Complexity of emotion regulation strategies in changing contexts: A study of varsity athletes

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APA Citation: 

Kucharski, B., Arend Strating, M., Ahluwalia Cameron, A., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2018) Complexity of emotion regulation strategies in changing contexts: A study of varsity athletes. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 10, 85-91.

Publication Topic: 
CBS: Conceptual
CBS: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Coping strategies Self-regulation Sport psychology Personality Stress

Research on emotion regulation has typically overlooked factors related to individual differences and situational contexts. The aim of the current study was to examine emotion regulation strategies used by 61 varsity athletes in different contexts; namely, before and after athletic competitions. Participant descriptions of pre- and post-competition emotion regulation strategies were coded using the Complexity of Emotion Regulation Scale. Participants also completed self-report questionnaires of alexithymia, difficulties in emotion regulation, emotional intensity, mental toughness, and perfectionism. The current study found that athletes tended to use more complex strategies following a disappointing game or personal performance, relative to coping with pre-competition distress. This suggests that athletes are generally able to make flexible use of a range of emotion regulation strategies in response to changing contexts and psychological demands. Selecting the right strategy for a given context is discussed as being necessary for athletes and non-athletes alike in achieving personal goals.


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