Peter Crocker


Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2020)
Older women and physical activity: perceptions of changing body function, health, and appearance (2017)

Women’s body image may be influenced by the changes to body functioning, health, and appearance they face as they age. Body image has been associated with physical activity engagement, life satisfaction, and eating behaviours. To advance understanding of older women’s body image, three studies were conducted using interviews with physically active women aged 65 to 94, adopting interpretive and narrative constructionist approaches. Study one explored how women perceived, experienced, and coped with their aging bodies, and examined their perceptions of the utility of self-compassion for the management of aging body-related changes. Participants were accepting yet critical of the physical changes accompanying aging. They engaged in activity and healthy eating to maintain their body’s functioning and health, and used exercise, diet, and aesthetic strategies to maintain their appearances. Self-compassion for the aging body was viewed as idealistic and contextual. Study two explored the emotions in women’s aging body and physical activity stories. The cultural narrative of decline associating later life with deteriorating health and dependence influenced the women’s experiences in the physical domain. The participants were anxious about body decline. Body-related shame and guilt permeated their stories; they were frustrated with body changes and with their inabilities to engage in certain activities. The women concurrently told stories of body and physical activity-related pride to reassure themselves and others that they were taking responsibility for their health. Study three explored the stories of aging recounted by a 75-year-old woman, which were permeated by narratives of acceptance and resistance. Annabelle accepted yet attempted to slow body decline while facing breast cancer, widowhood, retirement, and ageism. These experiences elicited body shame, sadness, self-pity, anger, anxiety, and pride, and were coped with using cognitive reframing, community engagement, appearance management strategies, and end of life preparations. Overall, these dissertation findings contribute to our understanding of the multidimensionality of body image by drawing attention to the cognitions, emotions, and behaviours involved in how older women perceive and cope with changes to body functioning, health, and appearance. The findings also highlight the role of cultural age and body norms in shaping later life experiences in the physical domain.

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Team Selection Transition Processes in Competitive Sport (2016)

Team selection processes are an inherent part of high performance sport and may impact athletes’ sport engagement and psychological adjustment (Samuel & Tenenbaum, 2011a). The purpose of this program of research was to advance understanding of high performance developmental and elite athletes’ experiences with significant team selection processes. Two prospective-longitudinal studies were conducted to achieve this objective. The first study examined how elite athletes negotiated the 2012 Olympic team selection process from an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis perspective (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009). Three primary themes emerged from analysis of the interviews including the Olympic goal, navigating the Olympic team selection process, and moving on from the Olympics. Results suggested that participants organized their athletic and vocational endeavours around their goal of being selected to compete in the Olympic Games, demonstrating significant investment and sacrifice. To cope with non-selection, athletes reappraised where the 2012 Olympic Games fit within their athletic careers, engaged in new and meaningful athletic, social, and vocational goals, and emphasized the prominence of social and vocational identities unrelated to sport. Study two examined how stress and adaptational processes were impacted by the 2013 Canada Summer Games (CSG) selection process. Multilevel modeling was employed to investigate changes in cognitive appraisals, emotions, coping, sport engagement, athletic goal progress, and life satisfaction in relation to athletes’ CSG selection status. Findings suggested that the CSG tryout had a meaningful impact on athletes as evidenced by changes in emotions, cognitive appraisals, and athletic goal progress in relation to their selection status. However, the CSG selection process did not affect athletes’ sport engagement or life satisfaction. Collectively, results from both studies indicated that athletes reappraised selection processes over time and varied in their emotional responses to team tryouts, highlighting the importance of investigating intrapersonal change and interpersonal differences associated with team selection events. Findings also suggested that the stage of sport career influenced the meaning athletes attached to specific selection processes and the degree to which these events influenced their life as a whole.

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Psychological need satisfaction in physical activity: Implications for well-being and physical activity behaviour (2013)

Within Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2002) the satisfaction of competence, autonomy, and relatedness needs are thought to directly predict psychological well-being and behavioural outcomes (Deci & Ryan, 2000). The purpose of this program of research was to examine the role of psychological need satisfaction in association with psychological well-being and physical activity in participants drawn from the general population. Study 1 examined aspects of score validity and reliability for an instrument modified to assess psychological need satisfaction in physical activity contexts. Results of this investigation supported the merit of the modified instrument for use in the general population. Study 2 supported a sequence based on 3 mini-theories within SDT wherein changes in relative intrinsic goals → changes in motivation → psychological need satisfaction → changes in well-being and physical activity behaviour over 6 months. Examination of the indirect effects highlighted the role of psychological need satisfaction as potential mediators within this sequence of SDT. Next, a randomized controlled trial was conducted to examine the effect of a best possible physical activity self writing intervention on outcomes such as psychological need satisfaction, exercise self-schema, well-being, and physical activity behaviour. Study 3 was conducted using baseline data from the intervention to examine the indirect effect of psychological need satisfaction in the relationship between exercise self-schema and well-being/physical activity. Results from study 3 suggested that satisfaction of all 3 psychological needs mediated the link between descriptive exercise self-schema and well-being and that competence produced an indirect effect between descriptive exercise self-schema and physical activity. Results from the intervention investigation (study 4) revealed that a once a week writing intervention over 4 weeks increased participants’ positive affect at post-test relative to the control group; however, the intervention was largely unsuccessful at increasing psychological need satisfaction, exercise self-schema, well-being and physical activity across post-test and 1-month follow-up. Taken together, the results from the four studies in this program of research highlight the salience of psychological need satisfaction in physical activity contexts and their potential mediational role between antecedents such as goals, motivation, and self-schema and consequences such as well-being and physical activity.

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Self-compassion as a resource to manage stress in women athletes (2013)

Competitive sport presents unique issues that can create a variety of demands on athletes.The purpose of this dissertation was to further understanding of self-compassion in womenathletes managing challenging situations in sport. Key focuses included the fit of selfcompassionwithin the stress and coping process, relation of self-compassion with sport-relevantvariables, and self-compassion intervention effectiveness with women athletes. Three studiesworked towards accomplishing this objective. The first study took a phenomenologicalorientation to explore women athletes’ experiences with setbacks and accompanying copingresponses, including the role of self-compassion. Thematic analysis revealed poor performance,performance plateau, and injury were common setback experiences. Managing setbacksinvolved having a positive approach, managing self-criticism, using social support, and strivingfor balance. Results suggested fostering self-compassionate perspectives may positively add tocoping skills resources through targeting issues the athletes identified as challenging, such asrumination and self-criticism in pursuit of perfection. Given these issues, and the conceptuallinks to coping expressed in the initial study, a second prospective study examined the relationsbetween self-compassion, perfectionism, and the stress and coping process. Self-compassionwas negatively related to social evaluative aspects of perfectionism, threat appraisal, avoidancecoping, and negative affect, and positively related to control appraisal. Though no support wasfound for self-compassion as a moderator variable in the relation between goal progress anddifferent aspects of the stress and coping process, results indicated that both goal progress andself-compassion were important individual predictors of the stress process. These resultsstrengthen self-compassion’s theoretical and empirical connection to evaluative processes andcoping in athletes. The third study evaluated a self-compassion intervention consisting of psychoeducation and writing components designed to promote self-compassionate mind-frameswhen dealing with difficult events. The self-compassion intervention was successful, resulting inhigher levels of self-compassion, and lower levels of state self-criticism, state rumination, andconcern over mistakes in a group of varsity women athletes, compared to an attention controlgroup. The intervention supported the use of self-compassion to help women athletes managestress. Overall, this dissertation provides support for the utility of self-compassion in sport as aresource for women athletes.

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Stress and well-being in breast cancer survivors: the influence of personality, socio-demographics, cancer-related characteristics, and physical activity levels (2010)

No abstract available.

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
"There's more to life than sport": athletes' experiences coping with concussions (2018)

Sport-related concussions are emerging as a growing health concern, with the documented occurrence doubling over the last decade (Mrazik et al., 2016). Concussions in sport are often accompanied by a negative emotional experience (Elbin at al., 2014). One key to successfully overcoming concussions is an ability to cope with emotions associated with them (Hutchison et al., 2009). A thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 13 student-athletes (5 men, 8 women) was employed to investigate how athletes cope with and appraise the emotional experience of concussions in the Canadian varsity sport context. Four main themes were identified. Firstly, participants appraised their concussion as unique, emphasizing the individuality of the injury. Concussion was viewed as challenging due to limitations as a result of symptoms, timing of the injury and a difficult emotional experience in comparison to other sport-related injuries. Secondly, the team culture of playing through pain and injury influenced how participants viewed their concussion. Participants felt they had to accept this culture in order to be a successful athlete as injury is a sign of weakness and should therefore be viewed as part of the sport experience. Thirdly, participants described distractive coping as a way to manage their injury. By continuing to be active in life, participants felt they were able to overcome their concussion, which lead to a positive reappraisal of their injury where they began to see it as an opportunity for growth in their lives. Finally, participants described the challenge of navigating their concussion recovery with limited information provided and available to them. Misunderstanding of their injury both by themselves and others resulted in feelings of loneliness and isolation. Thus, participants relied on the support of others who had experienced concussion to help them understand their injury and cope with it. Findings suggest that concussion recovery is challenging, and perception of this experience is influenced by the existent sport culture. Emotional experience of concussion is an important consideration in both concussion recovery and treatment at all levels of sport.

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Examining conditioned pain modulation in non-elite and elite rock climbers: the influence of pain coping strategies and cognitive appraisal (2018)

The physical demands of rock climbing combined with climber’s verbal reports suggest that this sport requires participants to cope with pain. Recent athlete pain studies have used Conditioned Pain Modulation (CPM), a measure of pain that quantifies the amount that one painful sensation downregulates other painful sensations. This research has focused on traditional-sport athletes such as runners and has neglected adventure sport athletes such as climbers. Furthermore, the influence of pain coping strategies and appraisals on CPM have not been clarified. This study examined how elite and novice climbers experience, cope with, and appraise pain by examining CPM in a laboratory test. In addition, coping and appraisals for the pain during the CPM test were compared to coping and appraisals of a recent painful climb to examine if the situations elicited similar responses. Elite climbers (n=27) demonstrated higher CPM (p<.01 and="" higher="" baseline="" pain="" tolerance="" than="" novice="" climbers="" reported="" using="" distraction="" coping="" strategies="" elite="" in="" both="" the="" cpm="" test="" during="" a="" recent="" painful="" climb="" more="" control="" over="" despite="" group="" differences="" was="" not="" linearly="" correlated="" to="" cpm.="" intraclass="" correlation="" analysis="" showed="" that="" most="" appraisals="" were="" moderately="" highly="" across="" two="" conditions="" suggesting="" similarities="" how="" appraised="" coped="" with="" climbing.="" results="" suggest="" have="" better="" non-elite="" climbers.="" however="" role="" of="" unclear.="" future="" research="" should="" consider="" longitudinal="" studies="" examine="" factors="" lead="" an="" climber="" as="" well="" examining="" all="" skill="" levels="" elucidate="" link="" between="" stress="" process="" rock="">
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Exploring elite women athletes' lived experiences of self-compassion and mental toughness (2017)

Self-compassion and mental toughness may be critical for women athletes coping with sport-related adversity. However, their relationship is not well understood. While self-compassion entails being kind, accepting and understanding towards the self, mental toughness can encourage self-judgement and harsh self-criticism. The objective of this study was to explore how elite level women athletes perceived and experienced mental toughness and self-compassion and their compatibility in the pursuit of athletic success and stress management. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven participants (14 interviews). Interviews were transcribed and an abductive thematic analysis was performed. Four overarching themes were identified. First, the role of adversity in athletic success. Participants acknowledged adversity as critical to their growth and development as athletes. Second, mental toughness is critical for coping in sport. Participants experienced mental toughness through perseverance, presence, perspective and preparation, and perceived mental toughness as critical to stress management and athletic success. Third, self-compassion is critical for coping in sport. Although participants were previously uneducated about self-compassion, they reported using self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness and acknowledged self-compassion as critical for coping in sport. Fourth, self-compassion and mental toughness are compatible. Participants acknowledged the joint contributions of being both self-critical and self-kind; neither being more important than the other, rather, an effective balance depended on the timing, the situation and the meaning it held for each individual athlete. Findings also suggest that self-compassion is key in building mental toughness. Without self-compassion, participants reported that they would not be able to move forward after facing adversity or shift into a mentally tough mindset. Finally, findings suggest that mindfulness is a key component of both self-compassion and mental toughness, and may be the link between the compatible use of self-compassion and mental toughness. Participants reported that their ability to remain present, objective, non-attached and non-judgemental in the face of sport-related adversity was critical for the utility of both self-compassion and mental toughness. Overall, the current research demonstrates that self-compassion and mindfulness are worthy of investigating in elite women athletes, particularly with regards to their utility in coping with sport-related adversity and achieving a mentally tough mindset. 

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The Passion-Aggression Relationship: Testing Mediational Effects of Moral Diengagement and Role-Identity Salience in Competitive Male Ice Hockey (2015)

The purpose of the present study was to test if harmonious and obsessive passion are predictors of aggressive behavior in competitive male ice hockey. It also examined whether moral disengagement and role-identity salience acted as mediators in the passion-aggression relationship. Based on the dualistic model of passion, harmonious passion is associated with more adaptive sport outcomes while obsessive passion is associated with more maladaptive sport outcomes (Vallerand, 2010). Since there is controversy about how to conceptualize aggression, the study measured reactive, instrumental, sanctioned and unsanctioned aggression. The participants were 77 competitive youth male ice hockey players (mean age = 16.54). The instrumental aggression scale had poor reliability and was dropped from analysis. Regression analysis found that obsessive passion was a predictor of reactive aggression (b = .385, p ≤ .001); harmonious passion was not a significant predictor (b = -.240, p = 070). These results supported previous work in sport. Mediation analysis using bootstrapping procedures (Hayes, 2013), however, did provide evidence that moral disengagement is not a mediator in the obsessive passion-reactive aggression relationship, or in the harmonious passion-reactive aggression relationship. Role-identity salience was not a significant mediator in the obsessive passion-reactive aggression relationship (95% BcCI [-.0340, .0931]), but did appear to mediate the harmonious passion-reactive aggression relationship (95% BcCI [.0020, .2019]). Sanctioned and unsanctioned aggression were exploratory variables, tested to assess their application in a sport context. Due to undesirable measurement properties, sanctioned aggression was only examined through Spearman’s rho correlations; these showed that sanctioned aggression was related to harmonious passion, moral disengagement, and role-identity salience. Unsanctioned aggression was not significantly related to either types of passion. Mediation analysis indicated that role-identity salience (95% BcCI [.0060, .1560]), but not moral disengagement (95% BcCI [-.1113, .0890]), mediated the harmonious passion-unsanctioned aggression relationship. There was no evidence of meditation effects for obsessive passion-unsanctioned aggression relationship. The findings regarding sanctioned and unsanctioned aggression support its application in a competitive sport context. Overall, passion-aggression relationships were inconsistent although there was evidence that role-identity salience may play a role in understanding aggression in sport.

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Experiences and perceptions of the athletic and social body: an exploration of dual identities in collegiate female basketball players (2014)

Female athletes who participate in sports that require body size, strength, and physicality may experience body dissatisfaction due to discrepancies between their bodies and idealized bodies of non-athlete women (Krane et al., 2004). The purpose of this study was to qualitatively examine the body-related experiences of collegiate female basketball players, as well as explore the extent to which their body perceptions were related to their student-athlete identities. Six participants from a women’s university basketball team were interviewed near the end of the 2013-2014 season. Data was analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results demonstrated the efficacy of studying female-athlete identity and body image together. Participants who had strong and exclusive athletic identities experienced more extensive body dissatisfaction than participants with more diverse identities. This may have been related to increased pressure for the body to serve as a physical representation of their athleticism. Findings also demonstrated the utility of the bicultural identity integration framework (Benet-Martínez & Haritatos, 2005; Benet-Martínez et al., 2002) for studying identity integration among female athletes. Some participants perceived their participation in basketball as contradictory to femininity and discussed their athletic and feminine identities as separate parts of their overall self. In contrast, other participants discussed their identification with an athletic femininity that was more compatible with their participation in sport. Differences in participants understanding of their athletic and feminine identities were reflected in their efforts to ‘do femininity’ (West & Zimmerman, 1987) in sport and non-sport settings. Regardless of the status of their athletic and feminine identities, participants demonstrated conformity to hegemonic notions of femininity; they expressed a certain amount of body satisfaction associated with the instrumental capabilities of their bodies, but for all participants that satisfaction was coupled with the desire for body change that would increase compliance with a lean and toned female body ideal. Findings contribute to existing research exploring female athlete identity and body image, and highlight the need for future research examining the effect of identity integration on the body-related experiences of female athletes.

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Longitudinal investigation of the role of coping on the relationship between dimensions of perfectionism and athletic burnout in sport (2014)

Perfectionism in athletes is a personality disposition that influences cognitive processes and behaviour (Hall, Hill, & Appleton, 2012). Perfectionism involves two dimensions: personal standards perfectionism (PSP) and evaluative concerns perfectionism (ECP). These dimensions are typically associated with positive and negative outcomes, respectively (Gotwals, Stoeber, Dunn, & Stoll, 2012). Perfectionism has shown important relationships with athlete burnout (Hill, 2013), a psychological symptom that involves emotional and physical exhaustion, perceived reduced accomplishment, and sport devaluation (Raedeke, 1997). One mechanism that is thought to influence the perfectionism-burnout relationship is coping. Cross-sectional research has found that task-oriented coping (TOC) is typically positively associated with PSP and negatively associated with burnout whereas disengagement oriented coping (DOC) is associated negatively with PSP and positively with ECP and burnout (Hill, Hall, & Appleton, 2010a). The purpose of this study was to investigate the mediation effect of coping strategies on the relationship between dimensions of perfectionism and burnout over the course of an athletic season. University level varsity athletes (nfemale = 90; nmale = 35) participated in a longitudinal study involving four time points, each approximately 4-5 weeks apart. The findings revealed that PSP was a negative predictor of burnout whereas ECP was a positive predictor of athletic burnout. Mediation analyses at the within- and between-individual level supported the mediation effect of DOC on the relationship between ECP and burnout and the mediation effect of TOC on the relationship between PSP and burnout. Secondary longitudinal analyses revealed linear decrease in burnout and TOC over a four month period. Quadratic growth models accounted for the change in PSP and DOC during the athletic season. Finally, test of the 2 x 2 model of dispositional perfectionism (Gaudreau & Thompson, 2010) indicated that pure PSP was associated with lower burnout than non-perfectionism, pure ECP was linked with the highest burnout level, and mixed perfectionism was associated with higher burnout than pure PSP. The results revealed consistent relationships between perfectionism, coping, and burnout over time. Overall the study highlighted the role of coping in the relationship between dimensions of perfectionism and athletic burnout.

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Examining a model of self-conscious emotions: the relationship of physical self-perception and shame and guilt proneness with appraisals in the experience of body-related shame and guilt (2011)

Self-conscious emotions such as shame and guilt are powerful emotions that can influence an individual’s behaviours and cognitions in many daily activities. These emotions can function as motivators, resulting in increased effort or change of action to reduce or avoid feeling the emotion again. Although considerable research exists regarding self-conscious emotions, little has been done to examine these emotions in relation to the body (Sabiston, Brunet, Kowalski, Wilson, Mack, & Crocker, 2010). Using Tracy and Robins’ (2004) model of self-conscious emotions, the purpose of this study was to examine (a) physical self-concept (PSC) and shame and guilt proneness as predictors of body-related shame and guilt and (b) the mediating role of specific attributions on the relationship in (a). Based on the model, it was hypothesized that shame would be related to stable, global, and uncontrollable attributions whereas guilt would be related to unstable, specific and controllable attributions. These attributions would mediate any effect of physical self-concept, shame proneness, and guilt proneness on body-related shame and guilt. Female participants (N = 284; Mean age = 20.6 ± 1.9 yrs) completed measures of PSC and shame and guilt proneness before reading a hypothetical scenario designed to elicit a negative body-related emotional response, followed by assessment of state shame and guilt and attributions. Shame proneness and PSC were significant predictors of body shame (β = .49; β = -.11) and guilt (β = .41; β = -.14). Control attributions mediated the relationship of PSC with shame and guilt and shame-proneness with body shame. Global attributions mediated the relationship of shame proneness with body shame. Control (β = -.16), stability (β = .16), and global (β = .20) attributions were significant predictors of body guilt, while global (β = .30) and control (β = -.19) attributions were significant predictors of body shame. The study provides partial support for Tracy and Robins’ model for predicting shame, but little support for predicting guilt.

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It's all about modifying your job right now is to be healthy, not super fit' : women's experiences with physical activity throughout the course of pregnancy (2011)

Physical activity levels adopted during pregnancy can impact future behaviours post-partum, resulting in long term physiological and psychological effects (Hausenblas et al., 2008). The purpose of this study was to qualitatively examine women’s experiences with physical activity throughout the course of pregnancy. Nine previously active expecting women participated in a series of two semi-structured interviews in early second trimester and mid to late third trimester. Data was analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results revealed that physical barriers to activity changed throughout the course of pregnancy. Commonly identified barriers during the first and second trimester included fear of miscarriage, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, and weather, while changes in the body, fear of injury, pain and discomfort, and work demands were prominent in the third trimester. In contrast, the identified environmental barriers to activity such as the influence of experts, information sources regarding physical activity (i.e. books, internet) and weather, remained stable throughout pregnancy. Despite these barriers, participants were motivated to engage in physical activity throughout pregnancy to maintain physical fitness, health of the baby and themselves, and to relieve stress. Physical activity behaviours were supported by the participants’ partners; however, the majority of participants sought out prenatal exercise classes to create a social network with other expecting mothers. The need to examine pregnant women’s experiences with physical activity from a holistic approach beyond the biomedical model is discussed. Findings contribute to the sport, exercise, and health psychology literature focusing on physical activity during pregnancy and could potentially inform subsequent interventions focused on motivation for physical activity during pregnancy. Participants in this study were predominantly white, heterosexual, well-educated, and English speaking; therefore, future studies should examine the experiences of single women, expecting mothers who identify as lesbian, and women who are diverse in terms of income and educational attainment.

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Passion and coping : relationships with burnout and goal attainment in collegiate athletes (2011)

The stress process in sport can lead to a number of negative outcomes for athletes, including burnout and a failure to attain desired goals in sport (Gaudreau & Blondin, 2002; Hoar et al., 2006). Athletes can manage stress by coping, which involves various thoughts and actions (Lazarus, 1999). A person-related variable that may influence coping is the passion that athletes have for sport. Vallerand and colleagues (2003) proposed the dualistic model of passion (DMP), which differentiates between two forms of passion: harmonious (HP) and obsessive (OP). This research examined the relationship between passion and coping in sport, and tested if coping mediated the relationship between types of passion and both burnout and goal attainment. College- and university-level volleyball players (N = 239; female n = 126) participated in a prospective observational study involving two time points approximately 3 months apart. Measures assessing passion, coping style, burnout, and goal attainment were administered using paper and online questionnaires. Results indicated that burnout at time 2 was negatively associated with task-oriented coping and positively associated with both distraction- and disengagement-oriented coping, while change in burnout between time 1 and time 2 was positively associated with change in distraction- and disengagement-oriented coping. Analyses with both prospective data and change scores indicated that goal attainment was positively associated with task-oriented coping and negatively associated with disengagement-oriented coping. HP was negatively associated with burnout and positively associated with goal attainment, and mediation analyses revealed that disengagement-oriented coping mediated the relationship between HP and burnout, while both task- and disengagement-oriented coping mediated the relationship between HP and goal attainment. Prospective analyses revealed that OP at time 1 was unrelated to both burnout and goal attainment at time 2, but these relationships were suppressed by disengagement-oriented coping. Change in OP was positively associated with change in burnout, and this relationship was mediated by disengagement-oriented coping. Overall, these results highlight the role of coping, particularly disengagement-oriented coping, in the relationship between types of passion and both burnout and goal attainment, and provide insight into the relationship between passion and the stress process in sport.

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