Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Choke artists and clutch performers: A Critical Interpretive Synthesis
by Schroerlucke, David, Psy.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2015, 243; 3643162
Abstract (Summary)

The colloquial phrases "choke artist" and "clutch performer" are used to refer to individuals who have a tendency to falter or excel, respectively, when performing under pressure conditions. The objective of this study was to conduct a broad survey of the extant literature on the topic of performance under pressure and to offer a Critical Interpretive Synthesis (CIS) of that literature. The output of this project was multi-faceted and included an organized exposition and coarse-grained critical analysis of the literature on performance under pressure, an interpretive synthesis containing multiple suggestions for improving the literature base, and a reflexive account of the experimental use of the CIS methodology.

The critical analysis centered on a critique of the field's predominantly positivistic approach, which has produced a fragmented and ambiguous literature pervaded by enduring difficulties across the domains of conceptualization, research, theory, and practice. The interpretive synthesis was subsequently organized around the theme of advocating for a more balanced and integrative approach to both inquiry and intervention that honors the inevitable role of subjectivity in the pressure-performance relationship.

Specific suggestions for improving the literature base included incorporating a subjective self-assessment component into the operational definition of choking, complementing experimental studies with more qualitative and mixed-methods research, constructing interactional theories of choking that consider the important role of context and meaning-making, and treating athletes and performers more holistically by focusing on personal development and overall well-being in addition to teaching psychological skills.

Perhaps the most provocative suggestion to emerge from the present synthesis is that, as part of a more integrative and holistic approach to psychological training for sport and performance, the Western academic and applied sport psychology communities should begin to look beyond the relaxation and concentration benefits of Eastern mindfulness practices in order to bring into view the potentially broader benefits of the ego-transcendent functions of the spiritual traditions from which these practices derive.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Echenhoffer, Frank
Commitee: Bach, Lee G.
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Kinesiology, Clinical psychology, Occupational psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Choking, Clutch, Performance, Pressure, Sport, Zen
Publication Number: 3643162
ISBN: 978-1-321-30456-5
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