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What Is Personality?. The characteristics or blend of characteristics that make a person unique. What Makes Up Personality?. Psychological Core. The most basic and deepest attitudes, values, interests, motives, and self-worth of a person—the “real” person.

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What IsPersonality?

The characteristics or blend of characteristics that make a person unique.


Psychological Core

The most basic and deepest attitudes, values, interests, motives, and self-worth of a person—the “real” person.

Example:A person’s religious values


Typical Responses

The way one typically adjusts or responds to the environment.

Example:Being happy-go-lucky, shy


Role–Related Behavior

How one acts in a particular social situation.

Example:Behavior as a student, parent, or friend


Psychodynamic Approach

Behavior is determined by a number of unconscious, constantly changing factors that often conflict with one another. Emphasis is placed on understanding the person as a whole, rather than identifying isolated traits.


Trait Approach

Behavior is determined by relatively stable traits that are fundamental units of personality. These traits predispose one to act in a certain way, regardless of the situation.


Situational Approach

Behavior is determined largely by the situation or environment.


Interactional Approach

Behavior is determined by both the person and the situational factors, as well as by their interaction.


Research Support: The Bottom Line


Current impact. Considerable influence; adopted by most contemporary sport psychologists.

Weakness. None.

Contribution. Emphasizes the consideration of both trait and situational variables and their interaction.


Measuring Personality

Traits Versus States

Measure both traits and states.

Trait is a typical style of behavior.

State is the situation’s effects on behavior—a “right now” feeling that can change from moment to moment.


Measuring Personality

General Versus Situation– (Sport–) Specific Measures

Situation-specific trait tests predict behavior more accurately than do general trait measures.

It is often more effective to compare personality test scores relative to an individual’s own previous test results than with group norms.


Selected Findings in Personality Research

Some relationship exists between personality traits and states and sport performance, but it is far from perfect or precise.

No single definitive personality profile has been found that consistently distinguishes athletes from nonathletes.

Few personality differences are evident between male and female athletes.



Selected Findings in Personality Research

Type-A behavior patterns (particularly the anger-hostility component) are associated with cardiovascular disease and appear to be altered via exercise.

Exercise and increased fitness appear to be associated with increases in self-esteem, especially in low self-esteem individuals.


Cognitive Strategies and Athletic Success

Using positive imagery and thought

Exercising commitment and determination

Setting goals

Well-developed plans

Well-developed coping strategies


Implications for Athletic Trainers

Get to “know” your athletes before they become injured but if this is not possible, gather behavioral data from the individual and others who are familiar with them

Realize that individuals react differently in various situations

Vast changes from typical behavior should be noted – Intervene and make referrals when necessary