This study explored the role of trait emotional intelligence (EI) in emotion regulation and performance under pressure.
Twenty-eight tennis players performed two series of 35 serves, separated by a pressure manipulation. Reaction to pressure was assessed using both subjective (self-report emotion questionnaire) and objective (cortisol secretion, tennis serve success) measures.
The pressure manipulation was successful with observed increases in anxiety and decreases in self-confidence and tennis serve performance. Trait EI was found to predict cortisol secretion over state emotion measures. Performance under pressure was predicted by self-confidence and cortisol secretion, but not by trait EI.
These findings provide some preliminary evidence that trait EI and cortisol secretion are important in athlete responses to pressure situations.
- Trait and state