Year of Publication

2020

Date of Thesis

10-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Exercise and Sport Sciences

Abstract

Resilience in sport is defined as “the role of mental processes and behavior in promoting personal assets and protecting an individual from the potential negative effects of stressors” (Fletcher & Sarkar, 2012, p. 675). In order for an individual to display resilience, the individual must experience adversity and then positively adapt as a result. Fletcher and Sarkar’s (2012) grounded theory approach of psychological resilience in Olympic champions concludes that as an individual encounters stressors, a positive personality is one of five psychological characteristics that influence challenge appraisal, resulting in facilitative responses (i.e., resilience). Two of the positive personality traits highlighted in sport resilience literature are optimism and hardiness. However, quantitative research exploring stressors, challenge appraisal, and personality characteristics (i.e., optimism, hardiness) as predictors of resilience in sport is limited. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between stressors, challenge appraisal, and personality characteristics (i.e., optimism, hardiness) with resilience in collegiate student-athletes. It was hypothesized that 1) stressors; 2) challenge appraisal; and 3) personality characteristics would predict resilience in student-athletes. A sample of 138 intercollegiate student-athlete participants (male n = 78; female n = 58; transgender n = 1; non-binary n = 1; MeanAge = 19.9, SDAge = 1.17) completed the Collegiate Student Athlete Life Stress Scale (Lu et al., 2012), Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (Felitti et al., 1998), Challenge and Threat in Sport Scale (Rossato et al., 2018), Life Orientation Test-Revised (Scheier et al., 1994), Dispositional Resilience Scale-15 (Bartone, 2007), and the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale-10 (Campbell-Sills & Stein, 2007). Guided by Fletcher and Sarkar’s (2012) model, a multiple hierarchical regression analysis was conducted utilizing the various psychological and demographic variables. Results revealed that the appraisal of stressors as challenges and opportunities for growth and mastery, rather than threatening, added to the prediction of resilience in collegiate student-athletes. Results also revealed the commitment dimension of hardiness added to the prediction of resilience in collegiate student-athletes. Overall, 42% of the variance associated with the resilience variable was predicted by the stressors, challenge appraisal, and personality characteristics variables examined in the present study.

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