2014, Volume 10, Issue 1

Coping strategies used by professional combat sports fighters vs. untrained subjects

Katarzyna Sterkowicz-Przybycień1, Ewa Grygiel2

1Institute of Sport, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, University School of Physical Education in Cracow, Poland
2Institute of Physical Education, State Higher Vocational School in Nowy Sącz, Poland

Author for correspondence: Katarzyna Sterkowicz-Przybycień; Institute of Sport, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, University School of Physical Education in Cracow, Poland; email: hapki77[at]poczta.onet.pl

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Background and Study Aim: Strenuous training regimes and participation in combat sports competitions might lead to experiencing repeated stress and use of individual coping strategies to alleviate stress. Hence the goal of the present study was to address the question of whether gender and many-year practicing combat sports are correlated with coping strategies.
Material and Methods: The investigations covered Kyokushin karate national team (15 men and 7 women, and 7 women from judo team). The control group consisted of 28 men and 14 women who studied physical education but did not practice the sport at a competitive level. They were subjected to Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) developed by Norman S. Endler and James D.A. Parker. A two-way ANOVA followed by post-hoc test (least significant differences) were used for intergroup comparison of the obtained scores. Additionally, the distribution of the number of high assessments in individual coping strategies in men and women compared to the standards (stens) using Chi2 test with Yates correction was analysed. Significance level was set at 5%.
Results: A dominant coping strategy was task-oriented strategy. The intergroup differences were found for emotion-oriented strategy (men=42.3 vs. women=47.9, F=8.54, p<0.01) and avoidance-oriented strategy, between the persons who train at a competitive level and the untrained controls (46.3 vs. 52.9 points, F=8.54, p<0.01) and the subscale of this strategy, i.e. distraction strategies (21.1 vs. 23.9, F=5.25, p<0.05). Intensification of the task-oriented coping strategy did not correlate to other coping strategies. Chi2 -test confirmed characteristic differences between the groups of men and women.
Conclusions: Independently of gender or professional practicing of combat sports, a personality trait which allows a contestant to reduce the effect of stress is to focus on the performed task. The women who practice the sport tend to focus on their emotions more often. Men cope with stress by choosing the behaviours characteristic of different strategies more frequently than women.

Key words: gender, judo, kyokushin karate, science of martial arts