Exploring the effect of relationship dynamics and dimensions of support on gymnasts' and figure skaters' self-concept, education and psychological resilience: A research proposal

Year: 2005

Author: Cheng, Jacqueline, Marsh, Herbert, Dowson, Martin, Martin, Andrew

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Gymnastics and figure skating are two sports which feature a predominantly young, female population (Ryan, 1990). This proposal will consider the question of how relationships between the athlete with their significant others affect the elite athlete's self-concept and psychological resilience as young female athletes are particularly vulnerable in a sport where body-image is important as part of their presentation. Self-concept, at the elite level, has been found to be unique when compared to the general population (Marsh, Perry & Roche, 1995). This is especially apparent in young athletes where support from their parents, coaches and other significant figures is extremely important. Previous literature has shown that it is one of the key components to their success and contributor to their enjoyment of the sport (Vanden Auweele, & Wylleman, 1993). However, support is not enough to guarantee these positive psychological outcomes. Psychological resilience, the ability to "bounce back" from stressful experiences quickly and effectively (Lazarus, 1993), has also been found to be a substantial contributor to recovery (Sheldon & Eccles, 2005). The question of how the athletes manage their time between education and their sport is also a pressing one as coaches demand increasing hours from their athletes when they advance through the ranks of the sport.