BASIC RESEARCH ARTICLES
Basic Research is concerned with research articles not involving sport or physical activity but which have important principles and action-guidelines that might be useful if applied or researched in sport settings. These articles are presented as one unit so that a "general understanding" of the field might be developed.
Zastoney, T. R., Kirschenbaum, D. S., & Mag, A L. (1986). Coping skills training for children: Effects on distress before, during, and after hospitalization for surgery. Health Psychology, 5(3), 231-247.
A positive self-talk coping skills group had fewest problems when compared to an information and anxiety reduction group. It also had less anxiety and difficulty the night before surgery. Positive self-talk appeared to reduce anxiety.
Schumate, M., & Worthington, E. L. (1987). Effectiveness of components of self-verbalization training for control of cold pressor pain. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 31, 301-310.
Using cold pressor pain, it was found that positive self-statements were significantly associated with an increase in pain tolerance and a decrease in maximum self-reported pain.
Implication. As the pain of hard work grows, athletes should increase the amount of their positive self-talk. If they do not know how to do this, they should be taught the appropriate mental skill.
Burnett, P. C. (1994). Self-talk in upper elementary school children: Its relationship with irrational beliefs, self-esteem, and depression. Journal of Rational and Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 12, 181-188.
Results. Positive self-talk in pre-adolescent boys and girls was positively related to self-esteem and negatively related to irrational beliefs and depression. However, a similar but reverse relationship was not related to negative self-talk.
Implication. In young children, the presence or absence of positive self-talk is strongly related to mental well-being. Practitioners should teach and encourage children to use positive self-talk as part of their personal self-development. Better adjusted children are likely to result from such an endeavor.
Vera, M. N., Vila, J., & Godoy, J. F. (1994). Cardiovascular effects of traffic noise: The role of negative self-statements. Psychological Medicine, 24, 817-827.
Under stressful circumstances, female college students demonstrated an increased cost of physiological function (e.g., higher heart rates) when negative self-talk intruded upon the situation.
Result. When a troublesome event was attended to and accompanied by negative self-statements, the greatest increase in cardiovascular function occurred.
Implication. Negative self-statements inflate the detrimental effects of external stresses particularly through increased physiological costs. Such behaviors are likely to decrease the performance capacities of athletes.
Manning, B. H., While, C. S., & Daugherty, M. (1994). Young children's private speech as a precursor to metacognitive strategy use during task engagement. Discourse Processes, 17, 191-211.
Kindergarten children who were more autonomous and academically advanced were shown to engage in less task-irrelevant private speech. This suggests that for children to learn task-adherence, they should be taught generalized positive task-relevant self-talk.
Implication. Young children's self-talk that is positive and task-oriented is associated with academic success and standing. It is reasonable to expect a similar association with physical activity and sporting performance.
Kamann, M. P. & Wong, B. Y. (1993). Inducing adaptive coping self-statements in children with learning disabilities through self-instruction training. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 26, 630-638.
Normally achieving elementary school children produced substantially more positive self-talk than children with learning disabilities. After training, there was a moderate, positive correlation between increased positive self-talk and math performance in learning-disabled children.
Implication. When children are taught positive self-talk to be associated with task performance, their performances improve. This occurs particularly in children who have been diagnosed as being of a problematical level.
Children having difficulty with physical activity could be assisted to improve by engaging in positive self-talk about their own improvements and independence. The ability to do that will be greatly affected by the coach/teacher's exhibition of appropriate practice performance appraisals.
Neck, C. P., & Manz, C. C. (1992). Thought self-leadership: The influence of self-talk and mental imagery on performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13, 681-699.
Employees influence or lead themselves to perform more productively and effectively by using specific cognitive strategies that focus on individual self-talk and imagery. This leads to the concept of constructive thought management as a means of performance enhancement.
Implication. Teaching individuals how to analyze and construct plans of action couched in positive terms will lead to enhanced performances. Such plans should be able to be vocalized both internally and externally.
Solley, B. A., & Payne, B. D. (1992). The use of self-talk to enhance children's writing. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 19, 205-213.
A 3-stage model for teaching self-talk to children is described:
(a) instruct the importance and advantages of positive self-talk and the destructive properties of negative self-talk;
(b) produce written statements using positive self-expressions; and
(c) use more positive self-talk while revising the previous written statements.
Implication. In physical activity, a possible model for teaching children to think positively is: (a) instruct on the values and benefits of positive self-talk, (b) practice forming self-talk statements, and (c) after further instruction, embellish and improve on the previous self-talk statements.
Oei, T. P., & Barber, C. (1989). Cognitive strategies used to rehearse positive self-statements. Psychologia: An International Journal of Psychology in the Orient, 32, 203-210.
Instructions to rehearse, visualize, or to employ either rehearsal or visualization improved the rate of positive self-talk in each of three groups. Those who initially increased their rate and clarity of self-talk maintained the instructional effects for a greater period of time.
Implication. Instructing to self-talk and practicing it is possibly the quickest and most effective method of developing this skill. Using an indirect method, such as imagery or rehearsal is not as potent.
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