Assessing the Impact of Emotions on Performance in the Sport of Ultimate

Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Artur Poczwardowski

Second Advisor

Jonathan Duff


Emotions in sport, Performance functionality, Facilitative, Debilitative, Perceptions, Appraisals


Hanin (2000) and Lazarus (2000) established the principal emerging theories of emotion in sport. Both argued that an individual’s perceptions and appraisals of emotions have a significant influence on their performance. Subsequent research on the topic, however, either did not incorporate these theories, did not use objective measures of performance, or did not consider how emotions could fluctuate over the duration of competition. The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to objectively determine if perceived facilitative emotions are beneficial to performance, and (b) to create a more comprehensive examination of emotions impact on sport performance for future research. Three female collegiate athletes playing the sport of Ultimate participated in the study. First, participants partook in semi-structured group interview to determine which emotions they feel over the duration of competition, and which of those emotions they believed were facilitative (i.e., helpful) and debilitative (i.e., detrimental) for performance functionality. Next, participants were filmed in competition, and that film was spliced into short segments. Each segment then was sent to experts of Ultimate to objectively rate the performance. Data were analyzed through descriptive statistics and a one-sample t-test. Results indicated that the emotions athletes perceive to be facilitative yield higher performance ratings than emotions that are perceived to be debilitative. However, emotions that were rated neutral produced the highest overall performance scores by the raters, and the emotions impacted each individual athlete differently.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


31 pages

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