Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology

Measure of Attentional Focus:
Cognitive Interviews and a Field Study

Steven R. Wininger & Diana E. Gieske
Western Kentucky University


Many different measures have been used to investigate the content of persons’ attentional focus during exercise. Attentional focus has typically been divided into two categories: association and dissociation. Subsequent researchers suggested adding an internal/external dimension. We proposed a number of changes regarding how to measure attentional focus, including additional subcategories and a new measure: Measure of Attentional Focus (MAF). Previous research was discussed in order to establish the rationale for the development of the various components of this measure. Cognitive interviews with coaches and athletes were conducted before finalizing the MAF. Finally, results from a field study employing the MAF are reported. Two hundred and twenty-seven participants completed the MAF following a 5k race or routine workout. The validity of the MAF was examined, and comparisons were made between the results based on the MAF and the traditional dichotomized model of attentional focus. Novel descriptive and correlational findings afforded by the new attentional focus measurement approach are discussed. Last, limitations and practical applications are delineated.

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ISSN 1536-0431