Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Personality Profiles of Junior Handball Players: Differences as a Function of Age, Gender, and Playing Positions

Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Personality Profiles of Junior Handball Players: Differences as a Function of Age, Gender, and Playing Positions

Article excerpt

Among sport specialists, awareness has been growing with regards to the role of personality in shaping sport performance. In competitive sports, all players and coaches seek for better performance, therefore they intend to make more efforts towards enhancing the players' achievements (Tóth, 2006). While striving for better performance, the athletes' sport performances are constantly evolving, simultaneously with the characteristics of their personality (Tóth, 2006). Literature abounds in definitions for describing personality. In this study, we subscribed to Allport's definition, which states that personality is "the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behaviors and thoughts" (Allport, 1961, p. 28). There are two views of personality characteristics: the idiographic view assumes that individuals have a unique psychological structure and that some traits can be characteristic to one individual, while the nomothetic view sees the individual as an exemplar of a population and their corresponding personality traits and behaviors (Cone, 1986).

In sport sciences, the nomothetic approach is more frequently used. Researchers with this view focus on the socio-demographics and sport characteristics of athletes', and carry out comparisons by age, gender, and sport type (e.g., Csáki et al., 2016; Géczi, 2009; Gyömbér, Lénárt, & Kovács 2013; Milavić, Grgantov, & Milić, 2013; Tóth, Géczi, & Bognár, 2011). Further research focuses on the diversity of psychological profiles and psychological characteristics as motivation, mechanisms involved in coping with stress, adaptation skills of different sportsmen by age, gender, and sport type (Bebetsos & Bebetsos, 2006; Diehm & Armatas, 2004; Kais & Raudsepp, 2005; Révész, 2008; Géczi, 2009).

Comparative research - athletes vs. non-athletes - has confirmed that sport develops personality and has a positive effect on the psychological state of athletes. For example, in one of the pioneering studies, Neumann (1957) found that athletes showed increased levels of self-confidence, helpfulness, and willpower; and their self-assessment was detected being more stable than that of non-athletes. More recently, the study conducted by Gyömbér and Kovács (2012) suggests that, compared to the less successful athletes, successful ones are characterized by the following: (1) they tend to trust themselves more and trust their own abilities; (2) external stimuli limit their performance to a smaller degree; (3) their ideas and dreams are often sport related; (4) they have more effective coping strategies with regards to stress; (5) they learn more from their mistakes, and overcome them much easier. Similarly, Gyömbér and colleagues (2013) examined athletes' personality traits and psychological profiles, and their findings showed that their personality characteristics are different as a function of their age and gender. More specifically, they found that the more experienced players achieved higher levels on the extraversion, conscientiousness, and emotional stability scales than their less experienced teammates (Gyömbér et al. 2013).

Moreover, recent investigations of athletes have confirmed several differences in their psychological profiles as a function of gender or age. In this respect, Pikó (2006) found, that women were more sociable, while men more emotionally more stable, minimizing their worries more efficiently, and having significantly fewer doubts regarding themselves. Similarly, a study conducted by Tóth (2005) yielded similar gender differences when measuring the level of anxiety. Regarding potential age-related differences, Géczi et al. (2009) reported that the members of the adult national ice hockey team attained significantly better results regarding anxiety, pressure, and worry than the younger players. Moreover, Gonzalez and Coronado's study (2011) focused on competitive anxiety and stress in young Spanish federated handball players. …

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