Coping Skills of NCAA Division I Field Athletes
Keywords:injury, gender, toughness
For collegiate field athletes, their ability to manage and cope with stressful situations and injuries is crucial for development in their specific events. For these athletes, the inability to mentally handle these situations may impede optimal performance and delay injury recovery but, unfortunately, is often overlooked as a component of their training. Due to limited research among field athletes, the purpose of this study was to quantify athletic and pain coping skills of NCAA Division I field athletes. Following written informed consent, 115 collegiate field athletes (46 males, 105 females; mean age 20.1 ± 1.5) completed the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory (ACSI; Smith et al., 1995), and the Sports Inventory for Pain (SIP; Meyers et al., 1992a). Data were grouped for analyses by skill level, gender, event, and injury history. MANOVAs (Wilks’ λ) indicated significant main effects across skill level (p <.004) and gender (p <.021), not by event (p <.495) or injury history (p <.207). Univariate analyses indicated that top ranked qualifiers responded significantly higher (p <.02 to p <.001) in confidence, direct coping, and total coping response, and lower in catastrophizing than non-qualifiers. Males responded significantly higher (p <.02 to p <.001) across most athletic coping skills, and lower in catastrophizing than females. This unique and comprehensive view of athletic and pain coping skills of field athletes also reflected suboptimal responses not reported in the literature. It is recommended that coaches incorporate time within their programs to conduct coping skills training involving sport psychologists familiar with field events.
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