Adaptation, stress and coping in sport

Authored by: Adam R. Nicholls

Routledge International Handbook of Sport Psychology

Print publication date:  February  2016
Online publication date:  February  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138022423
eBook ISBN: 9781315777054
Adobe ISBN: 9781317692324


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Adaptation, which was mentioned within the domain of stress and coping research by Lazarus (1991), refers to the way in which people change according to the world that they live in. Within the context of stress, adaptation can be defined as the way a person reacts to and copes with stresses that change across the lifespan. Lazarus argued that it is not possible to examine constructs such as stress and coping without viewing how people adapt in their lives. As such, it was argued that understanding and considering human thought is crucial. This argument shaped Lazarus’ relational approach to measuring stress and coping. In this chapter, I outline the relational approach to stress and coping, which is the dominant theoretical framework in the sport literature (Nicholls, Perry, & Calmeiro, 2014). I also consider sport specific research in regards to stressors, appraisals, qualitative coping research, and quantitative research. The chapter is concluded with ideas regarding how the field of stress and coping can be advanced.

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