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Title: "Catching" emotions : emotion regulation in sport dyads
Author: Friesen, Andrew P.
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2013
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The purpose of the present research programme was to inform the development and subsequent delivery of an intervention to enhance interpersonal emotion regulation. Although emotion regulation has been emphasised due to its importance in explaining performance and well-being, the focus of research has predominantly been on intrapersonal emotion regulation. The present study addressed the dual-gap in research by extending research in interpersonal emotion regulation in general and developing and testing theory-led interventions for use in sport. A three-stage programme of research was set up with stage one reviewing the extant literature before proposing a social-functional approach to emotions, and in particular the Emotions As Social Information (EASI) model, as possible theoretical frameworks for use in sport. Qualitative methods were emphasised as these are particularly useful in studies seeking to identify mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of interventions. Stage two began with a narrative analysis to outline the potential social functions and consequences of emotional expressions, verbalisations, and actions in ice hockey. Two ice hockey players, each captain of their respective team, participated in semi-structured interviews. Participants described how emotions informed them of important circumstances in their environment that required attention and prepared them for such challenges at the individual level. At a dyadic level, emotions helped participants understand the emotional states and intentions of their teammates contributing toward an assessment of the extent to which they were prepared to face their challenges. At a group level, emotions helped participants lead their teammates in meeting team goals. Finally, at the cultural level, emotions helped participants maintain culture-related identities. Stage two continued with examining the processes, strategies used, and potential moderating factors in interpersonal emotion regulation among 16 ice hockey players from an English professional league. An inductive and deductive analysis revealed 22 distinct strategies used to regulate teammates' emotions. These were distinguished between strategies that were verbal or behavioural in nature. They were further distinguished between strategies employed to initiate interpersonal emotion regulation through affective and cognitive channels. Moderating factors in the interpersonal emotion regulation process were consistent with the EASI model. Stage three involved the development, delivery and assessment of the intervention. A British ice hockey team was recruited and the intervention was delivered over the course of three competitive seasons. The primary intervention goal was to improve interpersonal emotion regulation as evidenced by being able to accurately identify when an emotion regulation strategy was needed, and select and use a strategy that changed emotions in the direction and strength intended (Webb, Miles, & Sheeran, 2012). Given the link between emotion and performance, it was expected that the intervention would bring about improvements in individual and team performance. Techniques to bring about change comprised of brief contact interventions, dressing room debriefs, feedback from emotional intelligence assessments, and the practitioner managing himself as an intervention tool. The merit of the intervention was judged through practitioner reflections, social validity assessments, pre- and post-intervention measures of emotional intelligence and performance. Collectively, the present research programme contributes to the emotion regulation literature not only in sport, but also in psychology in general. A key achievement of the programme has been the development of a theoretically sound but ecologically valid intervention designed to improve the interpersonal emotion regulation skills of athletes. Although the intervention primarily catered to the needs of the current team and utilised the professional philosophy of the researcher-practitioner, the intervention provides support for enhanced performance derived from theory explaining a social-functional account of emotions. Future research might use the theory and approach to testing the theory in different sports to examine the role of each sport sub-culture on interpersonal emotion regulation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mood ; intervention ; affect ; group dynamics ; ice hockey ; cohesion ; performance ; psychology