Personal constructs on resilience in swimming

Timothy Chambers

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    354 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] Resilience is a concept that originated from behavioural science; a branch of research aimed at explaining unexpected benign or malignant outcomes associated with human development. It is a psychological construct that encompasses both cognitive and behavioural responses to negative situations and appears to exist at both an individual and group level. As a concept, resilience receives considerable attention from researchers within developmental psychology fields, who primarily identify numerous risk and protective factors. Within sport, however, researchers have demonstrated a preference for the examination of more traditional concepts, such as coping strategies. Moreover, few investigations in either domain employ a cogent theoretical framework to guide the research. Therefore, the present research program utilises Personal Construct Psychology (PCP; Kelly, 1955) principles to direct the proposed research. PCP is a theory about theories that emphasised our underlying ambition to make sense of the world, the events people encounter and themselves. According to Kelly, PCP is guided by the fundamental postulate and 11 corollaries. The PCP research template employed by the current research program promotes the utilisation of multimethod designs (i.e., qualitative and quantitative investigations) in order to understand and facilitate the development of resilience in swimming. Three research investigations are proposed to examine resilience in swimming, and are structured according to PCP. Each investigation is outlined below. Study 1. An interview protocol based upon key elements of Kelly s (1955) psychotherapy retrospective interview protocol was employed to elicit an understanding of resilience in swimming. Fourteen interviews were scheduled with elite Australian swimmers and swimming coaches, utilising the interview schedule. ... Study 3. The aim of this study was to design, implement and evaluate a resilience intervention for youth swimmers. Utilising the data generated from the first study, a resilience enhancement program was designed and delivered to 16 developmental swimmers over a period of three months. Resilience was measured pre, during and post intervention, and three months after the intervention. Resilience was also measured on an age and ability matched control group (n = 20), at the same time points. Results revealed improvements in resilience for the experimental group following the completion of the resilience program. In summary, the present research program employed a PCP (Kelly, 1955) research template to guide the aforementioned studies of resilience. The data collected from the research investigations contributed considerable knowledge to the resilience concept, and the sport psychology field. The qualitative study was the first of its kind to examine the concept in swimming, revealing several elements and process pertaining to resilience that later formed the foundations for the resilience intervention. General conclusions propose that future research combine psychological measurement of resilience and more traditional sport psychology concepts, in addition to the development of a sport specific psychometric measure of resilience.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2008


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