The relatonship between the extent and intensity of stressful experiences of Canadian minor ice hockey officials

Kim Dorsch, University of Regina, Canada

Theme: Anxiety, stress, and emotions

Poster Number: 80

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Imagine a competitive arena where almost everyone has a negative perception of you. People are booing, questioning your actions, and yelling at you. This is reality for sport officials (Dorsch & Lawrence, 2011). For most this would not be an enticing environment to enter; one to avoid, considered too stressful. Yet, people still choose to officiate. So, how do officials perceive such situations? This study examined the extent to which stressors occur and the intensity of stress felt by Canadian minor ice hockey officials (N = 255) from four certification levels. Completion of the Hockey Officials’ Sources of Stress Inventory (Dorsch & Paskevich, 2007) provided the data for analysis. Overall, officials reported low to moderate feelings of stress with no significant differences across certification level. The extent to which the stressors were experienced did vary across the certification levels. The strongest practical implication of the research involves the significant Spearman’s rho correlations between the extent and felt intensity of the stressors at Levels 1 (rs = .52) and 2 (rs = .54), but not Levels 3 and 4 (rs < .26).. The relationships in the lower levels suggest that the stressors that are occurring most often are accompanied by a corresponding increase in the amount of stress felt. This could be an influential factor in decisions to discontinue involvement. The lack of a significant (or even substantial) relationship at the higher levels suggests that these officials may have already developed coping strategies to deal with the stressors. Future research needs to identify these strategies in order to benefit the development of educational tools particularly for those at the lower levels. Further implications for officiating training, development, and sport policy are discussed.

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