Association-dissociation patterns of United States Olympic Marathon Trial contestants

Abstract

The association-dissociation cognitive patterns of United States Olympic Marathon Trial contestants were investigated on the basis of responses to the Running Styles Questionnaire. The night prior to the Olympic Trials, 32 subjects responded to 12 multiple-choice-type questions and 6 open-ended questions that probed the type of cognitions processed by the athletes at different stages of the race. Discriminant function analysis resulted in a significant multivariate solution (p <.01), with 5 of the 12 multiple-choice questions maximizing the separation of athletes into groups of top- and lower-place finishers. The composite of these 5 questions suggested that top finishers employed cognitive strategies that utilized both associative and dissociative techniques. Lower finishers demonstrated a composite that indicated the early adoption and maintenance of a dissociative strategy. On the basis of the multivariate solution, athletes were classified to appropriate group membership with 71.88% overall accuracy. The results tend to support the contention that cognitive strategies employed during marathon racing are related to the participant's performance level.

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Correspondence to John M. Silva III.

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Silva, J.M., Appelbaum, M.I. Association-dissociation patterns of United States Olympic Marathon Trial contestants. Cogn Ther Res 13, 185–192 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173272

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Key words

  • sport psychology
  • cognitive styles
  • association-dissociation patterns
  • psychology of marathoners