A processual analysis of basic emotions and sources of concerns as they are lived before and after a competition

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Objectives:To examine the natural flow of (a) pre- and post-competition temporal patterns of intensity, frequency and daily mean level (a composite measure of frequency and intensity) of basic emotions and (b) frequency of reports of competition-related and competition-extraneous concerns across time.Method:The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) was used, which permits the monitoring of the spontaneous flow of daily affective and cognitive experiences in the athletes' habitual environment. Thirty-nine male elite martial artists were assessed on 12 basic emotions and concerns at five random times a day across 1 week before and 3 days after a competition. On the competition day, the participants were assessed 1 h before and immediately after the contest.Results:Different patterns of change were observed for intensity and frequency of emotions and frequency of competition-related and competition-extraneous concerns. Frequency of fear was the most reactive affective component to competition vicinity. Increased frequency of some outcome-contingent negative emotions persisted for three days post-competition. The presence of negative emotions was the lowest in the post-competition days.Conclusions:This study confirms that, for a better understanding of the process of competitive stress, monitoring of both intensity and frequency of a wide range of emotions is needed. This research area may also benefit from analysing possible psychological spill-over between sport, competition and other life domains.

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