Sources of Stress and Coping Styles Among Student-Athletes

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Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 5 (2010) 1911–1917


Sources of stress and coping styles among student-athletes in Jordan universities Abedalbasit Abedalhafiza * , Ziad Altahaynehb, Mahmoud Al-Haliqc F F

A, b, c

Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan Received January 9, 2010; revised February 19, 2010; accepted March 4, 2010

Abstract This study explored the sources of stress and use of coping styles among Jordanian athletes. Fifty-six student-athletes from a university in Jordan participated in this study and completed a survey to examine their stress sources and associated coping styles. The results indicated that the most common sources of stress were injury and illness, pressures of competition, referee, conflict with the coach, and spectators. Athletes identified 16 coping strategies used to manage stress. Results suggest that interventions designed to reduce stress should seek to increase the use of avoidance and approach styles to cope with stress. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: stress; athletes; coping; Jordan; universities.

1. Introduction The topic of stress has received much attention in the area of contemporary psychology. The literature reflects many researchers' beliefs that stress is a major factor affecting people's lives, is closely tied with mental health, and is quite possibly linked with many problems of physical health (Brennan, 2001). Stress has also become a recurring theme with sport settings and athletic community. Studies in the exercise and sport sciences have identified stress as an important issue related to athletes' well-being, and performance (DiBartolo & Shaffer, 2002; Humphrey, Yow, & Bowden, 2000). The term stress is defined in different ways in the literature. Jones (1990) defined stress as a state in which some demand is placed on the individual, who is then required to react in someway to be able to cope with the situation. Similarly, Lazarus and Folkman (1984) view stress as a function of highly demanding situations coupled with that individuals limited emotional resources for effectively coping with these demands. Stein and Cutler (2002) define stress as a total response to one's environmental demands and pressures and theorize that stress is an unavoidable part of life that everyone has to deal with. Regardless of the way stress is identified, the common ideology is that an individual who is experiencing stress will cope with that stress in a certain way, based on how that particular individual interprets the stressor (White, 2008).

* Ziad Altahayneh. Tel.: +962-777-211517; fax: +962-5-3826358 E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.07.387


Abedalbasit Abedalhafiz et al. / Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 5 (2010) 1911–1917

Coping with stress in sport is another issue of significance. Researchers have examined coping widely, defining it as "constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific internal and/or external demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of a person" (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984, p. 141). Simply put, coping is the process of dealing with situations that create stress (White, 2008). In recent years, athletes experiences of stress has been a popular area of research and a number of qualitative and quantitative studies have been conducted (e.g., Anshel & Anderson, 2002; Anshel & Sutarso, 2007; McKay, Niven, Lavallee, & White, 2008; Nicholls, Holt, Polman, & Bloomfield, 2006; O'Neil & Steyn, 2007; Puente-Diaz & Anshel, 2005; Thelwell, Weston, & Greenlees, 2007; Vredenburg, 2007; White, 2008) These studies have focused on identifying what athletes perceive to be sources of stress in several sports, including elite track athletes (Mckay, et al., 2008), professional cricket batsmen (Thelwell, et...
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