Can emotive imagery aid in tolerating exertion efficiently?

D. Coote, G. Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background. The study examined the role of relaxation and aggressive types of imagery and the effect of goal orientations, self efficacy, self control, and determination on exertion tolerance. Methods. Experimental design: the participants underwent an exertive task in which they were required to squeeze a dynamometer, at 50% of their maximal hand-grip capacity, for as long as they could. Perceived exertion was measured every 15 sec during the task. The time that elapsed between rating exertion as 'strong', and dropping the handbar under 10% of the designated 50 % criterion, was considered as the 'zone of exertion tolerance'. Participants: forty-eight female university students were randomly assigned into 3 groups. Interventions: two imagery techniques, one under relaxing and one under aggressive conditions were taught and then applied. In the control condition, discussions were conducted. Measures: traits such as goal orientation (task and ego), physical self-efficacy and self-control were measured prior to performing the task, while rate of perceived exertion task-specific determination (i.e., task-related confidence, commitment, exertion tolerance, and effort investment) were measured before, during and after the task. Results. The results showed an average of 31% and 28% increase in exertion tolerance in participants who used aggressive and relaxation imagery techniques respectively, compared to 4% reduction in the controls. RM ANOVA indicated equality between the two imagery groups but both were significantly different from the control group. Physical self-efficacy, self-control, and task-specific determination were found nonsignificant, but their important roles in coping with aversive stimuli are highlighted. It was evident that the 'coping' mechanism rather than the 'distraction' mechanism accounted for the larger sustain in the 'zone of exertion tolerance'. Conclusions. Imagery can be used efficiently in exertion tolerance but more studies are needed on athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-354
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Achievement motivation
  • Exertion, physiology
  • Imagery psychotherapy


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