A LONGITUDINAL EXAMINATION OF THE STRESS AND EMOTION PROCESS
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The purpose of the current study was to provide a longitudinal examination of the stress and emotion process. Three female footballers were selected to take part in the study. Pre-match, post-match and post-training diary sheets were administered to each player upon selection and players were asked to complete the appropriately dated diary sheet on the morning of a game, during the evening following a game and after training for three competitive weekly cycles. Players also took part in a short interview at the end of each weekly cycle to discuss diary entries and to gain more detail about their stressful encounters. A content analysis of interview responses utilising both inductive and deductive methods was employed allowing for exploration of theory driven concepts as well the discovery of undiscovered patterns. Results indicated that the stressful experiences of each player changed over time, influenced by the type of initial appraisals made, the intensity of emotions, further appraisals, and the level of coping that took place. Specifically, athletes go through an adaptational process which elicits a variety of cognitive-evaluative responses at varying stages of a competitive cycle. The process of reflection instigated further appraisals and changes to the intensity of emotions over time. Lastly, self confidence and control acted as key stress buffers for athletes during their stressful encounters. Therefore, sports psychologists should educate athletes about the underlying properties of how they think, feel and behave, guiding them to become adept reflectors so that they are better equipped to deal with demands. Future research should further explore the stress and emotion process utilising longitudinal methods with a range of athletes, sports and standards, ranging from elite to novice sportsman in an attempt to further understanding and applicability of findings.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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