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Title: Stress and coping in wheelchair sport participants
Author: Campbell, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0001 3517 3962
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 1997
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Top level sport for people with a disability is becoming more competitive, creating an environment in which the rewards for success and the disappointments associated with failure are often great. These are factors which clearly have the potential to place extreme psychological demands on sport performers with a disability. However, few investigations have specifically examined how athletes with a disability respond in highly stressful sporting situations. This thesis, therefore, reports 3 separate studies to investigate stress and coping in wheelchair sport participants. Study 1 examined pre-competition temporal patterning of anxiety and self-confidence in 103 wheelchair sport participants at 3 time periods preceding competition (1 week, 2 hours and 30 minutes before). The findings suggested that wheelchair sport participants show a similar pre-competition anxiety response to non-disabled sport participants. However, there were some differences, particularly in the reduction in self-confidence immediately prior to competition. The purpose of Study 2, therefore, was to explore possible: reasons as to why self-confidence may decrease in wheelchair sport participants" immediately prior to competition. Specifically, Study 2 considered the influence of disability status (i.e., possessing and not possessing a disability) on appraisal of a specific important competitive event, and how appraisal may be influenced by various psychosocial factors. The sample comprised of 75 wheelchair and 44 able-bodied sport participants. The findings showed that wheelchair and able-bodied sport participants had similar psychosocial resources and appraisal patterns; however, different factors predicted an important competitive event as challenging. Study 3 explored this further by investigating, via in-depth qualitative interviews, the sources of stress and coping responses in 10 elite male wheelchair basketball players. Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed in combination to enable examination of stress source characteristics (degree of challenge, threat, harm, severity, control and frequency) and coping details (effectiveness and frequency). Whilst many of the findings were similar to those previously reported for elite able-bodied figure skaters, there were some differences. These differences appeared to relate to various disability factors and also the fact that the study was unique in examining team sport participants. Furthermore, the unique nature of the study obtaining information on stress source characteristics, and effectiveness and extent of use of coping strategies, proved to be extremely useful in gaining a more in-depth understanding of the complex stress-coping process. Finally, the findings from the three studies reported in this thesis enabled a model of stress and coping for wheelchair sport participants to be developed. In summary, the studies presented used a range of methodologies to enable an in-depth understanding of stress and coping in wheelchair sport, whilst simultaneously supporting and extending previous research in the sport domain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Disability sport ; Anxiety