Objectives: We examined a model, informed by self-regulation theories, which included goal adjustment capacities, appraisals of challenge and threat, coping, and well-being. Design: Prospective. Methods: Two hundred and twelve athletes from the United Kingdom (n = 147) or Australia (n = 65), who played team (n = 135) or individual sports (n = 77), and competed at international (n = 7), national (n = 11), county (n = 67), club (n = 84), or beginner (n = 43) levels participated in this study. Participants completed measures of goal adjustment capacities and stress appraisals two days before competing. Athletes also completed questions on coping and well-being within three hours of their competition ending. Results: The way an athlete responds to an unattainable goal is associated with his or her well-being in the period leading up to and including the competition. Goal reengagement positively predicted well-being, whereas goal disengagement negatively predicted well-being. Further, goal reengagement was positively associated with challenge appraisals, which in turn was linked to task-oriented coping, and task-oriented coping positively associated with well-being. Conclusion: When highly-valued goals become unattainable, consultants could encourage athletes to seek out alternative approaches to achieve the same goal or help them develop a completely new goal.
Nicholls, A. R., Levy, A. R., Carson, F., Thompson, M. A., & Perry, J. L. (2016). The applicability of self-regulation theories in sport : goal adjustment capacities, stress appraisals, coping and well-being among athletes. Psychology of sport and exercise, 27, 47-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2016.07.011