Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Modelling the process of falling behind and its psychophysiological consequences

Abstract

Introduction A preceding article investigated the psychophysiological responses to falling behind a performance matched opponent. The following temporally linked cause–effect relationships were hypothesised: falling behind precedes deterioration in valence, deterioration in valence precedes development of an action crisis, experience of an action crisis precedes psychoneuroendocrinological distress response and non-adaptive distress response reduces conduciveness to high performance, thereby preceding performance decrement.

Methods In this article, we applied structural equation modelling to test the extent to which the observed data fit the hypothesised cause–effect relationships. A five-step procedure was applied to model the interrelationships between the major study variables in the hypothesised temporal order.

Results Significant linear relationships were found between all hypothesised predictor and outcome variable pairs (p<0.024). The dynamic change in valence was a significant mediator (p=0.011) as it explained 35% of the relationship between falling behind and action crisis. All hypothesised cause–effect relationships continued to be significant after controlling for performance, descriptor, training and perceived strain variables. The observed data fitted the hypothesised structural model well with excellent model fit indices throughout.

Conclusion We applied, tested and confirmed the hypothesised debilitative psychophysiological processes that unfold in response to falling behind a performance matched opponent. The main findings were: deterioration in valence mediated the relationship between falling behind and action crisis, the mindset shift associated with an action crisis predicted increased blood cortisol concentrations and non-adaptive blood cortisol concentrations predicted performance decrement. The findings point towards the crucial role of affective and cognitive modifiers in centrally regulated and goal-directed exercise behaviour.

View Full Text

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.