The Development and Use of Self-Compassion to Cope with Adversity in Sport in Female Varsity Athletes

  • Author / Creator
    Ingstrup, Meghan S
  • Self-compassion is an emotion regulation strategy that encourages the practice of mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness. It involves understanding adverse experiences using a broader perspective, seeking connections with others, and directing kindness towards the self (Neff, 2003a) and may be an important attribute for sport performance and coping (Mosewich, Crocker, Kowalski, & DeLongis, 2013). In order to understand more about self-compassion in sport, this study addressed two research questions: (1) How do female varsity athletes with high self-compassion perceive they became self-compassionate? (2) How do these athletes approach adversity in a self-compassionate manner? One hundred and fourteen female varsity athletes completed the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003b). Ten participants (Mage = 19.9 years) with high self-compassion participated in individual semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2003; Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Analysis was verified through a member-checking interview. Results indicated that parents and personal experiences influenced the development of self-compassion. Specifically, parents provided emotional support, allowing participants to seek and receive help. Parents also taught their children to react to adversity with self-kindness, and to put their experiences into perspective. Participants also learned to be self-compassionate from their own experiences and through the observation of others’ experiences in sport. Participants used self-compassion to cope with adversity in sport by applying aspects of mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness. These findings provide insights into the development and use of self-compassion in sport, and may help inform the development of educational initiatives to promote self-compassion in young athletes.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Specialization
    • Sport Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Holt, Nick (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Mosewich, Amber (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • McHugh, Tara-Leigh (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Holt, Nick (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Sulz, Lauren (Faculty of Education)
    • Mosewich, Amber (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation)