Matching social support with stressors: Effects on factors underlying performance in tennis.
Psychology of Sport and Exercise
Objectives: This study: (a) examined the factor structure of a four-dimensional measure of social support designed specifically for this study; (b) matched social support dimensions with stressors in examining the main and stress-buffering effects of social support upon factors underlying performance in tennis. Method: 130 high level tennis players completed measures of social support, stressors, and performance factors. Results: Analyses of covariance structures largely provided support for the four-dimensional structure of the social support measure. Moderated hierarchical regression analyses revealed significant main and stress-buffering effects of the social support dimensions upon performance factors. Conclusions: The results illustrate the importance of matching specific types of sport-relevant social support with the needs elicited by the stressors under consideration. They also illustrate the need to pay close attention to the measurement instruments used in such studies. In this study, the finding of significant stress-buffering effects of social support may have been optimised through detailed attention to the measurement instruments chosen for the constructs under study. Applied implications would include developing an understanding of the beneficial role social support has to play in protecting players from the deleterious impact of stressors upon performance. Providers of support should, however, carefully match their support to the needs of the individual.
notes: Conceived and formulated by Rees, this original study works innovatively with Cutrona and Russell’s (1990) matching hypothesis. Its contribution to knowledge and method is two-fold. First, it demonstrates with data from 130 high-performance tennis players that social support can protect players from the negative impact of stress on performance. Second, it demonstrates that detailed matching of support with stressors, through a combination of considering the controllability or otherwise of the stressors, by employing context-specific measurement of social support, and by using confirmatory factor analyses and moderated hierarchical regression analyses, this detailed matching process can successfully detect hypothesised interactions.
Copyright © 2004 Elsevier. NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Psychology of Sport and Exercise. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 3, pp. 319 – 337 DOI: 10.1016/S1469-0292(03)00018-9
Vol. 5, Issue 3, pp. 319 - 337