Sérgio P. da Silva, Cornerstone University
Kylie DeWard, Cornerstone University
Grace Farrell, Cornerstone University
We studied whether the interaction between imagining poor athletic performance interacted with type of sport to evoke shame and guilt in female athletes.
Sixty-nine female athletes participating in non-lean-focused (soccer, softball, and dart-throwing, n = 52) and lean-focused sports (track and cross-country, n = 17) were randomly assigned either to imagine themselves performing well or poorly in their sports. We administered the Body and Appearance Self-Conscious Emotions Scale (BASES) immediately after the performance imagery task. Imagery of poor performance elicited significantly higher shame than imagery of good performance, but only for athletes in the lean sports. The interaction between performance imagery and type of sport was non-significant but marginal. Results for guilt were not statistically significant.
Describe the effect of performance on shame of female athletes.
Describe the interaction between performance and sport type on shame of female athletes.
Articulate one strategy to teach coping strategies to female athletes, especially in lean-focused sports, focusing specifically on re-framing shame-eliciting cognition.
Hear it from the author:
In this experiment we recruited 69 women who were collegiate athletes in two types of sports: 52 were enrolled in sports that focus on leanness, such as track and cross-country, and 17 were enrolled in sports that do not focus on leanness, such as soccer, softball, and throwing.
We further assigned these groups randomly into two conditions. In one condition we asked participants to imagine themselves experiencing a satisfactory performance, and the other a non-satisfactory performance, in their sport. They received the Body and Appearance Self-Conscious Emotions Scale before and after they imagined their performance.
The main results showed that athletes in sports that focus on leanness, who imagined a non-satisfactory performance, reported a significantly higher level of shame about their body than those who imagined a satisfactory performance. We did not observe the same effect in the non-leanness-focused group.
This effect suggests that female students who are enrolled in sports associated with low body mass, may benefit from strengths-based coaching that fosters emotional positivity and authentic (or secure) pride.
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