Learning to cope among adolescent athletes

  • Author / Creator
    Tamminen, Katherine A.
  • The current research was designed to add to the youth sport coping literature by examining adolescent athletes’ stressor appraisals and coping and to understand the way in which athletes learn to cope. Two studies were conducted. Study one was a metastudy (Paterson, Thorne, Canam, & Jillings, 2001) of the qualitative research on stressor appraisals and coping among adolescents in sport. Following database searches, 20 studies were retained for analysis. Meta-data, meta-theory, and meta-method analyses were conducted followed by a final meta-synthesis of findings. Analyses produced four themes: contextual and dynamic stressor appraisals, contextual and dynamic coping, coping resources and processes of acquisition, and social networks as assets and liabilities. These findings highlighted the need for precise use of theory in the study of coping. There was also scope for greater methodological diversity to advance our understanding of coping among adolescent athletes. The second study examined how adolescent athletes learn to cope and the role of social agents (e.g., parents and coaches) in adolescent athletes’ acquisition of coping skills. Grounded theory methodology was used (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Interviews were conducted with 17 athletes (8 females, 9 males, Mage = 15.6 years), 10 parents (6 mothers, 4 fathers), and 7 coaches. Learning to cope was an experiential process consisting of the athlete – sport experiences and learning through trial and error, reflective practice, and coping outcomes (consistent performance, independence in coping, and persistence in coping). Learning was facilitated by athletes being exposed to multiple situations and reflecting on their coping efforts. Parents and coaches helped athletes learn to cope by creating a supportive context for learning and by using specific strategies to help athletes learn to cope. This research highlighted the importance of the social context as adolescent athletes learned to cope with stressors in sport and identified specific mechanisms by which parents and coaches influenced the development of coping among young athletes.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • 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
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dunn, John (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Given, Lisa (School of Library and Information Studies)
    • Berry, Tanya (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Spence, John (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Kowalski, Kent (University of Saskatchewan College of Kinesiology)