How do passionate athletes "cope" with positive events? Relationships between passion, savouring, and dampening


Good things happen in sport; athletes win games, earn awards, reach milestones, and experience many other types of positive events. Sometimes athletes respond to these positive events by engaging in savouring and attempt to maintain, enhance, or prolong their positive emotions. But athletes can also respond to positive events by engaging in dampening and attempt to stifle and decrease their positive feelings. Our aim in this research was to build on recent findings with students and sports fans (Schellenberg & Gaudreau, in press), and test if responses to positive events were predicted by the extent to which athletes' passion for sport was harmonious and obsessive (Vallerand, 2015). Athletes (N = 420) recruited from a crowdsourcing website (Prolific Academic) completed an online survey in which they reported their levels of harmonious and obsessive passion for their sport and the extent to which they would engage in savouring and dampening in response to a positive event in their sport. Using partial correlations that controlled for both the positivity of the event and the other passion type, we found that savouring was positively predicted by both harmonious and obsessive passion, but that dampening was negatively predicted by harmonious passion and positively predicted by obsessive passion. These findings replicate past research with other populations by showing that they ways in which athletes "cope" with positive events is predicted by the extent to which their passion for sport is harmonious and obsessive.

Acknowledgments: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada