• Coping with Being Cut from the Team: Examining Grit, Resilience and Optimism in Response to Failure in College Athletes

      Gillespie, Janet; Gonzalez, Stephen; McNall, Laurel; Hayden, Dorian (2018-05-18)
      This research investigated the ways in which optimism, grit and resilience are related to academic success and athletic participation for college students after they have gone through a significant negative event in their sport. Participants between the ages of 18 to 25 were evaluated on grit, optimism, resilience and coping strategies through the Grit Scale, the Life Orientation Test, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and the Ways of Coping questionnaire. All individuals had been either cut from or left a collegiate sports team. Respondents also completed an informational demographics questionnaire assessing age, college grades, any ongoing participation in a sport, and appraisal of and attributions about the experience of leaving their team. It was predicted that individuals with higher levels of optimism, grit and resilience, as well as better coping skills, would achieve similar or better grades after than before leaving the team and would continue to participate in their chosen sport (in some role) following the experience of being cut. Results indicated that continued participation in sport was not associated with any of the proposed predictor variables, and assessment of changes in grades, unfortunately, could not be analyzed. In contrast, multiple significant relationships were found between resilience and coping mechanisms, in addition to aspects of attributional style. Furthermore, both resilience and a combination of resilience and grit, but not optimism, predicted adaptive coping strategies in participants. This study may help to further determine what helps individuals succeed after hardship, and also could help confirm the importance of both preparing sports participants for failure experiences and also supporting their subsequent efforts at success.