Psychological Characteristics of Elite and
Non-Elite Level Gymnasts. (December 2003)
Steven B. Waples, B.S., Washington State University;
S., Washington State University;
S., Washington State University
Chair of Advisory Committee: Dr. Carl Gabbard
Literature has indicated that there are psychological characteristics in elite
athletes of various sports that are significantly different than those of non-elite level
The purpose of this study was to discover the different psychological
characteristics associated with elite level gymnasts, and contrast the results with
psychological characteristics of competitive gymnasts of other levels using the Athletic
Coping Skills Inventory-28.
Participants in this study were 195 gymnasts from gymnastics training centers
throughout the United States. Results indicated that there was a significant difference
in the Personal Resources Score (PCR) between the elite gymnast and all other levels.
Furthermore, a significant difference was demonstrated among four of the seven sub-
scales making up the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28. The study supports the
hypothesis that the psychological make-up of “elite” level gymnasts is different than
that of other competitive gymnastics levels.