Research Topic

Affect in Sports, Physical Activity and Physical Education

About this Research Topic

Affect is a central theme of scientific inquiry in Psychology, since its earliest debut. In recent years, a substantial progress has been made to deepen our knowledge of how affective states (i.e., basic affect, emotions, mood) influence our lives. As sports represent highly emotional affairs, this additional ...

Affect is a central theme of scientific inquiry in Psychology, since its earliest debut. In recent years, a substantial progress has been made to deepen our knowledge of how affective states (i.e., basic affect, emotions, mood) influence our lives. As sports represent highly emotional affairs, this additional knowledge across several scientific disciplines has the potential to stimulate research in the fields of Sport, Exercise and Health Psychology including competitive sports, physical activity, and physical education.

It is well known that affective processes can either stimulate optimal sport performance or completely disrupt it. Since the first studies in sport psychology, the relationship between emotional processes and performance was speculated. At the turn of the 20th century, Yerkes and Dodson framed the relationship between arousal and performance, which resembles a bell-shaped curve. Subsequent theorists have refined this image. However, since then, little research has been conducted to test these theoretical assumptions. Recent developments in emotion research have not yet been translated to the field of Sport Psychology.

In contrast, a connection between affective science, exercise, and physical activity has been finding its way into the field exercise psychology. On one hand, physical activity can have positive effects on our mood and emotional states, leading to the consideration of exercise as a tool to deal with affective disorders and anxiety. On the other hand, different affective states during physical activity might be determinants of physical activity. For instance, if we have a good feeling during exercise the probability for long-term maintenance increases.

Physical education is for many children, a first step towards an active lifestyle. Positive and negative experiences in physical education can influence motivation to engage in physical activities across settings. A variety of affect-related constructs from pride to enjoyment, shame and embarrassment are reported in physical education. However, little is known on how these feelings develop, what the antecedents are and what consequences emerge for students.

The dynamics of affective processes do not only influence students but also teachers who have the responsibility to manage the emotions of a whole class. This could result in teachers' anxiety, stress, and burnout.

We encourage contributors to address the complex relationships between affect, emotion, and sports through new quantitative measures, development of new theoretical paradigms as well as innovative research designs and interventions, such as ambulatory assessment, objective measures of affective states, physical activity and sport performance, application of qualitative research designs or mixed methods. In this Research Topic, we particularly welcome contributions that answer the following questions related to the different fields discussed above:

Sport Psychology
• How does affect influence sport performance?
• How can affect be regulated to optimize performance?

Exercise Psychology
• What are the antecedents and determinants of affective process in physical activity?
• What is the relationship between affective processes during physical activity and the development of an active lifestyle?
• How can affective processes be influenced in order to promote an active lifestyle?

Physical Education
• What are the antecedents and consequences of affective process in physical education for students and teachers?
• Which emotional competencies are required to successfully cope with challenges in physical education?
• Are there physical education curricula that can promote positive affect and a healthy lifestyle?


Keywords: emotions, affective states, sports, physical activity, exercise


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31 May 2020 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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