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Title: Effective coping mechanisms of elite ultra-endurance athletes
Author: Weekes, Karen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 5646
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2015
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Background: The compulsion to test one's endurance capacity is widespread in modern society, demonstrated for example by the increased participation rates within adventure sports (Jirasek, 2007). Psychologically based evidence within the corpus reveals that effective coping mechanisms, conducive to elite ultra-endurance athletes performance, is limited. Objectives: The aims of the thesis were four-fold. Firstly, clarification of the stressors elite endurance athletes encounter during their sporting disciplines was sought. Secondly, the study aimed to establish specific, effective coping mechanisms which these athletes implement to overcome stressors. A coping framework was then developed from the information gleaned from the gathered data. Finally, the effectiveness of specific coping mechanisms were illuminated, and the coping framework was tested for accuracy. The overall aim of the thesis is to provide performers and sports psychologists with a comprehensive framework for managing and guiding ultra-endurance based athletes. Method: A mixed methods approach was implemented. A qualitative research approach, guided by grounded theory was employed to contextualize the complexities of elite ultra-endurance athletes coping methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with an international cohort of elite, information rich specialists, specifically mountaineers (N=lO) and ultra-distance runners (N=8). Participants also completed the Athletic Skills and Coping Inventory for Sport questionnaire (ASCI-28; Smith et al., 1995). In addition, a case study was adopted to investigate the effectiveness of specific coping tools and test the accuracy of the coping model. Findings: Stressors emerged from personal (e.g., fear), organisational (e.g., social support) and competitive (e.g., opponents) sources, supporting past literature (e.g., Fletcher & Sarkar, 2012). Coping emerged from emotion (e.g., self-talk), approach (e.g., imagery), problem (e.g., goal setting) and appraisal (e.g., self-deception) based approaches. Stressors were linked to specific, effective coping mechanisms, and the benefits of contemporary coping mechanisms, such as mindfulness and meditation, were illuminated. The value of the coping framework for endurance athletes was verified. Recommendations for future research include further exploration into mindfulness as an effective coping mechanism for endurance athletes
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available