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Authors: Michel-Kröhler, Alena
Kaurin, Aleksandra
Heil, Lutz Felix
Berti, Stefan
Title: Self-distancing as a strategy to regulate affect and aggressive behavior in athletes: an experimental approach to explore emotion regulation in the laboratory
Online publication date: 12-Apr-2022
Language: english
Abstract: Self-regulation, especially the regulation of emotion, is an important component of athletic performance. In our study, we tested the effect of a self-distancing strategy on athletes’ performance in an aggression-inducing experimental task in the laboratory. To this end, we modified an established paradigm of interpersonal provocation [Taylor Aggression Paradigm (TAP)], which has the potential to complement field studies in order to increase our understanding of effective emotion regulation of athletes in critical situations in competitions. In our experimental setting, we first tested the applicability of the self-distancing perspective and the athletes’ ability to dynamically adapt besides the self-distanced perspective a self-immersed perspective to provocation in the TAP. Secondly, we investigated how this altered perspective modulated regulatory abilities of negative affectivity, anger, and aggression. The experiment consisted of two conditions in which the participant adopted either a self-immersed or a self-distanced perspective. Forty athletes (female: 23; male: 17) from different team (n = 27) and individual sports (n = 13) with a mean age of 23.83 years (SD = 3.41) competed individually in a reaction-time task against a (fictitious) opponent. Results show that athletes are equally able to adopt both perspectives. In addition, within-person analyses indicate that self-distancing decreased aggressive behavior and negative affect compared to the self-immersed perspective. Our results suggest that self-distancing modulates different levels of athletes’ experience (i.e., affect and anger) and behavior. Furthermore, this demonstrates the feasibility of testing self-regulation of emotion in athletes in a laboratory setting and allows for further application in research in sports and exercise psychology.
DDC: 150 Psychologie
150 Psychology
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 02 Sozialwiss., Medien u. Sport
FB 04 Medizin
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Frontiers in psychology
Pages or article number: 572030
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Publisher place: Lausanne
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 1664-1078
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.572030
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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