Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Anxiety and Coping Strategies in Sport Contexts: A Look at the Psychometric Properties of Portuguese Instruments for Their Assessment

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Anxiety and Coping Strategies in Sport Contexts: A Look at the Psychometric Properties of Portuguese Instruments for Their Assessment

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of the Portuguese versions of the Sport Anxiety Scale and of the Brief COPE, as well as of the Cognitive Appraisal Scale in Sport Competition- Threat Perception, namely regarding their factor structure validity and internal consistency. Participants were 550 male and female athletes of several sports, aged 15 to 35 years old (M=19.8; SD=4.5). Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis indicated that the instruments demonstrated good psychometric properties. In general, the measurement models provided a good fit to the empirical data and with the exception of some scales of the Brief COPE, the calculated Cronbach's a coefficient of reliability indicated adequate internal consistency for the three instruments. Overall, the results of the present study provided evidence for these instruments' validity and reliability, ultimately supporting their importance for research and psychological intervention in sport contexts.

Keywords: stress, anxiety, coping, assessment, psychometric properties

El objetivo de este studio fue examinar las propiedades psicométricas de las versiones portuguesas del Sport Anxiety Scale, el Brief COPE, y el Cognitive Appraisal Scale in Sport Competition- Threat Perception, atendiendo a su validez de estructura factorial y consistencia interna. Los participantes fueron 550 atletas de ambos sexos y diversos deportes con edades entre 15 y 35 años (M=19.8; DT=4.5). Los análisis factoriales exploratorio y confirmatorio indicaron que los instrumentos mostraban buenas propiedades psicométricas. En general, los modelos de medida proporcionaron un buen ajuste a los datos empíricos y, con la excepción de algunas escalas del Brief COPE, el coeficiente de fiabilidad de Cronbach indicó una consistencia interna adecuada de los tres instrumentos. Globalmente los resultados de este estudio proporcionaron evidencia de la fiabilidad y validez de los citados instrumentos, reforzando su importancia para la investigación y la intervención psicológicas en contextos deportivos.

Palabras clave: stress, ansiedad, afrontamiento, evaluación, propiedades psicométricas

In sport contexts, the concepts of stress, anxiety, and psychological pressure are increasingly recognized as being of key importance and a large number of studies have shown the influence of these concepts on athletes' performance, regardless of sex, age or competitive level (Cruz, 1997). Traditionally, researchers' interests in this field have been largely focused in the identification of individual differences and situational components generating competitive anxiety (e.g., Jones, Swain, & Cale, 1990), but in the last decades, this attention has been transferred to other related aspects, such as the role of cognitive appraisal and coping processes in the experience of anxiety (Cruz, 1996).

On the one hand, the cognitive appraisal of threat has attracted considerable interest because the significance of what is happening for the athletes' well-being (i.e., the way athletes perceive, «see» and interpret the competitive situation) underpins stress perceptions and anxiety emotional reactions (Barbosa, 1996; Cruz, 1996; Dugdale, Eklund, & Gordon, 2002; Dunn & Nielsen, 1993; Hammermeister & Burton, 2001; Jones & Hanton, 1996; Krane, Williams, & Feltz, 1992; Lazarus, 2000). Moreover, it is increasingly accepted that the impact of anxiety on sport performance depends largely on the coping strategies athletes use to manage stressful situations (Gould, Eklund, & Jackson, 1993; Gould, Finch, & Jackson, 1993; Holt & Hogg, 2002). Depending on whether the strategies are considered adaptative and functional, or, conversely, maladaptative and dysfunctional, they can mitigate or exacerbate the impact of stress (Crocker, Kowalski, & Graham, 1998).

In order to understand, as accurately as possible, the mechanisms by which psychological factors may influence performance, the measurement of several psychological variables important to the field must resort to sport-specific measurement instruments, whose reliability and validity are well established (Marsh, 1998). …

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