While limited evidence exists in the general psychology literature for penalty anxiety in coping, there is a salient dearth of similar research on competitive athletes coping strategies during competition. Thus, the purpose of the present study is to examine the ability to predict the use of coping strategies following selected stressful events after the penalty among adult competitive athletes in rugby sports. It is hypothesized that the athletes' gender could be significantly predicted based on their selected use of coping strategies.
Based on a fifteen year research program on competitive anxiety, Martens et al. (1990) have suggested a three factor causal model, incorporating perceived uncertainty of outcome (PU), perceived importance of outcome (PI), and competitive A-trait as the most significant variables affecting perception of threat, and thus competitive anxiety reactions during the penalty in rugby sports. They hypothesized that the first two precursors, PU and PI are multiplicative, with both needing to be present for threat (T) to exist. This relationship is symbolically expressed as, T = f(U x I). The third factor, competitive trait anxiety (A-trait), affects perception of threat independently of importance or uncertainty.
Although Martens et al. ...
ty of outcome, they refer to Kagan (1972) who, in discussing sources of uncertainty, states that it is the "inability to predict the future, especially if the doubt centers on the experience of potentially unpleasant events like punishment, physical harm, failure or rejection" (p. 52).
In a recent study, Marchant, Andersen, and Morris (2005) found that the relationship of uncertainty and anxiety is more complex than the Martens et al. model suggests. Perceived uncertainty, however, is beyond the scope of this study and will not be discussed in detail.
Perceived importance of outcome relates to the perceived value of attaining a favorable result. According to Martens et al. (1990), the perceived value is a combination of the intrinsic and extrinsic consequences of the result. Extrinsic consequences include tangible rewards, such as money or positive reinforcement, whereas intrinsic consequences include a sense of mastery, feelings of competence, and increased self-esteem. The Martens et al. model uses perceived importance of outcome as an umbrella term covering both extrinsic and intrinsic factors.
Another concept that Martens et al. incorporate when discussing their model is Atkinson's (1964) Probability of Success (Ps)' The relationship between [P.sub.s] importance is difficult to predict. Martens et al. (1990) advance two seemingly opposing arguments to explain this relationship. Using Atkinson's (1964) risk-taking theory, Martens et al. suggest that when confidence is low, the incentive value of success is increased. This makes intuitive sense, because beating a more highly rated player is a particularly satisfying result for most athletes, but one that is not highly probable. In contrast, Martens et al. also suggest that when [P.sub.s] is