Re-appraising stress appraisals: The underlying properties of stress in sport


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Abstract

Objectives:The purpose of this study is to investigate the underlying properties of athletes' stressful appraisals. According to Lazarus and Folkman [(1984). Stress, appraisal and coping. New York: Springer] all meaningful situations that are appraised as stressful will include one of eight properties. These properties are: novelty, predictability, event uncertainty, imminence, duration, temporal uncertainty, ambiguity and timing in relation to the life cycle.Design:This study aimed to examine whether these underlying properties are relevant to the sporting context and if any further properties exist within this context using a qualitative interview approach.Methods:Sixteen national level trampolinists took part in interviews which focused on their most stressful competitive experience.Results:Following deductive content analysis all properties were found to have relevance to a sporting domain. Two further properties of Self and Other Comparison and Inadequate Preparation were also revealed which were proposed to be specific to a sporting context.Conclusions:Suggestions are made concerning future research to extend this line of inquiry and our understanding of stress appraisals.

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