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Title: Exploring the organizational stress process in sport performers : from theory to practice
Author: Didymus, Faye F.
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2012
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The increasing evidence of the organizational demands encountered by sports performers provides a fertile ground for research. There is now a requirement to move beyond describing the organizational stressors that performers encounter in order to understand the complex appraisal and coping processes that athletes engage in when experiencing organizational stress. This thesis aimed to conduct a detailed examination of these processes in high-level sport performers. Chapter 2 describes a narrative review of the extant appraisal literature that has examined the roles of situational and personal influences on appraising. In order to generate a detailed understanding of this literature, the review includes findings from the general, occupational, organizational, and sport psychology literatures. This review was instrumental in determining the direction of the research described in later chapters. Chapter 3 aimed to narrow the focus of the thesis to organizational stress transactions in sport performers and therefore, describes a diary study that explored swimmers appraisals of organizational stressors. The findings of this study provided insight into the complex process of appraisal and suggested that appraisals are related to the situational property of the stressor encountered. In addition, the results pointed to the importance of exploring the coping strategies that athletes use to manage organizational stressors in future research. Chapter 4 describes a narrative review of the literature that has examined athletes ways of coping with organizational stressors. Due to the limited sport psychology research in this area and in order to extend current knowledge in sport, prominent findings from the organizational and occupational psychology domains were considered. Chapter 5 was designed to extend the findings of Chapter 3 and the existing literature by examining the coping strategies that swimmers use in response to organizational stressors. This chapter highlighted the complexity of coping and suggested that appraisal mechanisms are linked to the coping family employed. Chapter 6 aimed to take a more complete approach to examining organizational stress transactions by exploring various components of stress transactions. The study presented in this chapter suggested that the appraisal an athlete makes is influential in determining the performance outcome that they will experience. Collectively, the chapters described above highlighted appraising as the pivotal element in stress transactions and established a rationale for the cognitive-behavioral based intervention that is described in Chapter 7. The study presented in Chapter 7 aimed to alleviate some of the negative outcomes of organizational stress by optimizing sport performers appraisals. The findings suggested that cognitive restructuring was a useful technique for achieving this aim. The program of research presented in this thesis suggests that appraising is the pivotal element of organizational stress transactions in sport and that appraising can be optimized in order to alleviate the negative emotional and performance outcomes of maladaptive appraisals. In addition, the research highlights the importance of considering the situational properties of stressors, the complexity of coping, and the relationships between components of stress transactions in future research. Further, the findings presented within this thesis suggest that future research should aim to make methodological and measurement advances and examine, in detail, performers appraisal and coping processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Appraising ; Appraisal ; Cognitive-behavioral therapy ; Coping ; Diaries ; Elite performance ; Emotions ; Interviews ; Organizational stress ; Single-subject design ; Situational properties ; Sport performers ; Stressors ; Performance ; Psychology ; Transactional stress theory