The Emotional Needs of Women in Sports: An Exploration of Self-Efficacy, Self-Compassion, and Self-Conscious Emotions

Ginger S. Gummelt – Lamar University


This study examined the self-efficacy, self-conscious emotions, and self-compassion of women college athletes. While female athletes may benefit greatly from the athletic experience, little research has been done to address their emotional and mental well-being. Self-efficacy and the self-conscious emotions have been shown to be tied to both athletic success and emotional wellbeing while self-compassion has been identified as an effective tool for enhancing psychological well-being, particularly in athletes (Mosewich, Crocker, Kowalski, & DeLongis, 2013). In order to measure shame, a version of the Test of Self-Conscious Affect (Tangney & Dearing, 2003), was administered to volunteer subjects. Self-efficacy was measured using the Physical SelfEfficacy Scale (McAuley & Gill, 1983; Ryckman, Robbins, Thornton, & Cantrell, 1982) and selfcompassion was measured using the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003b). Results indicate that athletes experience an increased amount of self-conscious emotions and identify less self-efficacy than non-athletes. Practice implications for clinicians, coaches and athletes are explored with a focus on the specific needs of women in sports.