Event Title

Superstitious Behavior and Locus of Control in Athletes, Musicians, and the General Population

Poster Number

16

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom

Start Date

24-4-2015 3:20 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 3:50 PM

Description

Research on superstitious behavior in athletes is extensive; however, there has not been much research outside of the athletic spectrum. We compared musicians, athletes, and the general population. Eighty young adults responded to the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28, which measures feelings of pressure and anxiety before and during high-stress events (Smith, Schutz, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1995). We also used a superstitious behavior scale (Brevers, Dan, NoeL, Nils, & Frederic, 2011) and the Rotter Locus of Control Scale. We compared two groups (athletes/musicians versus students) using an independent t-test. Results revealed that athletes and musicians had a higher belief in the effectiveness of their ritual activities than did college students. One reason may be that they also had a higher internal locus of control than the general student population, perhaps reflecting that they felt that the rituals gave them control over the outcome of events. Across all of our adult participants, engaging in rituals strongly impacted emotional states. For example, being prevented from engaging in rituals led to annoyance, while frequently using them reduced any embarrassment about such an action. Understanding that athletes and musicians believe that their own actions affect their outcomes more than external qualities, and that their rituals are a portion of this internal control, could allow coaches and instructors to better guide these individuals. In addition, our study demonstrates that rituals are not limited to athletes or a specific gender, and may instead be used universally across adults as an emotional management strategy.

Comments

Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, March 2015

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Apr 24th, 3:20 PM Apr 24th, 3:50 PM

Superstitious Behavior and Locus of Control in Athletes, Musicians, and the General Population

Richardson Ballroom

Research on superstitious behavior in athletes is extensive; however, there has not been much research outside of the athletic spectrum. We compared musicians, athletes, and the general population. Eighty young adults responded to the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28, which measures feelings of pressure and anxiety before and during high-stress events (Smith, Schutz, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1995). We also used a superstitious behavior scale (Brevers, Dan, NoeL, Nils, & Frederic, 2011) and the Rotter Locus of Control Scale. We compared two groups (athletes/musicians versus students) using an independent t-test. Results revealed that athletes and musicians had a higher belief in the effectiveness of their ritual activities than did college students. One reason may be that they also had a higher internal locus of control than the general student population, perhaps reflecting that they felt that the rituals gave them control over the outcome of events. Across all of our adult participants, engaging in rituals strongly impacted emotional states. For example, being prevented from engaging in rituals led to annoyance, while frequently using them reduced any embarrassment about such an action. Understanding that athletes and musicians believe that their own actions affect their outcomes more than external qualities, and that their rituals are a portion of this internal control, could allow coaches and instructors to better guide these individuals. In addition, our study demonstrates that rituals are not limited to athletes or a specific gender, and may instead be used universally across adults as an emotional management strategy.