The assessment and examination of organizational stressors in sport performers


Organizational stressors are prevalent within competitive sport participation and can elicit a number of undesirable consequences for sport performers who encounter them if they are not sufficiently addressed. It is, therefore, imperative that psychologists have evidence-based research that can inform their understanding of the organizational stressors that sport performers encounter, so that psychologists can, ultimately, help sport performers to address such stressors. To provide such research, the purpose of this thesis was to assess and examine the organizational stressors that sport performers encounter via a series of seven related studies. Following an introduction to the thesis, Chapter Two provides a literature review of the concepts, definitions, and theories of stress, and the psychometric issues evident in organizational stressor research. Chapter Three (Study One) reports a meta-interpretation of the studies that have identified the organizational stressors encountered by sport performers, and presents the findings as a taxonomic classification. This synthesis with taxonomy illustrates the large number and wide range of organizational stressors that sport performers encounter and provides the most accurate, comprehensive, and parsimonious classification of organizational stressors to date. In addition, the findings are valid, generalizable, and applicable to a large number of sport performers of various ages, genders, nationalities, sports, and standards. In the context of the thesis, Chapter Three is of primary importance in shaping and informing the research in the later chapters. For example, Chapter Four (Studies Two to Five) describes the development and validation of an Organizational Stressor Indicator for Sport Performers (OSI-SP), which is conceptually underpinned by the findings of Study One. In Chapter Four, Study Two reports the development of the indicator via the recruitment of an expert and usability panel to assess the content validity and applicability of an initial item pool. Study Three analyses the subsequent 96 items forwarded from Study Two with exploratory factor analyses (EFAs) and the results illustrate a five-factor structure (viz. Goals and Development, Logistics and Operations, Team and Culture, Coaching, Selection) and 33 items. Using confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs), Studies Four and Five provide support for this five-factor structure. Study Five also provides evidence for the concurrent validity of the indicator and its invariance across different groups. A main conclusion of Chapter Four is that the OSI-SP is a valid and reliable measure of a comprehensive range of organizational stressors that sport performers encounter. Using this indicator, a series of multivariate analyses of covariance (MANCOVAs) were conducted in Study Six to examine sport performer’s individual demographic differences in organizational stressors. This study is reported in Chapter Five and reveals that individual demographic differences do affect the dimensions of goals and development, logistics and operations, team and culture, coaching, and selection organizational stressors. Specifically, significant differences are evident between males and females; team, individual, and team and individual based sport performers; and individuals competing at national or international, regional or university, and county or club levels. Expanding the focus from stressors to the wider stress process, Chapter Six (Study Seven) reports an investigation of the moderating effect of coping on the relationship between organizational stressors encountered in competitive sport and the outcomes that individuals experience. Multiple regression in this study indicated the following main effects: the dimensions of many organizational stressors had a main effect on negative affect; problem-focused coping had a main effect on positive and negative affect; emotion-focused coping had a main effect on negative affect; and avoidance coping had an inverse main effect on positive affect. The moderated hierarchical regression analyses conducted in this study revealed one significant interaction between emotion-focused coping and the frequency and duration of stressors on intensity of stressors; and three significant interactions between avoidance coping and the frequency and duration of stressors on positive affect. These findings provide an insight into which coping styles buffer the impact of organizational stressors at different stages of the stress process. Following this final study, Chapter Eight provides a summary of the studies presented in this thesis; a discussion of the theoretical contributions, practical implications, strengths and limitations, and future research directions; and a conclusion. Overall, this programme of research provides a greater understanding of organizational stressors and their relationships with other constructs and further components of the stress process; therefore, advancing theoretical and scientific knowledge in this area. Practically, the findings presented in this thesis can be incorporated into stress management interventions to, ultimately, address the heightened prevalence of organizational stressors in competitive sport and, in doing so, negate the undesirable consequences that they can create

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Last time updated on 26/03/2020

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