Factors associated with helplessness among Japanese collegiate swimmers

Percept Mot Skills. 2004 Oct;99(2):581-90. doi: 10.2466/pms.99.2.581-590.


In this study the factors that lead to learned helplessness among Japanese collegiate swimmers were examined. Participants were 135 men and 72 women swimmers (ages 18 to 22 years). A Sports Attributional Style Scale measuring helplessness in performance and daily life was administered, and the participants were divided into two groups: those scoring high and low. Analysis indicated that (1) there was no significant correlation between helplessness scores and performance. (2) The group scoring high on learned helplessness reported a strong tendency towards helplessness not only in competitive life but also in daily life, which implied the generalization of helplessness. (3) The tendency to helplessness in performance was more closely related to the attributional style of positive events than negative events. In conclusion, some factors involved in helplessness among athletes can be explained by the theory of learned helplessness; however, some characteristics of athletes may be better described by attributional style in positive events.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Culture*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Helplessness, Learned*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Swimming / psychology*
  • Universities*