pattern was more consistent between training and competition for the higher level group
then for the lower level group. The researchers concluded that for the lower level
gymnasts to perform better in competition, they would need to decrease the arousal
discrepancy between training and competition. It was also noted that there was little
difference in the effort level for the higher level gymnasts between competition and
training, whereas there was a significant difference for the lower level group.
Arguably, the study that best supports the need for psychological testing of
competitive gymnasts was done to help understand why some gymnasts succeed and
others do not (Fitzpatrick, 1999). The study involved comparisons of elite and non-elite
level gymnasts, and found that the most commonly reported attributes for both
successful and unsuccessful performance outcomes were psychological factors.
Investigation of the types of causal attributions of 60 competitive gymnasts was
assessed by the Sport Attributional Style Survey (SASS; Hanrahan & Grove, 1990).
Causal attributions are inferences made about why something happened (LeUnes &
Nation, 2002). Results indicated that successful performances were rated as stable,
internal and controllable by the gymnasts. Up until this time, it was generally believed
that ability was the most common cause of successful outcomes and that unsuccessful
performance outcomes should result in unstable, external and uncontrollable
attributions (Weiner, 1985).
As is evident from the literature, the psychological characteristics of gymnasts
can have a profound influence on how they perform in their competitive careers. One
important question is which psychological inventory will best assess these