Sex differences in coping strategies among competitive athletes: Contributions of type d personality and stressor appraisals


Athletes encounter various stressors in sport, making it essential for athletes to cope with stressors as it contributes to their performance success. Research on sex differences in coping has produced inconclusive results, and previous studies have not accounted for factors such as personality and stressor appraisals. The purpose of this study was to examine sex differences in coping, as well as the contribution of Type D personality and stressor appraisals to explain potential differences in coping among athletes. Competitive athletes (N = 240; M = 20.9 years, SD = 4.16; 66.3% female) completed online surveys including measures of demographic information and Type D Personality. Athletes read a hypothetical scenario of a stressor in sport and completed the Precompetitive Appraisal Measure and the Dispositional Coping Inventory for Competitive Sport. Data were analyzed using correlations, t-tests, and multiple regression. Male athletes were more likely to report using task coping than females, and male athletes had higher scores for secondary appraisals of stressors than females. After controlling for sex, athletes who met the criteria for Type D personality were more likely to use disengagement and distraction coping, and less likely to use task coping. Primary appraisals were associated with lower use of distraction coping. Secondary appraisals were associated with greater use of task coping and lower use of disengagement coping. The results indicate some sex differences in task coping among athletes; however, Type D personality and stressor appraisals are also important factors that predict the use of coping strategies among competitive athletes.