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Demanding Success: Examining the Effects of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy on Performance-Related Outcomes

WOOD, Andrew George (2017) Demanding Success: Examining the Effects of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy on Performance-Related Outcomes. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach based on the premise that when faced with adversity, irrational beliefs determine unhealthy negative emotions and maladaptive behaviors, whereas rational beliefs lead to healthy and adaptive alternatives. Using the ABC(DE) model the process of REBT aims to dispute and replace irrational with rational beliefs, ultimately providing a model of human functioning. Although the detrimental effects of irrational beliefs on psychological health are established, less is known about the deleterious effects on human behavior and performance. The thesis adds to the extant literature in two ways. First, the primary aim of this thesis were to examine effects of REBT, and irrational and rational self-statements on performance-related outcomes. A secondary aim of the thesis was to provide an insight into the effective application of REBT with elite athletes, and those with a physical disability. Using the context of sport, five studies were conducted in this thesis. Three applied field-based studies were conducted in Part I, exploring the effects of REBT on psychological, physiological, and performance outcomes in elite athletes. The findings indicated the effects of REBT (i.e., irrational beliefs, self-efficacy, perception of control, physiological markers, and performance markers) were most evident when delivered to an athlete on an individual basis and with a greater number of sessions. Data also indicated when the delivery of REBT was individually specific and sufficient in dose the effects on IBs and associated outcomes were immediate and maintained, signifying a fundamental shift towards a rational view of adversity (e.g., failure, setbacks, and rejection). In Part II, two experimental studies were conducted to examine the effects of irrational and rational self-statements on markers of performance. In contrast to findings from Part I the results showed no distinction in psychological (anxiety), physiological (heart rate), cognitions (eye gaze data), and performance outcomes (BHT and HPT) between irrational and rational approaches to an acute competitive task. Collectively the thesis findings provide partial support to a growing evidence-base demonstrating the value of REBT as an effective means of enhancing an athlete’s psychological approach and response to adversity/challenge (e.g., competition). The findings also offer a nuanced view between IBs/RBs and maladaptive/adaptive responses to adversity, overcoming what appears to be an overly simplistic dichotomy depicted within previous literature that IBs hinder, whereas RBs are wholly adaptive towards performance. Meeting the second thesis aim, in Chapter 7 valuable professional practice insights into the effective application of REBT with elite athletes and those with a physical disability were discussed. Elite sport and performance contexts are inherent with challenges and practitioners would be prudent to balance the short and long-term benefits of REBT on performance, and the detrimental effects of IBs on psychological health. Ultimately, research that examines the efficacy of interventions originally conceived within clinical settings such as REBT mark a shift in perspective for effective psychological support and alter the boundaries of techniques available to practitioners. Limitations and recommendations for future researchers are provided.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Business, Leadership and Economics > Business, Management and Marketing
Depositing User: Jeffrey HENSON
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2018 13:47
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2018 12:09

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