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Adversarial Growth in Olympic Swimmers: Constructive Reality or Illusory Self-Deception?

Howells, Karen and Fletcher, David (2016). Adversarial Growth in Olympic Swimmers: Constructive Reality or Illusory Self-Deception? Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 38(2) pp. 173–186.

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Previous research suggests that adversarial growth is a real and constructive phenomenon that occurs in athletes who compete at the highest level of sport. In this study, however, we adopt a critical stance on the veridicality of growth by exploring Olympic swimmers’ experience of constructive and illusory growth. Semi-structured interviews, complemented by timelining, were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Despite the inherently negative aspects of adversity, it was evident from the swimmers’ interpretations that they also perceived positive consequences of their experiences. Analysis revealed that some of these positive outcomes were indicative of illusory aspects of growth, while other positive outcomes were more indicative of constructive aspects of growth. It appears that earlier phases of the growth process were characterized by more illusory aspects of growth, whereas when the temporal proximity from the adversity increased, more constructive aspects of growth are apparent.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
ISSN: 0895-2779
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Childhood Youth and Sport Group (CYSG)
Item ID: 45879
Depositing User: Karen Howells
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2016 10:39
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2016 11:58
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