Socio-psychological security of sporting students with health impairments

Dr.Sc. Psych., Associate Professor P.A. Kislyakov1
PhD, Associate Professor V.V. Pchelinova1
PhD, Associate Professor A.V. Kornev1
PhD, Associate Professor N.V. Karpova1
1Russian State Social University, Moscow

Keywords: socio-psychological security, communication, conflict tolerance, sporting students, disabled athletes.

Background. Sports are recognized an indispensable tool for physical rehabilitation and social adaptation of handicapped people. Well designed and managed adaptive sports are known to facilitate the physical, mental and functional progress of these health groups [8], and that is the reason why the competitive accomplishments in the modern adaptive sports largely depend on the athletes’ mental qualities and self-control skills as demonstrated by many studies of the mental conditioning tools for this health group. Training systems in adaptive sports need to be highly sensitive to the individual social/ personality qualities including the post-injury stressors and health disorders with the relevant mental pathologies and other conditions – and these issues need to be addressed by the relevant socio-psychological security systems [2, 7].

It should be mentioned that modern highly competitive environments expose handicapped athletes to multiple risks of manipulations; moral/ emotional/ mental pressures; potential attacks on the core personality values and priorities; aggression; emotional outbursts seeking to imbalance the competitor etc. [1, 5]. Incompetent or mismanaged individual socio-psychological security system may give rise to egocentrism, aggression, communicative disorders, dependence, compliance, cognitive disorders, indifference to competition, proneness to delegate the decision-making authority to the coach or other people etc. Such mental regresses and behavioral disorders may result in psychological helplessness, destructive behavior in conflict situations, personality deformations, severe dependencies up to parasitism, with serious detriments to the healthy sporting lifestyle cultivation efforts and the individual progress agendas.

Modern psychological security systems are geared to guarantee due balance of the key physical and mental functions, high competitiveness, good teamwork, moral stability, good emotional/ mental self-controls, positive mindsets, safe consciousness and wellness. As provided by Y.V. Vardanyan, an individual socio-psychological security system in sports will be designed for the athlete’s safety and psychological comfort cultivated by the stress prevention, mitigation and coping competences and skills critical for success in the training and competitive processes [1]. Well designed and managed socio-psychological security systems with their mental control toolkits will secure the best physical and mental fitness of the handicapped athletes to facilitate their education and training process and competitive progress [4].

Objective of the study was to to rate and analyze the socio-psychological security of sporting students with health impairments.

Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for the study were the 18-20 year old sporting students of Russian State Social University diagnosed with health disorders (n=19) who were tested by the following methods: N.P. Fetiskin, V.V. Kozlov and G.M. Manuylov Conflict Tolerance Express Test; N.P. Fetiskin, V.V. Kozlov and G.M. Manuylov Personality Egocentrism Test; I.D. Ladanov, V.A. Urazaeva Interpersonal Communicative Motivations Test; and the V.V. Boyko Integral Communicative Aggression Typing Test. The test data were complemented by the semi-structured interviews to analyze the athletes’ sport motivations; awareness of the modern socio-psychological security systems beneficial for them; stress tolerance and teamwork climate; and individual exposure/ sensitivity to psychological attacks and aggression.

Results and discussion. Most of the sample was tested with a fair conflict tolerance (50% and 20% with the moderate and high tolerance, respectively); albeit one of three was tested with low conflict tolerance; plus 40% of the sample was tested with the high levels of individual egocentrism with an excessive concentration on their own self and status – that makes them vulnerable in difficult life situations and, hence, the priority clients for the socio-psychological security system. Their conditions are further aggravated by the personal disability-specific mental disorders and certain degrees of social isolation in the everyday life and sporting communities. Therefore, ranked among the top priority individual socio-psychological security qualities should be the ability to construct efficient interpersonal relationship based on a trustful and friendly communication. The tests found the sample generally demonstrating fairly good and harmonic communicative skills and priorities including the preparedness to accept and understand counterpart and find compromises (with the communicative skills rated 50% medium and 30% high).

Aggressive behavior is known as one of the most dangerous forms of psychological pressure although it should be mentioned that many modern sport disciplines imply and tolerate certain physical and verbal aggression for success. Such aggression, however, is expected to be constructive and controlled enough by the well-developed volitional emotional balancing mechanisms as opposed to a spontaneous uncontrolled aggression [3]. Our tests found high aggression in 40% of the sample with the high degrees of spontaneous, uncontrolled (hardly distracted) aggression and auto-aggression. Many psychologists tend to connect such aggression in handicapped people with the polar self-conceptions (too positive or too negative), excessive anxiety, fears of social contacts, egocentrism, poor self-control in challenging situations, and domination of the self-protective mechanisms in the behavioral models. Therefore, sport trainings of such athletes should give a due priority to the self-control mechanisms to mitigate and cope with such spontaneous aggression and proneness to psychological pressure.

A comparative analysis of the test data using the Mann-Whitney U-criterion found such elements of the individual socio-psychological security system as immunity to egocentrism, aggression and conflicts to grow with age. A correlation analysis using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient found a few significant correlations between the following individual socio-psychological security rates: individual egocentrism and disguised cruelty (r=0.297, p≤0.001); aggression and conflict tolerance (r=-0.253, p≤0.006); and anxiety and emotional burnout (r=0.411, p≤0.001).

We made a factorial analysis of the empirical test data to find the following key socio-psychological security factors for success in disabled sports: low uncontrolled aggression, conflict tolerance, good communicative skills and low individual egocentrism (33.032%, 27.034%, 14.665% and 13.093% of the dispersion range, respectively).

Conclusion. Psychological support service in the modern adaptive sports shall give a high priority to the individual socio-psychological security skills formation in the handicapped athletes in the context of the relevant socializing/ communicative skills and qualities building components to develop efficient self-control and help establish a comfortable communication climate to improve the individual safety and socio-psychological wellness, excel the mental health standards, facilitate the harmonized personality development process, simplify the adaptation process and mitigate the de-adaptation and social isolation risks.

References

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Corresponding author: pack.81@mail.ru

Abstract

The study was designed to rate and analyze the socio-psychological security of sporting students with health impairments. Sampled for the study were the 18-20 year old sporting students of Russian State Social University diagnosed with health impairments (n=19) who were tested by the following methods: N.P. Fetiskin, V.V. Kozlov and G.M. Manuylov Conflict Tolerance Express Test; N.P. Fetiskin, V.V. Kozlov and G.M. Manuylov Personality Egocentrism Test; I.D. Ladanov, V.A. Urazaeva Interpersonal Communicative Motivations Test; and the V.V. Boyko Integral Communicative Aggression Typing Test. We made a factorial analysis of the empirical test data and analyzed the relevant theoretical and practical study materials to find that the socio-psychological security of disabled people is determined by the conflict tolerance, communication abilities, low aggression and low egocentrism test rates. Furthermore, our tests rated 30% of the sample with low conflict tolerance; 20% with the destructive communication patterns; and 40% with the high personality egocentrism and uncontrolled aggression. The study data and analysis showed the need for a psychological support service to the disabled athletes in the training and competitive process for their socio-psychological security, with the service geared to develop the relevant socializing skills, mental control and cognitive abilities for their social comfort and success.