Abstract: People's implicit beliefs of ability have been suggested as an antecedent of achievement goal adoption, which has in turn been associated with behavioural, cognitive and affective outcomes. This study examined a conditional process model with team sport athletes' approach-avoidance achievement goals as mediators between their implicit beliefs of sport ability and sport-related cognitive anxiety. We expected gender to moderate the paths from implicit beliefs of ability to approach-avoidance goals and from approach-avoidance goals to cognitive anxiety. Team sport athletes with a mean age of 20 years (163 females and 152 males) responded to questionnaires about their implicit beliefs of sport ability, approach-avoidance goals and sport-related cognitive anxiety. Incremental beliefs, gender and the interaction between them predicted mastery-approach goals. Gender also predicted mastery-avoidance goals, with females reporting higher levels than males. Mastery-avoidance goals, gender and the interaction between them predicted cognitive anxiety, with females reporting higher levels of anxiety than males. Entity beliefs positively predicted performance-avoidance goals and the interaction between performance-approach and gender predicted anxiety. The indirect effects also showed gender differences in relation to performance-approach goals. Taken together, our results suggest that coaches trying to create a facilitating climate for their male and female athletes may be wise to consider their athletes' anxiety and achievement goal patterns as these may affect both the athletes' well-being and performance.
Stenling, A., Hassmén, P., & Holmström, S. (2014). Implicit beliefs of ability, approach-avoidance goals and cognitive anxiety among team sport athletes. European Journal of Sport Science, 14(7), 720–729. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2014.901419