Volume 39 - n. 4 - October-December 2008


A qualitative examination of tennis players’ experiences of the person perception process in tennis

Matthew Rimmer *, Iain Greenlees **, Jan Graydon *, Richard Thelwell ** and Richard Buscombe ***

(*) University of Chichester, School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Chichester, UK
(**) University of Portsmouth, Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Portsmouth, UK
(***) London Metropolitan University, Department of Sport and Exercise Science, London, UK

This study sought to qualitatively examine a) the impressions that tennis players form of opponents, b) the sources of information used to form such impressions, and c) the perceived impact of initial impressions. Twelve national level tennis players completed a semi-structured interview examining their perceptions of person perception in tennis. Interview transcripts were subjected to deductive content analyses. Seventy-one raw data themes, 19 first order-themes and eight secondorder themes emerged. Participants formed impressions of their opponents’ general ability relative to themselves, impressions of opponents’ mobility and power and impressions of opponents’ mental states and characteristics. Participants used stored stimulus person information (e.g., previous encounters), present context information (e.g., peer support) and present stimulus person information (e.g., body language) when forming these impressions. In turn, impressions influenced psychological (e.g., affective) and behavioral (e.g., tactical) responses. The study indicates that athletes’ experiences of person perception resonate with existing models of person perception.

Keywords: Impression formation, Non-verbal communication, Performance expectations



Reliability and validity of the Dutch Recovery Stress Questionnaire for athletes

Esther Nederhof */**, Michel S. Brink * and Koen A.p.m. Lemmink ***

(*) Center for Human Movement Sciences and Center for Sport, Exercise and Health, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Netherlands
(**) Department of Human Physiology and Sports Medicine, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
(***) School of Sports Studies, Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, Netherlands

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the cross-cultural validity of the Recovery Stress Questionnaire for Athletes (RESTQ-sport) by analysing reliability and validity of a Dutch translation. Two studies were performed to assess test-retest reliability with a one week interval, internal consistency and factor structure. Criterion validity was assessed in the first study only, with the Profile of Mood States as a criterion measure. The test-retest reliability of the Dutch RESTQ-sport was comparable to measurements with short intervals in the original version. Internal consistency was also comparable to the original version, with higher Cronbach’s alphas at the second measurement compared to the first in both studies. Factor analyses confirmed the stress-recovery structure of the Dutch RESTQ-sport. Criterion validity was also supported. Overall, it was concluded that the Dutch RESTQsport has reliability and validity similar to the original version, which gives support to the cross-cultural usefulness of the scale. Limitations of the original RESTQsport should be kept in mind when using the translation.

Keywords: Dutch Recovery Stress Questionnaire



A cross-cultural analysis of achievement goals and self-efficacy between American and Chinese College students in Physical Education

Zan Gao *, Ping Xiang **, Louis Harrison Jr ***, Jianmin Guan **** and Yunpeng Rao *****

(*) University of Utah, Salt Lake City , USA
(**) Texas A & M University, College Station, USA
(***) University of Texas, Austin, USA
(****) University of Texas, San Antonio, USA
(*****) Jishou University, Jishou, China

This study was an initial attempt to examine the levels of college students’ achievement goals, self-efficacy, and persistence as well as the relationships between them across the American and Chinese cultures. Participants were 249 American and 298 Chinese college students who completed questionnaires assessing their achievement goals (task and ego orientation), self-efficacy, and persistence in physical education. Correlation analyses indicated that task orientation, self-efficacy, and persistence were related to one another for the American students. However, all the variables were associated with one another for the Chinese students. Regression analyses revealed task orientation and self-efficacy were positive predictors of persistence for the American students, where as self-efficacy and ego orientation emerged as positive predictors for the Chinese students. Cultural variations emerged with the American students scoring higher on task orientation and selfefficacy, but lower on ego orientation than the Chinese students.

Keywords: Cultural differences, Ego orientation, Persistence, Task orientation



Does communication mediate the athlete leadership to cohesion relationship?

James Hardy *, Mark A. Eys ** and Todd M. Loughead ***

(*) Bangor University, Wales, UK
(**) Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada
(***) University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada

Although much of the sports leadership literature has examined the coach, the present study focused on athlete leaders. The purpose of the study was to determine whether communication mediated the athlete leader dispersion to cohesion relationship. Two hundred and fifty-four Canadian university interactive team sport athletes (M = 20.57, SD = 2.04) were sampled. Athletes completed the GEQ (Carron et al., 1985), a measure of communication, and three open-ended questions allowing athletes to identify team members providing task, social, and external leadership. Using regression analyses, task leadership dispersion was negatively related to task cohesion (p < .05) and communication (p < .01). Furthermore, communication was found to be a significant mediator of the task leadership dispersion— task cohesion relationship. Findings are suggestive of a “less is more” applied implication; if the aim is task cohesive teams that communicate well, a small core of task leaders should be established.

Keywords: Group dynamics, Peer leadership, Sport teams



Heart Rate Variability as an indicator of pre-competitive arousal

Nicholas P. Murray and Thomas D. Raedeke

East Carolina University, USA

The aim of this paper was to examine heart rate variability as an indicator of pre-competitive arousal. Twenty Participants (11 males and 9 females; age: M = 20.3 years ± 2.3) engaged in a golf putting task alone in the control condition and in front of an audience in the experimental condition designed to induce arousal and anxiety. Heart rate variability (HRV), cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence were recorded immediately prior to performance in both conditions. Results demonstrated a significant increase (p < .05) in normalized low frequency band, a decrease in normalized high frequency band within the HRV component and an increase in LF/HF ratio (M = 1.05; M = 5.67), as well as a corresponding increase in cognitive and somatic anxiety between the control and experimental conditions. In addition, HRV change, cognitive anxiety change, and somatic anxiety change were significantly correlated to performance change from control to experimental session. Findings provide support for the use of HRV as a viable and convenient arousal measure.

Keywords: High Frequency, HRV, Low Frequency, Performance, SDNN, State Anxiety



Sensation seeking, affective profile, and sports behavior in the prediction of risk

RĂ©mi Ajcardi and Pierre Therme

Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Aix-Marseille 2 University, France

The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between sensation seeking, affective profile, skiing behavior, and risk perception in skiing, with a sample of French participants (N = 417). Our main hypothesis was that dispositional variables and skiing behavior predict risk perception. Hierachical multiple regressions indicated that (1) high scores on positive and negative affect scales (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) and no skiing experience predicted significantly high perceived risk (2), off-piste skiing experience predicted significantly low awareness of exposure to risk, and (3) high scores on the thrill and adventure seeking scale (Zuckerman, Eysenck, & Eysenck, 1978) predicted significantly high controllability of risk. These results are discussed mainly in relation to the literature on sensation seeking, affective profile, and risk perception, and suggest that thrill and adventure seeking, positive and negative affect, and sports behavior are involved in the cognitive appraisal of risk. The limitations of the current study are also discussed.

Keywords: Affective Profile, Risk Appraisal, Sensation Seeking, Sports Behavior