Appraisal, coping, emotion, and performance during elite fencing matches: a random coefficient regression model approach

Abstract : Understanding more about the stress process is important for the performance of athletes during stressful situations. Grounded in Lazarus’s (1991, 1999, 2000) CMRT of emotion, this study tracked longitudinally the relationships between cognitive appraisal, coping, emotions, and performance in nine elite fencers across 14 international matches (representing 619 momentary assessments) using a naturalistic, video-assisted methodology. A series of hierarchical linear modeling analyses were conducted to: (a) explore the relationships between cognitive appraisals (challenge and threat), coping strategies (task-and disengagement oriented coping), emotions (positive and negative) and objective performance; (b) ascertain whether the relationship between appraisal and emotion was mediated by coping; and (c) examine whether the relationship between appraisal and objective performance was mediated by emotion and coping. The results of the random coefficient regression models showed: (a) positive relationships between challenge appraisal, task-oriented coping, positive emotions, and performance, as well as between threat appraisal, disengagement-oriented coping and negative emotions; (b) that disengagement-oriented coping partially mediated the relationship between threat and negative emotions, whereas task-oriented coping partially mediated the relationship between challenge and positive emotions; and (c) that disengagement-oriented coping mediated the relationship between threat and performance, whereas task-oriented coping and positive emotions partially mediated the relationship between challenge and performance. As a whole, this study furthered knowledge during sport performance situations of Lazarus's (1999) claim that these psychological constructs exist within a conceptual unit. Specifically, our findings indicated that the ways these constructs are interrelated influence objective performance within competitive settings. Participating in high-stakes competition can be a very stressful experience that may have damaging effects on performance (Lazarus, 2000). Coping is a mechanism that athletes can apply to manage the stressful demands of competition and maximize performance (cognitive-motivational-relational theory (CMRT) of emotion, cognitive appraisal, coping, and emotion are intertwined in a dynamic relationship that allows individuals to continuously adjust to constantly changing contextual demands. However, at the present time, little is known about the ongoing process-like nature of the relation between the key constructs of the CMRT of emotion and performance within sport performance situations. As such, the purpose of the study was to improve understanding of the overall experience of athletes during competitive events. Specifically, this study aimed to shed light on the relationship between the constructs central to the CMRT of emotion, as experienced by athletes in matches, and performance. The CMRT of emotion (Lazarus, 1991, 1999, 2000) suggests that two forms of cognitive appraisal are associated with the coping process: primary appraisal and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal refers to evaluation of the significance of an event in relation to the person, whereas secondary appraisal represents an evaluation of the coping strategies that individuals have at their disposal. When a transaction is perceived as a condition of stress, one of four primary appraisals (i.e., harm/loss, threat, challenge , or gain/benefit) is made. This study focused specifically on threat appraisals (i.e., the possibility of future harms or losses) and challenge appraisals (i.e., evaluations of future gains or personal mastery). Emotions are generated by the evaluation a 1
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Julie Doron, Guillaume Martinent. Appraisal, coping, emotion, and performance during elite fencing matches: a random coefficient regression model approach. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, Wiley, 2016, 12, ⟨10.1177/1094428108327450⟩. ⟨hal-01579196⟩



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