Coping strategies used by ballet dancers: effects of individual differences in competitive trait anxiety
Barrell, G.M. & Terry, P.C. (2002) Coping strategies used by ballet dancers: effects of individual differences in competitive trait anxiety. In Katsikitis, Mary (Ed.) 37th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, 27 September - 12 October 2002, Gold Coast, QLD Australia.
The world of classical ballet exerts considerable physical and psychological stress upon those who participate, and yet the process of coping with such stressors is not well understood. Relationships between coping strategies and competitive trait anxiety were investigated among 104 classical dancers (81 females and 23 males) from three professional ballet companies, two private dance schools, and two full-time, university dance courses in Australia. Coping strategies were assessed using the Modified COPE scale (MCOPE: Crocker & Graham, 1995), a 48-item measure of 12 dimensions of coping. Competitive trait anxiety was assessed using the Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS: Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990), a 21-item measure of three anxiety dimensions. Trait anxiety scores, in particular for Somatic Anxiety and Worry, predicted seven of the 12 coping strategies (Suppression of Competing Activities: R2 = 27.1%; Venting of Emotions: R2 = 23.2%; Active Coping: R2 = 14.3%; Denial: R2 = 17.7%; Self-Blame: R2 = 35.7%; Effort: R2 = 16.6%; Wishful Thinking: R2 = 42.3%). High trait anxious dancers reported more frequent use of all categories of coping strategies, some of which are considered to be maladaptive. No effects of gender or status (professional versus students) were identified. Results emphasize the need for the effectiveness of specific coping strategies to be considered during the process of preparing young classical dancers for a career in professional ballet.
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