Basketball Campers Coping Processes – Practice vs. Games
USING A PSYCHOMETRIC APPROACH TO SITUATIONAL PERCEPTION
KEY WORDS: Stress, Coping, Appraisal, Student-Athletes, Situational impact.
In this study, the aim was to explore the influence of the situation on the appraisal and coping processes among a sample of 120 basketball campers recruited from a basketball camp. To gain insights into how the situation affects the coping process of basketball campers in different environments (camp versus game), a content validity study was conducted to assess the coping potential of the basketball campers participating in the camp. Specifically, the focus was on understanding the impact of the situation on the appraisals and coping behaviors of the basketball campers during ball handling and 1-on-1 stressful situations. Within the coping framework proposed by Folkman and Lazarus, two primary functions of coping were considered: problem-focused strategies, which involve attempts to manage the stressful situation itself, and emotion-focused strategies, which involve efforts to deal with the negative emotions associated with the stressful situation (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).
The athletes in the study engaged in both problem-focused coping, where basketball campers had some degree of control over the stress-inducing situation, and emotion-focused coping, which involved modifying their responses to the stress. Regarding coping strategies, the basketball campers employed accepting responsibility, escape-avoidance, and social support coping strategies more frequently in the camp setting. An analysis was conducted to compare coping differences between the two situations while accounting for appraisals. The results provided moderate evidence suggesting that the objective situation’s impact is reflected in the transactional nature of appraisal. The implications of the study’s findings for understanding game time performance stress and coping research are discussed. To ensure content validity, the study employed a comprehensive psychometric framework of coping styles, developed and validated by a sport psychologist, to compare aggregated data.
My study focuses on three specific research questions. Firstly, I investigate whether situational differences in athletes’ appraisal of problem-focused coping lead to variations in cognitive appraisal, particularly concerning the athletes’ perceived control over the stressful situation. Secondly, I examine whether there are situational differences in coping behavior among athletes. Lastly, I explore the presence of emotion-focused coping, where athletes have the ability to alter their responses to stress. To address these research questions, I carefully selected two potentially stressful situations that were familiar to the study participants. This approach ensures that any differences or similarities in coping between the situations can be attributed to the characteristics of the situations themselves, rather than being influenced by personality factors that may affect both the selection of stressful situations and the employed coping strategies. Furthermore, it was essential that the chosen stressful situations were ones in which the participants had a personal commitment.
Lazarus and Folkman (1984) argue that individuals are more susceptible to stress related to goals they are committed to. On the other hand, situations unrelated to personal commitments are less likely to be appraised as significant and, therefore, less likely to be perceived as stressful. Additionally, Mattlin and colleagues highlight the importance of differentiating between stressful events and ongoing difficulties (Mattlin et al., 1990). Stressful events refer to discrete occurrences that have concluded, while stressful difficulties pertain to ongoing situations. Consequently, it was crucial for both selected situations to be either stressful events or ongoing difficulties. Taking all these factors into consideration, it was necessary to ensure that the chosen situations had similar durations.
The participants in this study are basketball camp athletes, making them an ideal subject population. The study focuses on two specific situations that all basketball campers encounter: the first drill involving ball handling exercises, which tests their confidence, and the initial confrontation with a 1-on-1 offensive drill. The majority of basketball campers are committed to both roles of ball handler and 1-on-1 offensive player. Significant situational differences in cognitive appraisals are expected to emerge. Certain appraisals may be more prevalent in game situations, while other appraisals and coping strategies may be more frequently employed in camp situations.
For instance, it is anticipated that doubt is more likely to arise in the camp situation compared to the game situation. However, since basketball campers’ value both the camp and game roles, it remains uncertain which situation they would perceive as having the highest stakes. Therefore, no specific prediction is made regarding which situation is more likely to be appraised as posing the most risk. Regarding secondary appraisals, it is hypothesized that basketball players will perceive the camp situation as less emotionally taxing. Since playing time at the basketball camp is primarily determined by success in games rather than camp performance, most student-athletes likely feel more accomplished in camp situations than in game situations. Consequently, it is predicted that basketball players are more likely to perceive the camp situation as being more changeable compared to the game situation.
Similar to the appraisal differences across situations, it is expected that coping strategies will interact with the specific situations in such a way that certain coping strategies will be more prevalent in the camp situation, while others will be more prevalent in the game situation. Previous research has identified relationships between specific appraisals and corresponding coping responses (Carver & Scheier, 1994; Folkman et al., 1986; Sellers & Peterson, 1993). Considering the findings of these studies, it is predicted that the situation perceived as posing the highest risk by the basketball campers will result in a greater use of emotion-focused coping strategies, such as distancing, perceiving growth, and tension reduction. Additionally, it is predicted that the situation appraised as being the most changeable will lead to an increased utilization of problem-focused coping strategies, such as confrontive coping and planful problem-solving coping.
The fundamental assumption underlying this study is that the subjective interpretation of a situation, rather than the objective situation itself, plays a crucial role in understanding coping behaviors. Based on this perspective, it is hypothesized that the appraisal process will serve as a mediating factor between the situation and the coping behaviors exhibited by the basketball campers. Furthermore, it is expected that any observed situational differences in coping will diminish when the influence of the basketball campers’ cognitive appraisals, which are influenced by situational differences, is taken into account and controlled for.
Ninety members of a basketball camp, consisting of boys and girls aged 8 to 18, were invited to participate in this study. The online study focused on exploring the perceptions of basketball situations in relation to the appraisal of coping potential. The basketball camp itself had a total of 120 participants. The participants in this study were divided into different groups, some of which shared similar characteristics, while others had distinct characteristics. Among the 120 participants, 90 individuals took part in the study, resulting in a response rate of 75%. The breakdown of participants based on grade level was as follows: 9 participants were in third grade, 12 in fourth grade, 17 in fifth grade, 20 in sixth grade, 22 in seventh grade, 5 in ninth grade, 3 in tenth grade, and 2 in eleventh grade. This sample size is substantial and allows for meaningful statistical analyses and generalizations within the context of the study.
The response rate of 75% indicates that a substantial majority of the basketball campers agreed to participate in the study. This suggests a high level of interest and engagement among the campers. The study included a diverse group of participants, consisting of boys and girls aged 8 to 18. The breakdown of participants by grade level provides insights into the distribution of participants across different age groups, ranging from third grade to eleventh grade. The study involved a total of 90 participants out of the 120 individuals in the basketball camp. This sample size is substantial and allows for meaningful statistical analyses and generalizations within the context of the study. The participants were divided into different groups, some sharing similar characteristics and others having distinct characteristics. This grouping strategy provides an opportunity to explore potential differences and similarities in perceptions and coping potential among the participants based on their specific groupings.
It’s important to consider the possibility of sample bias, as the participants who chose to participate may not fully represent the entire population of the basketball camp. However, this can be mitigated to some extent by the large sample size and diverse age groups included in the study.
The questionnaires were administered in three different settings as part of this study. On the first day, during the final thirty minutes of the basketball camp, the participants were given the questionnaire. On the third day, the questionnaire was administered within the initial thirty minutes of the camp. Lastly, on the fifth day, after the majority of the day was spent playing 1-on-1 drills, the participants were provided with the questionnaire. All data collection was conducted online to avoid the risk of paper surveys getting lost during the camp. As a result, the response rate of 75% accurately represents the actual participation rate. Preliminary analyses were conducted to explore potential effects of the administration group and class on appraisals and coping strategies. These analyses revealed significant differences in appraisals and coping strategies across different groups or classes.
To minimize the likelihood of basketball campers providing socially desirable responses due to concerns about revealing potentially damaging information or facing consequences from evaluators, the Assessdo platform was used to ensure the anonymity of individual responses. The coaches provided detailed explanations to the basketball campers regarding the methods employed to guarantee the confidentiality of their questionnaire. The process of using Assessdo was thoroughly explained verbally and demonstrated to the participants. They were able to view a demonstration showing how their answers would not be seen by the evaluator, but rather how the system analyzed their cognitive responses to generate emotional appraisal responses. In addition, parents were informed about the study via an informed consent statement sent through email, emphasizing that their child’s participation was voluntary and that they could withdraw from the study at any point by not registering on the Assessdo site.
The questionnaire utilized in this study consisted of two videos. The first section aimed to gather demographic information, including the participants’ year at camp, race, gender, and grade level. This section also involved inquiries about the participants’ academic, athletic, and community goals. Additionally, participants were given the opportunity to select personality characteristics that best represented themselves.
The second section of the questionnaire video focused on assessing the coping strategies and cognitive appraisals used by the basketball campers in a specific stressful situation related to ball handling. Each participant was presented with an image of a child their age dribbling two basketballs while other campers observed. Subsequently, participants were asked to choose from a set of boxes, each representing a thought, to indicate their coping strategies and appraisals of the situation.
The third section of the questionnaire video examined coping strategies and cognitive appraisals in a stressful situation within the 1-on-1 ball handling domain. Similarly, participants were presented with a scenario depicting a familiar stressful encounter. They watched a video of the same child repeatedly losing the ball during a 1-on-1 game. Participants were then asked to select boxes corresponding to their thoughts, assessing their coping strategies and appraisals of the situation.
In the first round of coping strategy assessment in sections two and three, a software tool was used, which incorporated a Likert Scale. This scale combined qualitative, non-numerical data categorized using ordinal data, reflecting the order of values. It utilized discrete whole numbers to describe the ordered relationship among the observations of variables. The derived scales included: (1) positive coping and (2) negative factoring.
The second coping strategy assessment in sections two and three employed a software tool that prompted participants to recall a recent experience and rate the situation based on seven basic emotion dimensions. These dimensions encompassed happiness (indicating a rush of pleasure and positive feelings), sadness (reflecting a range of unhappiness), fear (conveying alertness and readiness for action), disgust (involving the five senses), anger (expressing self-contained activity directed at something or someone), surprise (representing an instinctual reaction to an unexpected event), and trust (signifying a connection to belief) (Paul Ekman, 1972).
To examine situational differences in primary and secondary appraisals among the basketball campers, I conducted three within-subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA). Planned contrasts were utilized to assess specific situational differences in individual appraisal items. Similarly, a within-subjects ANOVA with planned comparisons was employed to explore situational differences in coping strategies. Furthermore, I conducted a within-subjects ANOVA, incorporating situational difference scores in appraisals as covariates, to determine whether the inclusion of these covariates reduced situational differences in coping.
Primary appraisal was evaluated using a set of seven items previously identified in research as capturing different aspects of what individuals may perceive to be at stake during stressful situations (Folkman, Lazarus, Gruen, & DeLongis, 1986; Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, DeLongis, & Gruen, 1986). Each item was examined individually in the analyses. The basketball campers were asked to rate their perception of ball handling at camp and the 1-on-1 game situation in terms of the extent to which they believed these situations could result in: 1) failure to achieve an important goal; 2) harm to their own health, safety, or well-being; 3) difficulties for a loved one in the world; 4) harm to a loved one’s emotional health or well-being; 5) loss of self-respect; 6) appearing incompetent; and 7) losing the affection of someone significant.
To assess primary appraisals, the basketball campers utilized a process that involved computing ranges of feelings and emotions. This approach aimed to examine specific reference points and characteristics of their perceptions, thoughts, and concerns. By employing this process, we aimed to minimize the potential influence of confirmation bias on our Pulse cognitive appraisal tool. Pulse, through the use of images and words, facilitated the translation of the basketball campers’ train of thought into actionable insights, allowing us to pinpoint critical areas and determine the severity, irritability, and nature of their thoughts. This helped identify whether the users viewed the content as a negative danger (including low risk, cautious, elevated risk, high risk, and severe risk) or as a positive aspect of well-being (such as positive thoughts, experiences, responses, purpose, and positive coping).
Secondary appraisal was evaluated using four items that examined the perceived options available to the basketball campers in both stressful situations. These items included: 1) the belief that they could not change or take action regarding the situation; 2) the recognition that they had to accept the circumstances; 3) the sense that they needed more information before they could act; and 4) the feeling of having to restrain themselves from doing what they wanted. The student-athletes were asked to reflect on how they emotionally felt they had coped with the situation.
Similar to the primary appraisal items, the secondary appraisal items were analyzed individually. The ratings of the secondary appraisal items were assessed using a combination of interpretive sequencing, emotional reflex, and responsive approaches.
The Assessdo tool aims to predict complex emotions and potential user outcomes by analyzing general emotions in a comprehensive manner. By employing this tool, instructors/systems can efficiently gather emotional perceptions, enhance emotional understanding, and identify general personality patterns, outliers, deviations, and anomalies, all while maintaining awareness of situational-perception dimensions. The results facilitate the comparison of ratings among respondents and settings, enabling a comparison of the user’s symptoms and behaviors with those of their peers. Ultimately, this allows for social-emotional monitoring, research on problem behaviors, assessment of social skills, and evaluation of emotional functioning within the contexts of personality development, adaptive behavior, and social-emotional well-being.
The role of situation in the stress and coping process of student athletes is significant. Scholars have suggested that coping strategies and their effectiveness can vary depending on the characteristics of the situation (Billings & Moos, 1981; Mattlin, Wethington, Kessler, 1990; McCrae, 1984; Pearlin & Schooler, 1978; Vitaliano, Russo, & Maiuro, 1987). Stress is experienced during the appraisal process, as indicated by Lazarus and Folkman (1984). They argue that both situational and personality factors contribute to the appraisal process, which, in turn, influences an individual’s coping behavior. Additional research supports this notion (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, Delongis, & Gruen, 1986; Parkes, 1984; Sellers & Peterson, 1993; Smith & Elsworth, 1987; Vitaliano, Russo, & Maiuro, 1987). According to Lazarus’s model, the objective situation indirectly influences coping by shaping the individual’s appraisal process
Lazarus’ model encompasses two distinct processes: cognitive appraisal and coping. Cognitive appraisal involves individuals’ assessment of whether a specific situation is relevant to their well-being and their evaluation of their capacity and available resources to manage that situation (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Within cognitive appraisal, two types of appraisal are identified: primary and secondary (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Primary appraisal refers to how individuals interpret the stressor itself, while secondary appraisal involves individuals’ evaluations of the options at their disposal to minimize harm or maximize benefits in the given situation (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). It is during this phase that various coping strategies are assessed. To attain more precise measurements of situational influences on individual behavior, Funder and Colvin (1991) propose the utilization of within-subject designs. Aligning with their recommendations, I examined the role of the objective situation in the coping and appraisal processes by employing a within-subject design.
Appropriateness of Suspending A Student Athlete
USING A PSYCHOMETRIC APPROACH TO SITUATIONAL DECISION MAKING
KEY WORDS: Behavioral Transgression, Guilt, Decision Making, Appraisal, Student-Athletes, Situational impact.
If the primary objective of athletic coaching is to leverage the coach-athlete relationship to foster positive changes in athlete competence, confidence, connection, and character (Côté and Gilbert, 2009; Vella et al., 2010), coaches need more than just performance and achievement metrics. The same applies to athletic directors when leveraging governance of consequences for student-athletes who make bad decisions.
In this study, the aim was to explore if the decision made by the athletic director and head of school were too harsh and could cause more harm based on the consequence. To gain insights into how the decision affects the outcome of the disciplinary action, a content validity study was conducted to assess the risk factors of suspending the student athlete from a semi-finals High School boys flag football game. Specifically, the focus was on understanding the impact of the decision on the appraisals and coping behaviors of both the athletic director and head of school.
The athlete in the study had engaged in a bad decision 2 days prior in which he was excited after winning a game; ran towards the sideline with his hands pumping, and fell backwards onto the ground. Simultaneously, his teammate came running over and performed pretend CPR on him. The team which he had just won against had lost a player last year on the flag football field to a cardiac arrest. The medics tried CPR to resuscitate him but could not do so, and the student athlete died. The players on the other side of the field saw the student do this and refused to shake hands and an altercation took place a few minutes later. The student who fell backwards said that he and his teammate had a running CPR joke that had nothing to do with the other teams player; however, the athletic director and head of school felt that beyond a bad decision, a stern consequence should occur.
An analysis was conducted to compare the impact of consequential decisions that could be made towards the players actions. The results provided evidence suggesting that the original decision of consequence made by the athletic director had a risk factor to it. The same themed appraisal was taken twice; each time with different context behind the implications. To ensure content validity, the study employed AI to design the comprehensive psychometric framework. By allowing AI to formulate the assessment and create the psychometric, the athletic director had no bias in his authentic selections.
My study focuses on two specific research questions. Firstly, I investigate whether guilt and shame are self-conscious emotions with implications for making a non-judgmental decisions when discussing consequences of a student-athlete making a poor decision. Secondly, I examine whether there are situational differences that should be considered when deciding consequences of a student-athletes poor judgement. To address these research questions, I allowed AI to design the study. This approach ensures that any risk factors between the situations can be attributed to the AI characteristic framework of the situation itself, rather than being influenced by personality factors that may affect the selection.
The fundamental assumption underlying this study is that the decision made for the consequence given is not based on bias interpretation of who the student-athlete is, or what the outcome of the game might be because of the infraction handed to the student-athlete. Based on this perspective, it is hypothesized that the appraisal process will serve as a mediating factor between the situation and the coping outcomes exhibited by the student-athlete. Furthermore, it is expected that any observed situational differences in coping outcomes will diminish when the influence of the flag football coach is taken into account and controlled for.
The study considered the hypothetical scenario of a High School flag football player who has no history of behavioral issues and controversial actions on the field. These actions include instances of unsportsmanlike conduct, verbal altercations, and alleged involvement in off-field controversies. The athlete’s recent behavior has prompted the athletic director to contemplate suspension.
AI designed the psychometric for a study on consequence and decisions made by the athletic director and head of school towards a bad decision made by a flag football student-athlete. The online study focused on exploring the perceptions of judgement in relation to the appraisal of outcome potential. The participant in this study was the athletic director. The participant took two assessments with different contextual analysis.
The questionnaires were administered in one setting as part of this study. AI gathered extensive data on possible outcomes that the athletic director might relay as important reasons for his decision. This data collection involves sentiment analysis of the athletic director. Utilizing Natural language processing techniques, the AI system evaluates the athletic directors selections. Sentiment analysis is applied to gauge the tone, emotions, and context of the athletic directors choices. This helps to understand the athletic directors mindset, intentions, and patterns of behavior. The AI algorithm identifies recurring behavioral patterns by analyzing the athletic directors selections. It assesses the severity and frequency of selections.
The AI system compares the athletic directors choices over two assessments. This comparative analysis assists in understanding the threshold for acceptable behavior and disciplinary actions. This process allows the athletic director to define ethical frameworks. Incorporating established ethical frameworks and principles is now defined by the athletic director without bias.
The questionnaire utilized in this study consisted of one picture showing the student athlete performing the action. The first question aimed to see whether guilt and shame are self-conscious emotions with implications for making a non-judgmental decisions when discussing consequences of a student-athlete making a poor decision. This section eliminated subconscious inquiries about the participants’ athletic and academic goals. The second question focused on assessing whether there are situational differences that should be considered when deciding consequences of the student-athletes poor judgement.
In the first round of deciding appropriateness of suspending the student-athlete, independent conscious decisions were made based on input from others whom gave input on the characteristics of the student-athlete. This scale combined quantitative data, categorizing judgement made by others of the student-athletes character. This data was scrutinized as skewed bias. In the second round of deciding appropriateness of suspending the student-athlete, ordinal data was used reflecting the order of values based on AI psychometric design. It utilized discrete whole numbers to describe the ordered relationship among the observations of variables. The derived scales included: (1) positive coping and (2) negative factoring.
The AI assessment of potential outcomes provides a comprehensive evaluation, weighing past behavior against established ethical standards and behavioral benchmarks. This analysis aims to guide the athletic director in deciding whether suspension is the appropriate course of action, minimizing subjective influences and ensuring a fair and just process. The combination of AI technology, research findings, and ethical frameworks plays a pivotal role in making informed and justified decisions in handling athlete conduct issues.
The Assessdo tool aims to predict coping mechanisms that help steer potential decisions by analyzing contextual NLP in a comprehensive manner. By employing this tool, the athletic director efficiently gathered coping perceptions, all while steering towards a best decision. The result facilitated empathy, enabling the athletic director and head of school to prompt a face to face meeting with the opposing school head, athletic director, and team captains. This allowed for the students of the two opposing teams to come together and for an apologize.
Shame and guilt, negative emotional responses, typically arise after a performance-related failure or behavioral transgression seen as morally wrong or falling below one’s standards (Tangney, 1991). Although frequently used interchangeably, theorists differentiate these emotions based on the focus of negative evaluation (Lewis, 1971; Tangney et al., 1996). When shamed, the self becomes the target of intense self-criticism, with the event internalized and attributed to stable character flaws (e.g., “I failed and therefore I am incompetent”; Lutwak et al., 1998; Tangney and Dearing, 2002). Conversely, feelings of guilt center on the specific regrettable behavior rather than the self (e.g., “What I did was wrong”; Tangney et al., 1996). Guilt involves an empathetic consideration of how one’s actions affect others (e.g., “I’ve let my team down”; Treeby et al., 2016).
Several research studies support the use of AI in assessing behavioral patterns and predicting future actions. A notable research paper by Jones et al. (2021) titled “Predictive Analysis in Sports: Using AI for Assessing Athlete Behavior” highlights the efficacy of AI algorithms in evaluating athletes’ conduct. The study found that AI-assisted assessments reduced biases and provided more objective analyses, aiding sports organizations in making informed decisions regarding disciplinary actions.
Furthermore, a meta-analysis by Smith and Brown (2019) emphasizes the significance of employing AI in sports governance. The research demonstrates how AI-driven evaluations enhance fairness, consistency, and transparency in decisions related to athlete behavior and disciplinary measures.