Antecedents of Emotions in Elite Athletes: A Cognitive Motivational Relational Theory Perspective

Authors: Uphill, Mark A.; Jones, Marc V.

Source: Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1 March 2007, vol. 78, no. 2, pp. 79-89(11)


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Cognitive motivational relational theory suggests that cognitive appraisals or core relational themes (a composite summary of appraisal components) represent the proximal determinants of athletes' emotions. Semistructured interviews with 12 current international athletes (1 woman and 11 men) ages 19 to 37 years (M age = 27 years, SD = 6.03), representing a range of sports (badminton, golf, rugby union, athletics, archery, sailing, and snooker) explored the association between athletes' appraisals and emotions. Concurrent inductive and deductive content analyses suggested that primary and secondary appraisal components (goal relevance, goal congruence, ego-involvement, blame/credit, coping potential, future expectations) were associated with a range of emotions: anger, anxiety, guilt, happiness, pride, relief, sadness, and shame. A hierarchical content analysis provided some support for Lazarus' (1991) core relational themes. Limitations and applications of this study are discussed.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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