Competition stress and emotions in sport performers: The role of further appraisals


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Abstract

Objective:This study examined the appraisals, emotional reactions, further appraisals and behavioural responses of athletes to the performance and organizational stressors they encountered within the competition environment.Design and method:Twelve sport performers (6 elite, 6 non-elite) were interviewed with regard to the experiences that they had identified in a previous study (i.e., Mellalieu, Neil, Hanton, & Fletcher, 2009).Results and conclusions:The present findings provide insight into the transaction of athletes with their environment via their appraisals and illuminate the relationship between these initial appraisals, emotions, further appraisals, and subsequent behavior. Specifically, in some situations it was found that the appraisals and the negative emotions experienced were interpreted as debilitative for upcoming performance and, consequently, affected the athletes’ behavior due to a lack of control over these thoughts and symptoms. In contrast, examples were cited where stressors gave rise to negative appraisals and emotions, but through a further appraisal of their experience, the athletes were able to interpret the thoughts and feelings as facilitative for upcoming performance through an increase in focus and/or effort. Implications of these findings for researchers and practitioners are discussed.

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