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Distancing oneself from a poor season : Divestment of athletic identity Brewer, B. W., Selby, C.L., Linder, D.E., & Petitpas, A.J. (1999)

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Presentation on theme: "Distancing oneself from a poor season : Divestment of athletic identity Brewer, B. W., Selby, C.L., Linder, D.E., & Petitpas, A.J. (1999)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Distancing oneself from a poor season : Divestment of athletic identity Brewer, B. W., Selby, C.L., Linder, D.E., & Petitpas, A.J. (1999)

2 ATHLETIC IDENTITY the degree to which an individual identifies with the athletic role (Brewer, Van Raalte and Linder 1993)

3 Introduction to journal. For many athletes, sport participation is a central – sometimes the central source of self-worth and self- definition (Brewer, Van Raalte, & Linder, 1993) Athletes can experience loss in the form of chronic competitive failure, deselection, injury, and sport career termination. Reactions to these losses may affect and be affected by athletes self-identity.*

4 Question Institutes such as UK Sport provide help for their athletes when faced with problems such as injury or retirement. This could be beneficial for athletes with high athletic identity. How do performance lifestyle programmes give athletes a greater chance of success?

5 Answers Because the programme enables athletes to cope better with problems such as injury Athletes are more likely to achieve their sporting goals as a result They also gain more confidence in preparing for life after retirement from sport

6 Previous Research. Research has shown that strong identification of the self with the athletic role is related to greater amounts of time devoted to sport participation (Cornelius, 1995; Curry and Weaner, 1987), higher levels of sport involvement and greater sport motivation (Brewer et al, 1993), lower career maturity (Murphy, Petitpas & Brewer, 1996) and better lifestyle management (Cornelius, 1995).

7 Strategies to deal with threatening self-worth situations. A number of coping strategies to deal with situations that threaten self-worth have been proposed: (Carver & Scheier, 1981, 1982 ; Hyland 1987) (1) Athletes could develop a more favourable interpretation of the situation (e.g. blaming failure on external factors) (2) Modify their aspirations to be more consistent with their actual performance (lowering their performance goals) (3) Reduce the importance of achievement in sport

8 Pre-experimental hypothesis The purpose of the investigation was to examine the possibility that athletes encountering personal loss in the form of chronic competitive failure would adjust self- identity in an attempt to psychologically distance themselves from their poor performances. It was expected that athletes who had worse-than- expected competitive seasons would report a decrement in athletic identity relative to athletes who had more favourable seasons. Patterns of identification with the athlete role would be expected to vary as a function of the sport situation.

9 Study 1 – Method. 90 members of the varsity football team at a NCAA Division 2 University in the western United States took part in the study. Participants satisfaction with their performances during the course of the season was assessed with a 7-point Likert-type scale were participants were asked to indicate how satisfied they were with the way the season had gone for them so far (the lowest rating being not at all satisfied to very satisfied)

10 Method cont. In order to support the results from the season satisfaction ratings an assistant coach rated the quality of the participants season on a similar Likert-type scale ranging from much worse than expected (1) to much better than expected (7). The AIMS questionnaire used was designed to reflect the strength and exclusivity of the students athletic identity. Results of this study were flawed due to attrition. Another study was conducted to provide more well- founded results.

11 Study 2 Study two featured more subjects (n=105), of which all were male and were competing at NCAA division 1 level Beginning of season: AIMS questionnaire End of season: AIMS + season satisfaction rating Season satisfaction required subjects to respond to the statement I was satisfied with my performance this season on a 7-point Likert-type scale: (1) Strongly disagree to (7) Strongly agree.

12 Main Findings Participants that had experienced a poor season reported a greater decrease in athletic identity in comparison to athletes who where satisfied with their performances over the course of the season. Situational factors affect the self in sport settings Backs up previous research

13 Strengths The study hypothesis was met, in that athletic identity decreased to a greater extent in participants who were not satisfied with their performances during the season in comparison to subjects satisfied with their performances. (Supports theory that athletic identity is susceptible to decline in response to loss.) Measured athletic identity effectively.

14 Weaknesses/limitations Exclusively male subjects. Both study's results were affected by attrition. Season satisfaction scales were being used for the first time and therefore could not be considered 100% reliable and results valid. From other research it is clear that as level of sporting competition nears an elite level athletic identity becomes more of an issue therefore the findings can only be taken as valid for collegiate level competition.

15 Further Research Because this study failed to identify the mechanisms responsible for reduction in athletic identity this is a potential avenue for future research. A similar mixed gender or exclusively female study could be completed so as findings in male only research are not generalised to female athletes competing at a similar level. In further research a better established index of performance satisfaction should be used.

16 Longitudinal research is needed to confirm the dynamic nature of the inferred self-regulatory process.* Research could also be conducted to determine if recommended coping strategies only serve to decrease athletic identity or if they can help an athlete to increase performance levels after a bad season. Research could also be done to see if high athletic identity is linked more to personality traits such as extraversion as opposed to introversion.*

17 Group Discussion Coping strategies such as lowering performance goals, blaming failure on external factors and reducing importance of achievement in sport have been spoken about in this paper. Do you think these coping strategies are effective for increasing performance levels after a poor season for elite athletes in particular? Can you think of better strategies for elite athletes to overcome loss in performance without decreasing athletic identity?

18 We think: If an athlete is serious about their sport, coping strategies such as lowering performance goals are not valid methods. Instead techniques such as increasing self-confidence could be more beneficial in maintaining athletic identity. Although the paper does state that such strategies may not contribute to optimal sport performance or even continued high-level sport involvement they may be an appropriate course of action for intercollegiate athletes.*

19 Questions ???


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