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The relationship between problem-solving skills and factors that interfere with performance in the world's elite circus artists

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Although common lore suggests mental skills are critical to circus performance, there is a paucity of research examining psychological factors in circus artists. In this study, the investigators evaluate the relationship between problem-solving skills and factors affecting performance in 109 circus artists representing seven shows in Cirque du Soleil and one student cohort in the National Circus School of Montreal, Québec. These circus organizations are known around the globe as model programs. As hypothesized, problem-solving skills involving the ability to dissociate from problems and focus on preferred goal-based solutions (as opposed to rumination on past events) were predictive of functional thoughts and a relaxed state of mind during shows. Also as expected, Cirque du Soleil artists tended to demonstrate better problem-solving abilities and lower dysfunctional thoughts and stress in both training and show contexts when compared with National Circus School artists. Problem-solving skills involving the ability to utilize resources and personal strengths were not associated with dysfunctional thoughts and stressors influencing circus performance during shows or training. Recommendations are discussed in light of the findings, including the need to develop and experimentally evaluate problem-solving skills in circus populations.
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ISSUE 11
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS
AND FACTORS THAT INTERFERE WITH PERFORMANCE
IN THE WORLD’S ELITE CIRCUS ARTISTS
MARINA GALANTE, BRAD DONOHUE, YULIA GAVRILOVA, COREY PHILLIPS,
BRYAN BURNSTEIN, PATRICE AUBERTIN, AND ANDREA CORRAL
ABSTRACT
Although common lore suggests mental skills are critical to circus
performance, there is a paucity of research examining psychological
factors in circus artists. In this study, the investigators evaluate the
relationship between problem-solving skills and factors affecting
performance in 109 circus artists representing seven shows in Cirque
du Soleil and one student cohort in the National Circus School of
Montreal, Québec. These circus organizations are known around the
globe as model programs. As hypothesized, problem-solving skills
involving the ability to dissociate from problems and focus on
preferred goal-based solutions (as opposed to rumination on past
events) were predictive of functional thoughts and a relaxed state of
mind during shows. Also as expected, Cirque du Soleil artists tended
to demonstrate better problem-solving abilities and lower
dysfunctional thoughts and stress in both training and show contexts
when compared with National Circus School artists. Problem-solving
skills involving the ability to utilize resources and personal strengths
were not associated with dysfunctional thoughts and stressors
influencing circus performance during shows or training.
Recommendations are discussed in light of the findings, including the
need to develop and experimentally evaluate problem-solving skills
in circus populations.
2
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS AND
FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH
PERFORMANCE IN THE WORLD’S
ELITE CIRCUS ARTISTS
Problem solving is a specific cognitive-behavioral process
that may be utilized to increase the likelihood of selecting
the most effective solution when obstacles are present
(D’Zurilla & Goldfried, 1971). This procedure has been used
for goal achievement (Cavanagh & Grant, 2010), and includes
(1) defining the problem, (2) brainstorming solutions without
critique, (3) evaluating the pros and cons of generated
alternatives, and (4) implementing the best available option
(Nezu, Nezu, & D’Zurilla, 2007). Problem-solving skills have
been found to enhance psychological well-being through
partial mediation of stress (Chang, D’Zurilla, & Sanna, 2009).
For instance, problem solving appears to reduce debilitating
cognitions (Lam & Cheng, 1998), and facilitates adaptive
cognitive reactions to stress (Misra & McKean, 2000).
Consequently, the development of problem-solving skills is
important to daily living (Bell & D’Zurilla, 2009).
Individuals who possess effective problem-solving skills
tend to utilize greater problem-focused coping mechanisms
and brainstorm more alternative solutions when facing
negative circumstances, as compared with individuals who
lack problem-solving skills (MacNair & Elliott, 1992).
Problem-solving skills also appear to have a positive effect in
reducing mental and physiological syndromes, including
anxiety, depression, executive dysfunction, conduct disorder,
substance disorders, low back pain, and obesity (see Becker-
Weidman, Jacobs, Reinecke, Silva, March, 2010; Korstjens
3
et al., 2011; Malouff, Thorsteinsson, & Schutte, 2007). High self-perception of
problem-solving abilities is associated with lower stress and fewer physical health
problems (Largo-Wight, Peterson, & Chen, 2005).
The demanding nature of elite amateur and professional sport is well documented
(Donohue et al., 2014; Mellalieu, Neil, Hanton, & Fletcher, 2009). Therefore,
problem-solving skills may be particularly beneficial to athletes and artists because
this skill is associated with better performance in managing stressors across
multiple domains. For instance, problem-solving skills are associated with better
academic performance and strong study habits (Elliott, Godshall, Shrout, & Witty,
1990), and the use of problem-solving coping strategies (e.g., imagery, effort
expenditure, thought control, logical analysis) in athletes is associated with
constructs related to improved athletic performance (Crust, 2007), such as “mental
toughness” (Nicholls, Polman, Levy, & Backhouse, 2008). Experienced athletes
tend to use more problem-focused strategies and are better able to screen out
emotionally laden responses to environmental stressors, as compared with
inexperienced athletes (Macquet & Skalej, 2015). Therefore, problem-solving skills
may assist athletes in coping with a variety of performance-relevant stressors,
ultimately enhancing their performance.
Both athletes and non-athletes transition into circus (Menard & Halle, 2014), which
may necessitate physical and mental adjustment to novel routines and reliance on
creative brainstorming. This has led professionals to report problem-solving skills
as an important tool in this population (Filho, Aubertin, & Petiot, 2016). With the
exception of a few studies that focus on injuries in circus artists (e.g., Hamilton,
Meeuwisse, Emery, Steele, & Shrier, 2011; Wanke, McCormack, Koch, Wanke, &
Groneberg, 2012) and studies that present qualitative data specific to performance
(Filho et al., 2016), there is a conspicuous absence of data-informed literature
specific to performance in circus artists, including psychological factors impacting
performance in circus. Thus, lacking scientific research, circus practitioners, artists,
and administrators have relied upon research from associated fields (e.g., sport)
and clinical lore passed down across generations to understand and manage
stressors and dysfunctional thoughts.
As a first step in understanding performance in circus, Filho and colleagues (2016)
compiled self-reported performance-related stressors that artists experienced in
circus. In their systematic assessment of testimonials, aerial acts most frequently
endorsed fear of injury, whereas clowns felt social pressure from the audience.
Pain control was the largest source of stress for contortionists, and jugglers
experienced risk of overtraining and fear of failure. The investigators concluded
that the psychological components of circus specialties vary, and that sport
psychology techniques may be applicable to all circus concentrations. This
systematic assembly of testimonials provides a context in which to understand
performance applications and suggests performance research is warranted in circus.
Along these lines, Cirque du Soleil (CdS) and the National Circus School (NCS; also
known as École Nationale de Cirque) in Montréal, Québec (QC) are exceptional
backdrops by which to establish scientific study of psychological factors in circus.
These organizations are highly regarded within the world of circus (Filho et al.,
2016; Munro, 2014). Indeed, CdS changed the face of this performance industry
and now serves as a standard for circus arts (Rantisi, 2014), with approximately
4,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues surpassing $900 million and
growing (Cirque du Soleil, 2015).
With such a diverse cast, both in abilities and countries of origin, CdS utilizes
physical and multicultural diversities to enhance the show experience. This
organization also provides numerous resources, including physical therapists,
strength and conditioning coaches, and nutritionists to facilitate artist success
(Isaacson, 2007; Ménard & Hallé, 2014). Artists often arrive before shows or artistic
training to receive these specialized services to prevent and treat injury and
improve strength. They also rehearse acts (often with other artists and specialized
coaches) prior to performing up to two shows per night. Given these rigorous
training schedules, integrated treatment teams, including psychology, appear to be
necessary to prevent burnout and injury while facilitating artist performance and
well-being.
CdS employs artists from diverse training programs, including NCS. In this
prestigious college for circus art (see Rantisi & Leslie, 2013), students spend up to
12 hours each day refining their physical and artistic abilities while being intimately
4
trained by experienced disciplinary and art teachers. Students
attend traditional courses in a classroom setting to learn a
variety of art forms, such as clowning, acrobatics, and theater
performance. Once NCS artists choose their preferred circus
act, they are assisted by specialized coaches and peers. An
entire year of training is focused on a final performance to
highlight art knowledge and performance growth, and the
training and show experiences for these artists are often
much different from the show experience of CdS artists.
The present investigation will extend examination of
problem-solving skills to circus artists, a population that has
been reported to experience high levels of stress due to their
daily participation in dangerous activities (Filho et al., 2016).
In the present study, it was hypothesized that CdS artists
would demonstrate higher levels of problem-solving skills
and lower levels of dysfunctional thoughts and stress as
compared with NCS artists. The study aimed to determine the
association between problem-solving skills and factors that are
associated with training and show performance in the CdS
artists and NCS students. It was hypothesized that problem-
solving skills would be associated with, and predictive of,
dysfunctional thoughts and stressors that have been found to
interfere with circus training and show performance.
5
METHOD
Participants
Participants were 109 artists from seven CdS shows in Las
Vegas, NV, and Montreal, QC (n = 88), and one cohort of
student artists from NCS in Montreal, QC (n = 21). All artists
volunteered to participate in the study, were at least 18 years
of age, and were employed or enrolled in CdS or NCS,
respectfully, at the time of data collection. Table 1 depicts
demographic information of CdS, NCS, and combined samples.
Recruitment Procedure
CdS and NCS administrators announced the initiation of a
voluntary study led by a research team in a university located
in the southwest United States. Artists were then invited to
attend a meeting within their respective program facilities to
learn more about the study. In this meeting, researchers
made a formal study announcement and all artists who
expressed interest completed informed consent and baseline
assessment measures. Following seven meetings with CdS
shows at their respective theaters and one meeting with
NCS students, a total of 109 artists enrolled and completed
the assessment measures across a 40-day period. Artists
completed the assessment battery with the understanding
that their individual scores would be de-identified and
remain confidential. All procedures were approved by the
university’s Institutional Review Board for the Protection of
Human Subjects.
6
MEASURES
Instrumentation
Following informed consent, participants completed a basic demographic survey
and a comprehensive battery of assessments. The assessments occurred in small
groups at the respective program facilities over the course of two months.
Solution Focused Inventory (SFI). The SFI (Grant et al., 2012) is a 12-item
measure used to assess solution-focused thinking among three subscales: Problem
Disengagement, Goal Orientation, and Resource Activation. Problem Disengagement
involves the ability to dissociate from problems by focusing on the preferred
solution (e.g., “I tend to spend more time analyzing my problems than working on
possible solutions.”). Goal Orientation concerns the ability to focus on potential
optimal outcomes as opposed to rumination on past events, problems, or failures
(e.g., “I imagine my goals and then work towards them.”). Lastly, Resource
Activation involves an ability to identify and utilize resources to solve problems
(e.g., “Most people are more resilient than they realize.”). Participants rate the
extent to which they agree with each statement using a six-point Likert response
scale (1 = Strongly Disagree; 6 = Strongly Agree). In the original study, SFI
demonstrated good test-retest reliability over a 16-week period (0.84) and good
internal consistency (Cronbach’s a = .84; Grant et al., 2012). In the current sample,
internal consistency of SFI Total was .77. Cronbach’s alpha values for the Problem
Disengagement, Goal Orientation, and Resource Activation subscales were .74,
.84, and .66, respectively.
Sport Interference Checklist (SIC). The SIC (Donohue, Silver, Dickens, Covassin,
& Lancer, 2007) is a 26-item measure validated to assess cognitive and behavioral
factors that interfere with athletic performance in both training (Problems in Sport
Training Scale, PSTS; Cronbach’s a = .91) and competition (Problems in Sport
Competition Scale, PSCS; Cronbach’s a = .92). The original psychometric validation
of the SIC yielded four factors in the PSTS, including Dysfunctional Thoughts and
Stress, Academic Problems, Injury Concerns, and Poor Team Relationships, and six
factors in the PSCS, including Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress, Academic and
Adjustment Problems, Lack of Motivation, Overly Confident/Critical, Injury
Concerns, and Pain Intolerance. Each item is rated on a seven-point Likert scale
indicating the extent to which each item interferes with performance in each
respective domain (1 = Never; 7 = Always). The present study focused on the PSTS
and PSCS Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress subscales (e.g., “Negative thoughts
about personal performance,” “Difficulty thinking positively once negative thoughts
have occurred”) to isolate cognitive aspects influencing performance. Circus-
specific modifications were performed to be more consistent with circus culture,
including: (1) rewording two items that made reference to teammates to reflect
members of the circus environment, (2) revising three items that focused on sport
performance to reflect circus performance, (3) changing one item that was relevant
to grade point average to reflect activities that more broadly referenced personal
advancement, and (4) changing the scale names (PSTS to Training, PSCS to Shows).
Thus, PSTS data in the current study is referred to as Dysfunctional Thoughts and
Stress in Training, and PSCS data in the current study is referred to as Dysfunctional
Thoughts and Stress in Shows. In the current sample, internal consistency of the
Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress subscales in Training (Cronbach’s a = .84) and
Shows (Cronbach’s a = .85) were good.
DATA ANALYSIS
Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21.0 was utilized in data
analysis. To assist in understanding the sample under study, NCS and CdS participants
were compared on demographic variables utilizing a two-tailed independent samples
t-test for age and Chi square tests for gender, ethnicity, and companion status.
Independent samples t-tests were utilized to test the hypothesis that CdS participants
would demonstrate higher scores on each of the SFI subscales (e.g., Problem
Disengagement, Goal Orientation, Resource Activation) and less Dysfunctional
Thoughts and Stress interfering with performance in both Shows and Training
contexts, as compared with NCS participants.
To examine the hypothesis that SFI subscale scores were significantly associated with
Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in both Training and Shows, Pearson product
correlations were used. In addition, a linear regression analysis was performed to test
the hypothesis that problem-solving skills (via subscales of the SFI) would predict
Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in Training and Shows (SFI subscales are
independent variables, Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in Training and Shows are
dependent variables).
7
RESULTS
Demographic Comparison Between NCS and
CdS Participants
A series of two-tailed independent samples t-tests and Chi
square tests were performed to determine if participants
from CdS and NCS differed in age, gender, ethnicity, and
intimate partner status. These results indicated that
participants differed significantly in age (M = 20.57, SD =
2.2), t(107) = -6.46, p < .001, and intimate partner status,
X2(2, N = 109) = 8.10, p = .017.
Comparison of Problem Solving and Dysfunctional
Thoughts and Stress Across Artists
The means, standard deviations, and results of independent
samples t-tests comparing circus artist level (NCS, CdS) on
Problem solving (SFI) and Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress
in Training and Shows are presented in Table 2. A series of
one-tailed, independent samples t-tests was conducted to
test the hypothesis that CdS artists would demonstrate higher
levels of problem-solving skills as assessed in the three
subscales of the SFI (e.g., Problem Disengagement, Goal
Orientation, and Resource Activation), and less Dysfunctional
Thoughts and Stress negatively impacting performance in
both Show and Training contexts, as compared with NCS
artists. As indicated in Table 2, CdS artists evidenced
significantly higher scores on all subscales on the SFI and
significantly lower scores on the Dysfunctional Thoughts and
Stress subscales in Training and Show contexts.
8
Association Between Problem Solving and
Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress
Associations among SFI subscales and dysfunctional thoughts
and stress in training and shows contexts were analyzed using
the Pearson correlation analysis technique (see Table 3). There
was a significant positive relationship between Dysfunctional
Thoughts and Stress in Training and in Shows (r = .69, p < .01).
As expected, results demonstrated a significant negative
relationship between Problem Disengagement strategies and
Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in Training (r = -.54, p < .01)
and in Shows (r = -.42, p < .01). Goal Orientation was significantly
negatively associated with Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress
in Shows (r = -.26, p < .01), but not in Training. The SFI Resource
Activation problem-solving strategy was not significantly
correlated with Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in Training or
Shows (ps. > .05). The SFI Resource Activation subscale was
excluded from the following regression analyses due to
inadequate internal consistency (Cronbach’s a = .66). Results of
Pearson product analyses are presented in Table 3.
9
Predicting Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress from Problem Solving
A multiple regression analysis was used to test the hypothesis that Goal Orientation
and Problem Disengagement problem-solving strategies would predict
Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in both Training and Shows. Problem
Disengagement and Goal Orientation strategies explained 30% of the variance in
Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in Training (R2 = .30, F(2,105) = 21.97, p < .001)
and 21% of the variance in Shows (R2 = .21, F(2,105) = 13.98, p < .001). Only
Problem Disengagement was a significant predictor of Dysfunctional Thoughts and
Stress in Training (β = -.54, p < .001). However, both Problem Disengagement
(β= -.39, p < .001) and Goal Orientation (β= -.18, p = .05) were significant predictors
of Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in Shows.
DISCUSSION
Problem solving is a vital skill necessary for optimum performance in most aspects
of life (Bell & D’Zurilla, 2009). The ability to competently and efficiently address
problems appears to be critical in circus to reduce the wide range of stressors
artists experience (Filho et al., 2016). Thus, the present study examined the
relationship between problem-solving skills and factors that interfere with circus
performance of CdS artists and NCS student artists. There were three primary foci
in the current study: (1) comparing experienced (CdS) and inexperienced (NCS)
circus artists in their problem-solving skills and dysfunctional thoughts and stress
in training and shows, (2) understanding the relationship between problem-solving
skills and factors interfering with circus training, (3) understanding the relationship
between problem-solving skills and factors interfering with circus shows. It was
hypothesized that problem-solving abilities and functional thoughts would be
better in CdS artists compared to NCS artists, and that problem-solving skills would
be negatively associated with dysfunctional thoughts and stressors that interfere
with performance in both training and shows. Lastly, problem-solving skills were
hypothesized to predict performance-related thoughts and stress perceived to
interfere with performance, both in training and shows.
The first hypothesis that CdS artists would demonstrate stronger problem-solving
skills was supported in that CdS artists evidenced better problem-solving skills
with regards to Problem Disengagement, Goal Orientation, and Resource Activation
domains compared to NCS artists. Similarly, CdS artist performance was less
impacted by dysfunctional thoughts and stress in training and show contexts when
compared to NCS artists. This finding appears to be consistent with prior literature
indicating that more experienced athletes, as compared with less experienced
athletes, tend to use problem-focused strategies (Macquet & Skalej, 2015).
The second hypothesis, that problem-solving skills would be associated with
dysfunctional thoughts and stress in training and show contexts, was partially
supported. Both the ability to disengage from problems and the ability to focus on
potential goals were associated with lower levels of negative thinking in both
training and in shows. The ability to identify and utilize resources and personal
strengths to solve problems was not associated with dysfunctional thoughts in
either training or show domains. Although this result should be interpreted with
caution, as the problem-solving resources scale demonstrated poor internal
consistency in the current sample, it may be that utilizing resources in circus (e.g.,
performance support personnel, weight room, materials) may be somewhat
incompatible with perceived reliance on personal strengths. For instance, artists
with a high degree of self-reliance may find resources within the organization to be
unnecessary. It may also be that in the current sample of artists, the ability to
identify and utilize resources was less critical due to a wide range of resources,
like personnel, available to circus artists (Ménard & Hallé, 2014) or because the
existing resources are simply unrelated to dysfunctional thoughts and stressors
associated with circus performance.
The third hypothesis, that problem-solving skills (e.g., problem disengagement and
goal orientation) could predict dysfunctional thoughts in training and shows, was
also partially supported. In a regression analysis, the combination of Problem
Disengagement and Goal Orientation significantly predicted Dysfunctional
Thoughts and Stress in both Training and Show contexts. Problem Disengagement
was the strongest predictor of Dysfunctional thoughts and Stress in Training and
Shows. Goal orientation problem-solving skill was also a significant predictor of
negative Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in Shows, but not in Training.
10
Collectively, these findings suggest more experience in circus
may be associated with enhanced problem-solving skills,
although causality cannot be inferred. For instance, it is possible
that circus art experience builds problem-solving skills, or that
artists who achieve successful careers in CdS have existing
problem-solving skills. Nevertheless, these findings suggest a
relationship between problem-solving skills and functional
thoughts, and that outcome research is warranted to assist in
determining if circus training and/or show performance can be
enhanced with problem-solving skills training.
These results indicate circus artists experience different
performance demands across training and shows with
regards to problem-solving skills. Often the focus of training
is improvement and effort, whereas competitions tends to be
more goal-oriented (Amiot, Gaudreau, & Blanchard, 2004;
Munroe-Chandler, Hall, & Weinberg, 2004). In circus
populations in particular, show contexts involve audience
pressure (Filho et al., 2016) and are likely focused on the goal
of an optimal outcome (particularly in the case of NCS
students, who may interpret shows within the context of
their circus examinations). Thus, in circus artists, similar to
athletes (Jackson & Roberts, 1992), a process-oriented
approach may be more relevant for training, indicating less
focus on performance outcomes in this context. This may
explain the lack of association with the Goal Orientation
subscale in training. Therefore, it may be beneficial for
practitioners working within this population to address
problem disengagement problem-solving skills across both
show and training contexts, and goal-oriented problem-
solving skills in shows only.
It is important for performance psychology professionals to
learn strategies to assist performance optimization and
adaptability to difficult circus scenarios. Given that problem
disengagement and goal orientation problem-solving skills were found to be associated with fewer Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stressors in Show performance, the empirical
development of problem-solving interventions for circus artists appears to be justified. Indeed, problem-solving may be utilized in a wide range of applications given that artists
from various disciplines experience unique performance-related stressors (Filho et al., 2016). Although the results of this study have not empirically tested problem-solving
intervention programming, it is likely that problem-solving skills training, widely accepted within the clinical psychology field, could offer a relatively simple and cost-effective
strategy to assist well-being and work productivity of artists within the entertainment industry. This can be achieved by engaging artists into the four-step problem-solving process,
including (1) defining the problem, (2) brainstorming solutions without critique, (3) evaluating the pros and cons of generated alternatives, and (4) implementing the best available
option (Nezu et al., 2007). Adaptations to fit the culture of circus are inherent in the problem-solving process, as artists have autonomy to choose the problem at hand and generate
their own solutions. The model is also consistent with the creative process of artistry, as the professional initially facilitates solution generation without critique.
Findings from the present study suggest that problem-solving skills may impact the performance of circus artists. The present study results also provide a foundation in which
to consider factors that may impact performance in circus artists. With a growing emphasis on evidence-supported interventions, further research is warranted to examine
problem-solving in circus artists.
12
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COVER REFERENCES
a
The Optimum Performance Program in Sports (TOPPS); Department of Psychology, University of
Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, 89154-5030. Phone: (702) 895-2468; http://toppsatunlv.wixsite.com/
toppsatunlv
Marina Galante, M.S.
TOPPS Performance Coach and Dissemination Coordinator; galanm2@unlv.nevada.edu.
Brad Donohue, Ph.D.
TOPPS Program Director and PI; Bradley.donohue@unlv.edu
Yulia Gavrilova, M.A.
TOPPS Performance Coach and Program Coordinator; gavrilo3@unlv.nevada.edu
Corey Phillips, B.S.
TOPPS Performance Coach; coreyraephillips@gmail.com
Andrea Corral, B.A.
TOPPS Quality Assurance Manager; corrala5@unlv.nevada.edu
bCirque du Soleil, Montreal, Québec. Phone: (702) 352-0155; www.cirquedusoleil.com
Bryan Burnstein, M.S.
Head of Performance Science at Cirque du Soleil; bryan.burnstein@cirquedusoleil.com
c
National Circus School, Montreal, Québec. Phone: (514) 982-0859 poste 261;
www.ecolenationaledecirque.ca
Patrice Aubertin,
Director of Research and Teacher Training and Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Circus
Arts; paubertin@enc.qc.ca
* Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Brad Donohue, Department of
Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, 89154-5030. Email: Bradley.donohue@unlv.edu
14
TABLE 1
Participant Demographics
Item NCS
(n=21)
CdS
(n=88)
Total Sample
(N=109)
Age in Years: Mean
(Standard Deviation)
20.57 (2.20) 30.44 (6.86) 28.45 (7.30)
Gender: Frequency (%)
Male 10 (47.62) 58 (65.91) 67 (61.5)
Female 11 (52.38) 30 (34.09) 42 (38.5)
Ethnicity: Frequency (%)
White/Caucasian 17 (80.95) 50 (56.82) 67 (61.57)
Black/African-American 1 (4.76) 9 (10.23) 10 (9.17)
Asian/Asian American 0 (0) 2 (2.27) 2 (1.83)
Hispanic/Latino 0 (0) 13 (14.77) 13 (11.93)
Pacific Islander 0 (0) 1 (1.14) 1 (.92)
Other (multiple or not listed) 3 (14.29) 13 (14.77) 16 (14.68)
Intimate Partner Status: Frequency (%)
Single 20 (95.24) 57 (64.77) 77 (70.64)
Married 0 (0) 23 (26.14) 23 (21.10)
Cohabitating 1 (4.76) 8 (9.09) 9 (8.26)
Note. NCS = National Circus School, CdS = Cirque du Soleil
15
TABLE 2
Mean, Standard Deviations, and Independent T-tests Comparing Circus Artist Level (NCS, CdS) on
Problem-solving Skills and Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in Training and Shows
Measure NCS
(n=21)
CdS
(n=88)
Total Sample
(N=109) tdf p
M (SD) M (SD) M (SD)
SFI Problem Disengagement 13.85 (4.03) 17.28 (4.20) 16.64 (4.34) -3.32 106 .001**
SFI Goal Orientation 15.53 (4.38) 19.13 (3.65) 18.48 (4.01) -3.84 106 < .001**
SFI Resource Activation 17.50(4.81) 19.42 (3.48) 19.09 (3.81) -2.07 106 .04*
SFI Total 46.88 (9.40) 55.84 (7.58) 54.18 (8.64) -4.56 106 < .001**
Dysfunctional Thoughts and
Stress in Training
3.73 (.97) 2.71 (1.11) 2.92 (1.16) 3.90 106 < .001**
Dysfunctional Thoughts and
Stress in Shows
2.97 (1.07) 2.40 (.94) 2.52 (.99) 2.43 107 .02*
Note. NCS = National Circus School, CdS = Cirque du Soleil
TABLE 3
Correlations Between Solution Focused Inventory (SFI) Subscale Scores and Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in
Training and Shows Subscales, Including Internal Consistency (Cronbach’s) of These Scales (N = 109)Scales (N = 109)
Measure 12345
1 SFI Problem Disengagement -
2 SFI Goal Orientation .20* -
3 SFI Resource Activation .09 .48** -
4 Dysfunctional Thoughts and
Stress in Training
-.54** -.13 -.02 -
5 Dysfunctional Thoughts and
Stress in Shows
-.42** -.26** .01 .69** -
Cronbach’s Alpha .74 .84 .66 .84 .85
Note. *p < .05; **p < .01.
16
©2017 N atio nal Un iver sit y CPP17_ 7027
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