Exploring self-compassion, positive and negative emotion regulation, sport performance, and resilience among college athletes



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It is the most resilient athletes – those who bounce back from adversity – who achieve the most success and fulfillment while maintaining well-being throughout their college careers. To better understand the psychological profiles of resilient athletes, researchers often focus on emotion regulation strategies in response to negative events. While fruitful, athletes’ regulatory responses to positive events (e.g., savoring) may be equally important during the highs, lows, and rigorous demands of a collegiate season. Researchers are also becoming increasingly interested in self-compassion (SC) as an emotion protective factor among athletes. SC may be crucial in helping athletes overcome shortcomings and defeats in sports. However, it remains unclear whether SC influences the regulation of positive and negative emotions and daily sport performance, particularly on days following poor performances (as SC theory would suggest). Lastly, while research is beginning to examine the role of SC in athletes, it is unclear whether benefits are unique or shared by related traits, such as grit, hope, and self-confidence. In Study 1, I compare the effects of frequently studied negative emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal and acceptance) to a positive emotion regulation strategy (savoring) on daily emotional resilience in response to negative events. In Study 2, I explore whether individual differences in SC influence chosen emotion regulation strategies, enhance their effectiveness, and facilitate resilient responses to poor sport performances the following day (in terms of performance and emotional rebound) while comparing the effects of SC with grit, hope, and self-confidence.