Murray, E. J. (1975). Resolution of complex decisional conflicts as a function of degree of avoidance. Journal of Research in Personality, 9, 177-190.

It is common for people to express negative feelings towards problem situations. The degree of negativeness (e.g., being scared to confront the problem; believing that bad consequences will result no matter what is done) slows eventual problem solution. While athletes are in a state of non-resolution of conflicts, their training and competitive performances will suffer considerably.

When an individual is confident that solutions to problems can be developed, and that those solutions can be coped with even if they are not particularly desirable, problem solving is prompt and minimal in its disruption of athletic performance. This effect even occurs with avoidance-avoidance situations (a conflict where both solutions have negative characteristics for the individual).

Implication. It is in an athlete's best interests to solve all conflicts as quickly as possible even when only negative outcomes are likely. That provides the opportunity to commence coping with and diminishing the impact of the result. When assisting athletes to resolve problems, it is a good counseling strategy to:

Having a plan for action to resolve conflicts and how to handle all possible outcomes will lead to fast actions and a potentially good level of coping.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.