• Examining the effects of rational emotive behavior therapy on performance outcomes in elite paralympic athletes

      Wood, Andrew G.; Barker, Jamie B.; Turner, Martin J.; Sheffield, David; Staffordshire University; University of Derby; Life Sciences and Education; Staffordshire University; Stoke-on-Trent UK; Life Sciences and Education; Staffordshire University; Stoke-on-Trent UK; Life Sciences and Education; Staffordshire University; Stoke-on-Trent UK; Life Sciences; University of Derby; Derby UK (2017-06-05)
      Traditionally a psychotherapeutic intervention, rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is receiving increasing attention within the extant literature as an intervention to enhance the athletic performance and psychological well-being of competitive athletes. Whilst the benefits of REBT on psychological health are established, less is understood about the effects on athletic performance. This study aimed to examine the immediate and maintained effects of REBT on physiological, psychological, and performance outcomes with elite Paralympic athletes. Using a single-case research design, eight athletes recruited from the same Paralympic sport (M=40.12, SD=12.99) received five, one-to-one REBT sessions. Measures of irrational beliefs were collected weekly, whereas the remaining psychological and physiological measures were collected at a pre-, post-, and at a 9-month follow-up time point. Visual and statistical analyzes of the data indicates reductions in irrational beliefs were coupled with reductions in systolic blood pressure indicative of an adaptive physiological response, improved athletic performance during competition simulations, and reductions in avoidance goals. Furthermore, social validation data indicated greater self-awareness, emotional control, and enhanced focus during competition as a result of the REBT intervention. This study contributes to growing literature supporting the efficacy of REBT as an intervention that not only facilitates psychological health but also enhances athletic performance. Results are discussed with reference to theory, limitations, and future recommendations.
    • Manipulating cardiovascular indices of challenge and threat using resource appraisals.

      Turner, Martin J.; Jones, Marc V.; Sheffield, David; Barker, Jamie B.; Coffee, Peter; Staffordshire University; University of Derby; University of Stirling (Elsevier, 2014-07-15)
      Challenge and threat reflect two distinct psychophysiological approaches to motivated performance situations. Challenge is related to superior performance in a range of tasks compared to threat, thus methods to promote challenge are valuable. In this paper we manipulate challenge and threat cardiovascular reactivity using only resource appraisals, without altering perceived task demands between challenge and threat conditions. Study 1 used a competitive throwing task and Study 2 used a physically demanding climbing task. In both studies challenge task instructions led to challenge cardiovascular reactivity and threat task instructions led to threat cardiovascular reactivity. In Study 1, participants who received challenge instructions performed better than participants who received threat instructions. In Study 2, attendance at the climbing task did not differ across groups. The findings have implications for stress management in terms of focusing on manipulating appraisals of upcoming tasks by promoting self-efficacy and perceived control and focusing on approach goals. Future research could more reliably assess the influence of similar task instructions on performance.
    • Who thrives under pressure? predicting the performance of elite academy cricketers using the cardiovascular indicators of challenge and threat states

      Turner, Martin J.; Jones, Marc V.; Sheffield, David; Slater, Matthew J.; Barker, Jamie B.; Bell, James J.; Staffordshire University, Centre for Sport, Health and Exercise Research; University of Derby, Centre for Psychological Research (2013-08)
      This study assessed whether cardiovascular (CV) reactivity patterns indexing challenge and threat states predicted batting performance in elite male county (N = 12) and national (N = 30) academy cricketers. Participants completed a batting test under pressure, before which CV reactivity was recorded in response to ego-threatening audio instructions. Self-reported self-efficacy, control, achievement goals, and emotions were also assessed. Challenge CV reactivity predicted superior performance in the Batting Test, compared with threat CV reactivity. The relationships between self-report measures and CV reactivity, and self-report measures and performance were inconsistent. A small subsample of participants who exhibited threat CV reactivity, but performed well, reported greater self-efficacy than participants who exhibited threat CV reactivity, but performed poorly. Also a small subsample of participants who exhibited challenge reactivity, but performed poorly, had higher avoidance goals than participants with challenge reactivity who performed well. The mechanisms for the observed relationship between CV reactivity and performance are discussed alongside implications for future research and applied practice.