Are the causes assigned to unsatisfactory performance related to the intensity of emotions experienced after competition?
This study explored the relationship between attributions and emotional responses to poor performance in golf. On the day of an important regional competition, 86 golfers reported their emotional states prior to competition and completed measures of attribution and emotion immediately after the competition. Our findings showed that after unsatisfactory performance, anger and dejection were significantly elevated whereas excitement and happiness were significantly reduced from pre-competition levels. Causal attributions contributed to the intensity of these emotions. High levels of anger emerged when poor performance was attributed internally, and intensified when the cause was also perceived as relatively stable over time. Golfers also reported higher levels of dejection and lower levels of happiness when the causes of poor performance were perceived as personally controllable and unstable than when the causes were perceived as personally controllable and stable. Our findings suggest that golfers' emotions are intricately linked with the explanations provided for poor performance. In order to create effective emotion regulation interventions, sport psychology consultants should first consider the interactive nature of attribution dimensions.