• Narcissism, social anxiety and self-presentation in exercise.

      Akehurst, Sally; Thatcher, Joanne; Aberystwyth University (Elsevier, 2010-04-10)
      In an exercise setting where impression motivation might be high but self-presentation efficacy low, social anxiety is likely to occur (Schlenker & Leary, 1982). Narcissism is, however, associated with low anxiety, high confidence, and a keenness for social evaluation (Wallace, Baumeister, & Vohs, 2005) and therefore may protect exercisers from social anxiety. One hundred and sixty undergraduates (88 males and 72 females; Mage = 20.45 years, SD = 2.49 years) completed measures of narcissism, social anxiety, and self-presentation in exercise. In females, narcissism moderated the impression motivation/construction– social anxiety relationships. Findings extend our understanding of the self-presentational processes involved in exercise and, specifically, how narcissism protects individuals from experiencing high social anxiety.
    • Obsessive passion: a dependency associated with injury-related risky behaviour in dancers.

      Akehurst, Sally; Oliver, Emily J.; University of Derby; Aberystwyth University (Routledge, 2013-09-09)
      Grounded in self-determination theory, obsessive passion for an activity has been associated with increased risky behaviour and rigid persistence, both symptomatic of dependence. However, it is unknown whether obsessive passion may predict the development of dependence, and furthermore, theoretically important relationships between basic need satisfaction, passion, exercise dependence and subsequent risky behaviour have not been fully explored. A sample of 100 professional dancers (50fs; 50ms; Mage = 20.88; SD = 2.69) completed self-ratings of risk-related behaviours (doctor visits; following treatment, and warming up), passion for dance and dance dependence. Findings supported the maladaptive nature of obsessive passion in relation to risky behaviour and as predicted dance dependence mediated this relationship. Interestingly, need satisfaction was positively related to both obsessive passion and harmonious passion. Results are discussed in the light of self-determination theory and dysfunctions of obsessive passion, suggesting that professional dancers are at risk of employing maladaptive behaviours if high in obsessive passion, which may be detectable via symptoms of dance dependence.
    • Self-confidence and performance: A little self-doubt helps.

      Woodman, Tim; Akehurst, Sally; Hardy, Lew; Beattie, Stuart; Aberystwyth University; Bangor University (Elsevier, 2010-06-04)
      Objectives: To test the hypothesis that a decrease in confidence on a well-learned task will increase effort and performance. Design: A 2 (group: control, experimental) 2 (trial: practice, competition) mixed-model with repeated measures on the second factor. Method: Expert skippers’ (n ¼ 28) self-confidence was reduced via a combination of task (i.e., change of rope) and competitive demands. Performance was the number of skips in a 1-min period. On-task effort was measured via the verbal reaction time to an auditory probe. Results: The group trial interaction (F (1, 26) ¼ 6.73, p < .05, h2 ¼ .21) supported the hypothesis: Posthoc tests revealed a significant decrease in self-confidence and a significant improvement in performance from practice to competition for the experimental group only. No significant effort effects were revealed. Conclusions: Some self-doubt can benefit performance, which calls into question the widely accepted positive linear relationship between self-confidence and performance. As effort did not increase with decreased confidence, the precise mechanisms via which self-confidence will lead to an increase or a decrease in performance remain to be elucidated.