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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Coping with interpersonal sport stress in female adolescent soccer players: the role of perceived social support, cognitive appraisal, and trait social anxiety Cayley, Clare


Stress in sport is complex and can lead to a number of undesirable consequences such as burnout, performance difficulties, interpersonal problems, and injury. Lazarus’s (1991, 1999) Cognitive-Motivational-Relational model holds that stress is best understood as a transactional relationship between a person and their environment. Stress is a process which is influenced by appraisals and coping. Appraisals are influenced by personal factors as well as environmental demands and the availability of external resources. Coping involves constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage the perceived external and internal demands of a stressful situation (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). The present study examined how appraisal processes mediated (or were possibly moderated by) the effects of social anxiety and perceptions of teammate social support on how high school female soccer players thought they would cope with a hypothetical interpersonal stressor. The study also examined simple relationships among variables. The participants were 181 female high school soccer players from Greater Vancouver. The athletes first completed two questionnaires designed to measure social anxiety (Interaction Anxiousness Scale; Leary, 1983a) and perceived social support from teammates (modified Social Provisions Scale; Weiss, 1974). After reading the scenario, the athletes indicated their appraisal of threat and challenge (Stress Appraisal Measure; Peacock & Wong, 1990) and how they thought they would cope (Coping Functions Questionnaire; Kowalski & Crocker, 2001). . The initial findings indicated that challenge appraisals were moderately correlated with both emotion-focused (r = .41) and problem-focused coping (r = .51), whereas threat had a weak association with avoidance coping (r = .19). Using mediation analysis, the results indicated that challenge fully mediated the relationship between social support and emotion-focused coping, and partially mediated the relationship between social support and problem-focused coping. Threat appraisals mediated the relationship between social anxiety and avoidance coping. Contrary to hypotheses, there was no evidence that social anxiety or threat were related to emotion-focused coping. There was also no support that person variables (social anxiety, social support) moderated the effects of appraisal on coping. The findings suggest that challenge appraisals and social support were key predictors of coping with interpersonal stress in this population.

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