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Previous research by Biddle (1994) has shown that a great deal of attributional research has focused on athlete's performance outcomes, while only few investigations were aimed toward athlete's responses during athletic competition. In this line, Botterill and Brown (2002) suggested that athletes, and their coaches, have a weak understanding of both the nature and function of emotions experienced during competition. Therefore, performance attributions and their corresponding emotions compromise two viable areas of investigation of an athlete's competitive experience. The current study was the first to take an active (i.e., investigate real- time emotions and attributions) opposed to the traditional post-event, outcome-centered protocol investigating the attribution-affect performance linkage. Although competing under like conditions on the same courses during the season, athletes (n= 7) demonstrated subtle individual and gender-based similarities (e.g., number of identified phases) and differences (e.g., perceptions of outcome) with respect to subjectively identified performance phases (i.e., positive, positive-flat, negative, & negative flat). Positive and positive-flat performance phases elicited significantly stronger affective (i.e., arousal & pleasantness) responses than did negatively-associated phases. In addition, participants assumed greater responsibility for their performance outcomes (i.e., positive or negatively associated phases) through increased internal control and locus, while eliciting lower stability, and external control attributions; with male participants eliciting higher attributional ratings than females. Further analysis identified affect-related individualized performance zones (APZ's) and linked it to performance related attributions given by athletes, providing beneficial information for both the athlete and coach alike by forming an optimal individualized competitive profile. The research introduces an innovative process-oriented method for studying the performance-affect-attribution linkage.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Gershon Tenenbaum, Professor Directing Dissertation; David Pargman, Committee Member; Susan Losh, Committee Member; Aubrey Kent, Outside Committee Member.
Florida State University
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