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    Testing the REBT-I model in athletes: investigating the role of self-confidence between irrational beliefs and psychological distress

    Mansell, Paul C and Turner, Martin ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1975-5561 (2022) Testing the REBT-I model in athletes: investigating the role of self-confidence between irrational beliefs and psychological distress. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 63. p. 102284. ISSN 1469-0292

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    Abstract

    Evidence suggests that, in the general population, instances of poor mental health have increased over recent years and are set to continue to grow. Athletes may experience a plethora of additional stressors, such as injury, de-selection, and competitive anxiety. Prior research has suggested that irrational beliefs may maladaptively influence an athlete’s wellbeing, but little is known about the role of self-confidence in these relationships. The present study aimed to examine the role which self-confidence plays as part of the REBT-I model in athletes. Broadly speaking, it was hypothesised that primary irrational beliefs would relate negatively to self-confidence through secondary irrational beliefs. In turn, self-confidence was hypothesised to relate negatively to competitive anxiety and depressive symptoms. Additionally, irrational beliefs were hypothesised to combine with low self-confidence to relate negatively to competitive anxiety and depressive symptoms. Four hundred and ten athletes (n = 227 females, Mage = 33.91 years, SD = 14.84) completed an online questionnaire pack assessing irrational beliefs, self-confidence, cognitive and somatic competitive anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Using path analysis, the tested hypothesised model demonstrated an excellent fit to the data. Findings demonstrate some support for the REBT-I model in that primary irrational beliefs predict competitive anxiety and depressive symptoms through secondary irrational beliefs. Results extend the REBT-I model by including self-confidence as a mediating factor between depreciation beliefs and competitive anxiety and depressive symptoms. Findings suggest practitioners should be aware of the role that irrational beliefs may have in negatively influencing self-confidence and subsequent depression symptomology in athletes.

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