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Mood and performance relationships in wakeboarding.

It is commonly believed that psychological variables such as mood influence sport performance. Wakeboarding is a water skiing discipline comprising a pre-planned skill based routine lasting approximately 3 minutes. Quality of performance is judged by complexity of tricks performed and individuals score points for their performance. Terry (1995) argued that short-duration, individual sports and where performance can be self-referenced represent the ideal domain to assess relationships between mood and performance. Wakeboarding meets all three suggestions. As wakeboarders will know the difficulty of their routine, it is possible to compare the number of points given for a performance by the judges with the number of points set as a goal. Despite a wealth of research into mood and performance relationships (Beedie, Terry, & Lane, 2000; LeUnes, 2000; LeUnes & Burger, 2000), there has been no published research examining the influence of mood on wakeboarding performance. Indeed most mood-performance research is focused on endurance type sports rather than high-skilled sports with an absence of research investigating factors that underpin performance in high skilled sports in which athletes perform pre-planned routines.

A theory-driven approach to mood research has recently been adopted (Lane & Terry, 2000). In his review of mood research in sport over the past 30 years, Terry (2000) argued that one limitation has been an absence of theory. The traditional approach to investigating mood-performance relationships has been to investigate whether successful performance was associated with an 'iceberg' profile. Using the Profile of Mood States (POMS: McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman, 1971), Morgan (1980) proposed that successful performance was characterized by above average vigor combined with below average anger, confusion, depression, tension, and fatigue.

Subsequent research has demonstrated the limitations of 'iceberg' profiling for predicting sport performance. Renger (1993) indicated the methodological limitations of Morgan's work including small sample sizes and insufficient statistical analyses. Rowley, Landers, Kyllo, and Etnier (1995) conducted a meta-analysis of mood research and proposed that researchers should 'abandon the POMS' (p. 83). In a subsequent meta-analytical study, Beedie et al. (2000) distinguished studies that examined mood by level of achievement from studies that examined the relationship between mood and the quality of a single performance. Beedie et al. (2000) conducted two meta-analyses in response to the two questions being asked. The first meta-analysis found that mood did not discriminate between athletes of different levels of achievement, a finding consistent with Rowley et al. (1995). The second meta-analysis found that mood was an effective predictor of performance when assessed shortly before performance. Beedie et al. argued that failure to distinguish studies that have investigated different questions have contributed to the lack of clarity in the literature.

In terms of the utility of the iceberg profile, Terry and Lane (2000) produced normative data for an athletic sample using 2,086 athletes, where an 'iceberg' profile was found to be normal. If normative data for sport were available to mood researchers, a profile that would resemble an 'iceberg' using normative data for American Students (McNair et al., 1971) would show a flat profile.

Terry (2000) argued that the conceptual model of Lane and Terry (2000) provides a theoretical basis for examining mood in sport. Lane and Terry's model is limited to mood states assessed by the POMS. They postulated that rather than looking for a certain mood profile, researchers should investigate interactions among mood states. They argued that mood states interact to influence performance, suggesting that researchers should look at the interplay between depressed mood and other mood states assessed by the POMS. Previous research has shown anger and / or tension to be associated with good performance in some studies and poor performance in other studies (Beedie et al., 2000). Lane and Terry (2000) proposed that depressed mood influences the nature of anger and tension. While anger and tension remain unpleasant mood states, the functional impact of them is proposed to be influenced by whether they are experienced with depression. It should be emphasized that the depressed mood in this context is a transient mood state that could equally be labeled sadness. When anger and tension are experienced with depressed mood, they are proposed to have a negative impact on motivated behavior. By contrast, in the absence of depressed mood, anger and tension are proposed to be motivating states that signal action is needed to achieve performance goals. Lane (2001) found that anger was associated with feelings of goal-confidence and readiness to perform in the absence of depression. By contrast, anger in the presence of depression was associated with low feelings of confidence.

Lane and Terry (2000) proposed that depressed mood would be associated with high scores of anger, confusion, fatigue, tension, and low vigor. Research has found strong support for the notion that depressed mood is associated with such a negative mood profile (Lane, 2001 ; Lane & Terry, 1998b, 1999a, 1999b, Lane, Terry, Karageorghis, & Lawson, 1999). It is speculated that anger is increased through frustration from likely failure to attain self-set performance goals. Tension is increased because of perceived task demands outweighing perceived ability. Vigor and fatigue are proposed to reflect perceptions of physiological readiness. Thus, fatigue is proposed to increase and vigor is proposed to decrease.

The purpose of the present study was to examine relationships among depression, other mood states, self-set goals, and performance. It was hypothesized that depressed mood would be associated with poor performance and a mood profile comprising high scores of anger, confusion, fatigue, and tension, with low vigor scores. By contrast, in the absence of depressed mood, anger and tension would be associated with facilitated performance. It was hypothesized that there will be no significant difference in the standard of performance set as a goal as depressed and non-depressed athletes tend to set difficult goals albeit for different reasons. One one-hand, individuals reporting depressive symptoms tend to set a performance standard as a goal that is beyond their ability, making failure inevitable (Cervone, Kopp, Schaumann, & Scott, 1994). On the other hand, individuals in the no-depression group are likely to experience high vigor with low confusion and fatigue and therefore set a difficult goal because they are feeling confident in their ability to attain this standard of performance.

Method

Participants

Volunteer participants were 58 male wakeboarders ranging in age from 13 to 32 years (M = 21.25 yr.; SD = 4.82 yr.). Seven participants failed to complete all the items in the questionnaires and their data were discarded from the study, leaving 51 participants. All participants were international competitors with an average of 3 years (SD = 2.35 yr.) competing in the European tour. To participate in the European tour, competitors must have been selected by their National Federation.

Measures

Measurement of Pre-competition Mood. Pre-competition mood was measured using the 24-item Brunel Mood Scale (BRUMS: Terry et al., 1999). The BRUMS is a shortened version of the POMS (McNair et al., 1971, 1992). Validation of the BRUMS involved 3,361 participants ranging in age from 12 to 39 years (Terry et al., 1999; Terry, Lane, & Fogarty, 2003). Confirmatory factor analysis supported the factorial validity of a six-factor model with four items in each factor. This has been demonstrated using both independent and multi-sample confirmatory factor analysis. In addition, concurrent validity has been demonstrated by correlations between BRUMS scores with previously validated inventories that were consistent with theoretical predictions. Examples of tension items include "worried" and "anxious"; anger items include "furious" and "bad-tempered". Examples of fatigue items include "worn out" and "exhausted"; vigor items include "lively" and "energetic". Examples of confusion items include "mixed-up" and "uncertain", and depression items include "miserable" and "downhearted". Items were rated on a 5-point scale anchored by "not at all" (0) to "extremely" (4).

Depressed Mood Groups. Participants were divided into a group showing symptoms of depressed mood or a group showing no symptoms of depressed mood. These groups were labeled the depressed mood group and the No-depression group in accordance with the terms used by Lane and Terry (2000). The depressed group could equally be labeled as sadness as it comprised individuals who reported transient mood scores. It is important to note that although the research investigates depressed mood and does not assess clinically depression. The depression and no-depression dichotomy is consistent with previous research that has shown that participants typically report zero for all four items (depressed, downhearted, miserable, & unhappy) on the BRUMS Depression scale when assessed 1 hour before competition (see Lane & Terry, 1999a; Lane, 2001). The No-depression group comprised individuals who reported zero for all Depression items, and the depressed mood group comprised individuals who reported a score of 1 or more. In the present study, 21 (41.2%) wakeboarders reported symptoms of pre-competition depressed mood with 30 (58.8%) reporting no symptoms of depressed mood.

Measure of Goal Difficulty. Goal difficulty was assessed by asking participants to write down the number of points set as a performance goal. This was self-referenced by comparing the points set as a goal with the previous best score in competition (Points set as goal--PB). Therefore, a positive score would indicate that participants set a goal that would involve beating their personal best points score.

Measure of Performance. Performance was assessed by comparing the number of points scored with their personal best (Points scored--PB). A positive score would indicate a good performance.

Procedure

Participants and their coaches were contacted a day before competition to discuss participation in the study. The principle researcher contacted the coach to explain the purpose of the study and then met with the wakeboarder. They were informed that the purpose of the research was to investigate how wakeboarders feel before competition. The researcher assured participants of complete confidentiality and that data would not influence selection into their respective national teams. This explanation was spoken in English and no attempts at translation were attempted. It is should be noted that the questionnaires were in English and comprehension of these was an imperative. Participants who could not speak English were identified at the initial approach. Six participants declined to participate in the study.

International wakeboarding competition typically comprises 40-50 competitors per event. In the present study, data were collected over three different wakeboading competitions. These were held in England, Austria, and Germany. As English was a second-language to some participants, an alternative word list was made available to participants who had difficulty understanding the meaning of items. It should be noted that no participants referred to the alternative word list, possibly because the BRUMS was developed for use with adolescents and so contains mood descriptors commonly understood.

The BRUMS was administered approximately 1 hr. before competition. Before completing the questionnaires, the Martens, Vealey, and Burton (1990) statement designed to reduce social desirability was read aloud using the response set "How are you feeling right now?" Participants completed the questionnaire in the waiting area away from the gaze of their coach or other competitors.

Results

Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) of BRUMS, goal difficulty, and performance scores by depressed mood groups is contained in Table 1. As Table 1 indicates, there was an overall multivariate effect for BRUMS, the difficulty of self-set goals, and self-referenced performance scores between the depressed mood group and no-depression group (Hotellings [T.sup.2.sub.7,42] = 41.00, p < .001). Follow-up univariate analyses indicated that the depressed mood group reported significantly higher anger, confusion, and fatigue scores. The depressed mood group performed significantly worse than the no-depression group. On average, participants performed worse than their personal best regardless of depression (see Table 1). There was no significant difference for tension, vigor, and the difficulty of self-set goals between the depressed mood group and no-depression group.

Correlation analysis to investigate relationships among BRUMS, self-set goals, and Performance are contained in Table 2. As Table 2 indicates, intercorrelations among mood dimensions in the no-depression group indicated significant positive relationships between anger and vigor, and confusion and tension. In the no-depression group, the relationship between goal-difficulty and mood indicated that vigor was associated with setting a difficult goal. Results also indicated that tension was associated with successful performance.

In the depressed mood group, intercorrelations among mood states indicated that significant relationships were found between anger and confusion. Anger was associated with setting a difficult goal and poor performance. Performance was also associated with vigor and goal-difficulty. The direction of relationships indicated that as performance improved, vigor and goal-difficulty scores tended to increase.

Multiple regression to predict performance from mood and self-set goals in the no-depression group indicated that 10% (Adj. [R.sup.2] = .10, p < .05) of performance variance was explained. Tension was the only significant predictor (Beta = .37, p < .05), whereby increased tension was associated with successful performance. In the depressed mood group, the same variables predicted 33% of performance variance (Adj. [R.sup.2] = .33, p < .05). Results indicated that vigor (Beta = .41, p < .05) was associated with successful performance. An accepted limitation of using multiple regression is that the participants to independent variables ratio was relatively low (4:1 in the Depressed mood group; 6.2:1 in the No-depression group). This low ratio suggests that regression results should be taken with caution.

Discussion

The present study examined mood and performance relationships in the sport of wakeboarding. Recent research has emphasized a need for theory-driven research to investigate mood and performance relationships (Lane & Terry, 2000; Lane, 2001; Terry, 2000). This study investigated the influence of depressed mood on other mood dimensions, the difficulty of self-set goals, and performance as suggested by Lane and Terry (2000). It was hypothesized that depressed mood would be associated with increased anger, confusion, fatigue, and tension, with reduced vigor and poor performance. Results lend support to this hypothesis to the extent that depressed mood was associated with increased anger, confusion, and fatigue, along with poor performance (see Table 1). This finding is consistent with previous research (Lane & Terry, 1998b, 1999a, 1999b, Lane et al., 1999; Lane, 2001).

The rationale for proposing that depression is the most important mood dimension is based on the notion that it is associated with a negative self-schema (Lane & Terry, 2000). Results show that relationships between mood, self-set goals, and performance differed between the depressed mood and no-depression groups (see Table 2). In the no-depression group, goal-difficulty was associated with vigor. It is suggested that vigor will be associated with setting a difficult goal because an individual feels that he/she can attain this performance standard. Relationships between and anger and tension with vigor indicate that the nature of these mood dimensions tends to change among individuals who report feeling no depression. Lane and Terry (2000) proposed that anger and tension, in the absence of depression, might act as a warning signal whereby increased effort is needed to attain the performance goal (Schwarz & Bless, 1991). Anger and tension are proposed to both contain arousal, and if this can be channeled to increase effort, it should have facilitative effects on performance (Lane & Terry, 2000). Previously, the POMS model of mood has been criticized for an excessively negative orientation (Hardy, Jones, & Gould, 1996). Findings from the present study suggest that in the absence of depressed mood, the functional impact of POMS is three negative and three positive mood states.

By contrast, there were significant intercorrelations between anger, goal-difficulty, and performance in the depressed mood group. Anger was associated with setting a difficult goal, and poor performance. Lane and Terry (2000) speculated that frustration to attain a performance goal will lead to increased anger, and the associated arousal will be directed internally to self-blame. This is proposed to lead to debilitated performance as the individual feels that the investment of effort to attain the performance goal is futile.

The different relationships for vigor and goal difficulty and vigor and performance are consistent with recent research that has shown that depressed mood influences the nature of vigor. Lane (2001) found that vigor was associated with the ease of the task in the depressed mood group, but was associated with perceived ability in the no-depression group. It was argued that the debilitative nature of the depression construct prevents individuals from accepting feelings of vigor. To reduce feeling positive, it is suggested that individuals feeling symptoms of depressed mood tend to attribute feelings of vigor externally to the ease of the task rather than to feelings of ability (Lane, 2001).

The notion that the functional impact of unpleasant psychological states on performance is moderated by a third variable is not new. The contribution of Jones and co-workers to the competition anxiety literature could be seen as a precursor to this work in mood. Jones (1995) proposed that self-confidence moderates the nature of competitive state anxiety responses. Individuals who feel they cope with task demands interpret anxiety symptoms as positive. Lane and Terry (2000) depression and no-depression dichotomy focuses on the negative impact of depressed mood. Recent anxiety research has argued that self-confidence protects an individual from the dysfunctional influence of anxiety on performance (Jones, 1995; Jones & Hanton, 1996, 2001). An acknowledged limitation of directional anxiety research is that the use of the term facilitated anxiety. Cognitive anxiety is characterized by negative expectations (Martens et al., 1999) and so should be perceived as debilitative of performance. Jones and Hanton (2001) argued that facilitated directional anxiety is likely to assess a positive emotional state consistent with the concept of vigor. There is clearly a need for further research to explore the extent to which individuals reporting no-depression is associated with perceptions of self-confidence. However, rather than investigating the influence of these on perceptions of anxiety, we suggest that this influence should be explored across a full range of emotions. An extension to Lane and Terry's model might be to test whether self-confidence moderates other mood states in a similar way to depressed mood.

The strength of mood-performance relationships should be considered in the light of recent research. The recent meta-analysis of mood-performance relationships indicated small to moderate effect sizes for studies that assessed performance using a self-referenced criterion (Beedie et al., 2000). Findings from the present study offer support for this effect size, although the mood-performance relationship was stronger in the depressed mood group. This finding concurs with the recommendations made by Terry (2000) that mood performance relationships would be evident in research that assesses performance using a self-referenced criterion.

It is generally accepted that applied sport psychology interventions should be theoretically driven. Findings from the present study could be used as a guide for sport psychologists in their work with international wakeboarders. Despite the widescale use of the POMS in applied settings (Terry, 1995; Vealey & Garner-Holman, 1998; Gould, Tammem, Murphy, & May, 1989), there have been relatively few studies that have detailed the influence of intervention strategies on mood, and the attendant impact of mood manipulation on performance. It is suggested that future research should investigate proposals from Lane and Terry's (2000) model using an intra-individual design. Findings from the present study suggest that sport psychologists should develop strategies for teaching wakeboarders to control anger, tension, and vigor. Although tension was shown to be associated with facilitated performance in the absence of depression, it is suggested that wakeboarders should learn to control tension, rather than to encourage them to intensify feelings of tension. Lane and Terry (2000) argued that tension would show a curvilinear relationship with performance, thus although performance increases initially with increases in tension, performance declines after tension has gone beyond an optimal level.

In conclusion, the present study found evidence to support the notion that depressed mood was associated with increased anger, confusion, fatigue, and poor performance. Findings also lend support to the notion that depression influences the relationships between mood, self-set goals, and performance. It is suggested that the affective content of mood serves a signal function, and the nature of that content biases cognition and behavior. Future research to investigate mood and wakeboarding performance should investigate the influence of mood manipulation strategies on performance.
Table 1.

A Comparison of Mood Scores Between the
Depressed Mood group and No Depression Group.

Moods No-depression (N = 30) Depression (N = 21)

 M SD M SD

Anger 56.62 8.40 71.13 22.21
Confusion 47.35 5.55 57.94 12.23
Fatigue 54.35 6.58 62.20 10.92
Tension 47.44 8.09 47.71 10.74
Vigor 50.71 8.20 49.92 9.91
Goal difficulty 820.79 1712.12 852.24 1783.02
Performance -1077.40 3446.98 -3461.43 3984.48

 Hotellings [T.sup.2] = 41.00, p<.001

Moods t-value

Anger -3.27 *
Confusion -4.18 *
Fatigue -3.20 *
Tension -.10
Vigor .31
Goal difficulty -.06
Performance 2.28 **

 Hotellings [T.sup.2] = 41.00, p<.001

* p <.01

** p <.05

Table 2.

Intercorrelations between Mood Dimensions, Goal difficulty, and
Performance in the Depressed mood group and No-depression group

 Confusion Fatigue Tension Vigor

No-depression
Anger .17 .03 .19 .72 *
Confusion -.26 .58 * .08
Fatigue -.20 .42 *
Tension -.06
Vigor
Goal difficulty

Depressed mood group
Anger .40 * -.14 .09 -.01
Confusion -.02 .32 -.12
Fatigue .07 -.02
Tension .10
Vigor
Goal difficulty

 Goal difficulty Performance

No-depression
Anger .00 -.01
Confusion .11 .28
Fatigue .22 -.09
Tension .20 .37 *
Vigor .31 * -.10
Goal difficulty .01

Depressed mood group
Anger -.39 * -.39 *
Confusion -.26 -.18
Fatigue -.29 -.11
Tension .07 .27
Vigor .00 .44 *
Goal difficulty .38

* p <.05


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Correspondence Addressed To: Dr. Andrew M. Lane, School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, University of Wolverhampton, Gorway Road, Walsall, WS1 3BD. E-mail: A.M.Lane2@wlv.ac.uk Tel: 44 1902 321000
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Author:Fazackerley, Richie; Lane, Andrew M.; Mahoney, Craig
Publication:Journal of Sport Behavior
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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