skill it is more easily transferred to other situations.
5. Learned resourcefulness
Learning a specific coping skill to address a specific life stress is effective, The resourceful individual looks
for broader application of all coping skills and learning experiences.
Coping Strategies Used By Elite Athletes
Gould and colleagues (Gould, Eklund & Jackson, 1993; Gould, Finch & Jackson, 1993) studied coping
strategies reported by Olympic wrestlers and National Champion figure skaters. Thirty-nine different
themes were found and then were reduced down to four broad dimensions:
a.
Thought control strategies example, self-talk, positive thinking, thought control
b.
Attentional focus strategies example concentration control, tunnel vision
c.
Emotional control strategies example, arousal control, relaxation, visualization
d.
Behavioral strategies. Example, set routine rest, control of the environment.
All athletes use all four coping strategies. Female sportspersons utilize social support as a strategy more
often than males. Elite athletes tend to use an approach style of coping, with the majority of the strategies
being problem or action focused. All these strategies may be categorized under the heading of psychological
training, physical training and strategizing, and somatic relaxation.
References
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York: McGraw-
Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
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Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  6. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS IN COMPETITIVE SITUATIONS:Locus of Causality
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  8. FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE, Goal Setting in Sport
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  17. SITUATIONAL FACTORS RELATED TO ANXIETY AND MOOD:Type of Sport
  18. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:Emotion and Mood
  19. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:The Inverted-U Theory
  20. ALTERNATIVES TO INVERTED-U THEORY:Apterís Reversal Theory
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants