"Thinking for success": a cognitive restructuring intervention for female adolescent athletes
Adolescent girls have been shown to be at increased risk for experiencing depression (Atwater, 1996), emotional distress (Covey & Feltz, 1991), lower self-esteem (Bush & Simmons, 1987), and dissatisfied body image (Covey & Feltz, 1991). Female athletes are more likely to attribute successful outcomes to factors independent of themselves (e.g., luck rather than skill) (Hendy & Boyer, 1993). Such cognitive distortions provide an unrealistic framework from which girls evaluate themselves and situations in which they are involved. "Thinking for Success" is an intervention designed to provide adolescent girls with active strategies to overcome self-defeating cognitions. The intervention was conducted with a sample of 32 female-adolescent athletes on a cross-country team. Results suggested that the intervention improved participants' levels of self-efficacy for improving their body image, coping with daily life stress, managing cross-country and physical-fitness abilities, and implementing workshop skills. There was a suggestive, but nonsignificant, trend for lowered trait anxiety. Skills taught throughout the intervention, and level of efficacy for practicing said skills, significantly predicted this decline in trait anxiety. Contrary to expectations, athletic performance was not affected by intervention participation. Power analyses indicated that the current sample size was sufficient to detect only large effects. A larger sample size would have been required to detect small or medium effects.