Date of Award

8-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Jacob Levy

Committee Members

Barbara Murphy, Eric Sundstrom, Gina Owens

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of burnout in adolescent/young adult performing arts (i.e. a World-Class junior drum & bugle corps) at the beginning of their competitive training season. Specifically, this study took particular interest in investigating the predictive influence of psychological variables such as performance anxiety, psychological coping skills, and coping functions in predicting who was more prone to burnout as well as who returned or dropped out after the competitive season.

Data were drawn from an archive of 144 drum corps performers, representing one world class drum and bugle corps at the beginning of their competitive summer training and season. Findings revealed that performance anxiety and psychological coping skills were significant predictors of burnout in performing artists and accounted for 36% of the variance in burnout. Specifically, the psychological coping skill of coachability significantly predicted burnout above and beyond the other five psychological skills measured. Findings also demonstrated that burnout (specifically, reduced sense of accomplishment) and the psychological coping skill of confidence both significantly predicted performers who continued on to the next season. Together, burnout and psychological coping skills accounted for 15% of the variance on continuation.

The results of this study offer valuable contributions to the research in this area as no study has examined burnout, psychological coping, performance anxiety, and continuation within this particular performing arts setting. Practical implications include interventions which address early symptoms of performance anxiety and burnout. Instructors may also intervene by building their performer’s confidence levels throughout the season as well as adjusting coaching styles to meet the needs of at risk performers. This may not only reduce burnout symptoms, but influence whether a performer continues or drops out the next season.

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