Instrumental emotion regulation in sport: relationships between beliefs about emotion and emotion regulation strategies used by athletes.
ABSTRACT This study examined relationships between beliefs about emotions (meta-emotion beliefs), emotion regulation strategies, and pre-competition emotional states using an instrumental model of emotion regulation. Three hundred and sixty runners reported meta-beliefs about the influence of anxiety and/or anger on performance, completed a short emotion scale, and reported their use of emotion regulation strategies. Results indicated that 55 runners (15%) reported meta-emotion beliefs that strategies aimed at increasing anxiety and/or anger would help performance while 305 runners (85%) reported beliefs that strategies intended to reduce the same emotions before competition would help performance. Multivariate analysis of variance indicated that people who believe that anxiety or anger is good for performance reported high anger, but not anxiety, before performance. They also reported using strategies to increase unpleasant emotions. We suggest that further research is needed to examine relationships between meta-emotion beliefs and the use of emotion regulation strategies in sport.