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Res Q Exerc Sport. 1993 Mar;64(1):83-93.

Coping strategies used by U.S. Olympic wrestlers.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.


Extensive in-depth interviews were conducted with all 20 members of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team regarding their efforts to cope with stress experienced during the Seoul Olympics. Qualitative analyses revealed that the wrestlers employed a variety of coping strategies including: (a) thought control strategies (blocking distractions, perspective taking, positive thinking, coping thoughts, and prayer), (b) task focus strategies (narrow, more immediate focus, concentrating on goals), (c) behavioral based strategies (changing or controlling the environment, following a set routine), and (d) emotional control strategies (arousal control, visualization). In accordance with the observations of Compas (1987) and Folkman and Lazarus (1985), the coping efforts of the Olympic wrestlers were not limited to particular strategies nor to single approaches to dealing with a particular stressor but, rather, reflected a dynamic complex process involving a number of strategies, often in combination. The results also suggested that the degree to which coping strategies are well learned or automatized is related to their perceived effectiveness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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