Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Coping methods of male and female NCAA Division I basketball referees under stressful game conditions

Stephen J Brennan, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Sports officiating, specifically college basketball officiating, has been identified as a stressful avocation. Because media coverage of NCAA Division I basketball has increased dramatically, scrutiny of the performance of male and female basketball referees has become more focused. The pressure to perform flawlessly during games has increased the stress level of referees. ^ The present study investigated in two phases the coping strategies of NCAA Division I male and female basketball referees under stressful game conditions. Two hundred twelve basketball referees (male N = 167: female N = 45) participated in the study. The data-collection instrument used in Phase I was the Coping Behaviors Survey-Form R. ^ The coping methods examined were emotional support, venting, humor, relaxation, positive self-talk, concentration, religion/spiritual beliefs, substance use, visualization/imagery and goal setting. A split-plot ANOVA and independent t-tests were utilized in Phase I for the statistical analyses of differences across gender, officiating and college basketball coaching experience, and level of education. ^ Males and females utilized the same coping methods of humor, emotional support, religion/spiritual beliefs, and mental toughness skills (positive self-talk, goal setting, visualization), with females utilizing the techniques more often. Less-experienced referees utilized religion/spiritual beliefs more often, and males who officiated women's games reported more emotional support. Level of education and college basketball coaching experience were non-factors. No difference was found in the use of the four techniques among males and females in east coast, Midwest, and west coast conferences. ^ Phase II of the study gathered qualitative responses of 30 referees (male N = 19; female N = 11). Males reported experiencing twice as many stress symptoms as females. Males took longer to fall asleep after a stressful game, and males and females experienced a stress-related illness late in the season. Positive self-talk was the most utilized and recommended coping technique. The practical applications of this study should be helpful regarding health-related issues for all sports officials. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Women's Studies|Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Industrial

Recommended Citation

Brennan, Stephen J, "Coping methods of male and female NCAA Division I basketball referees under stressful game conditions" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3034366.