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Performing Arts Psychology has recently emerged as a unique subspecialty comparable to that of Sports Psychology. Attention has been focused on problems common to all performers (e.g., performance anxiety); however, the various stresses within each art form often remain hidden from view. To assess the psychological aspects of different art forms, this study compared two groups of professionals in dance and music. Dancers were members of two national ballet companies and had achieved either soloist or principal status. Musicians were violinists and violists who performed in a variety of solo positions. Performers (N=48) completed demographic information and were then administered measures of personality and occupational stress, strain, and coping. The results revealed that the dancers were less educated than the musicians, a fact that can lead to problems with career transitions. Dancers also experienced greater occupational stress due to conflicting demands from their dance supervisors and unclear professional evaluations. Musicians, who are subjected to an enforced equality between the sexes, reported more interpersonal strain. Negative personality traits (e.g., hostility) were present in both professions, but were highlighted in male performers. The men used fewer rational/cognitive coping skills, had less social support, and reported more symptoms associated with poor health. These data suggest that job-related stress varies according to the art form and that male performers may be less able to cope effectively. (Author/NB)

Descriptors: Anxiety, Coping, Dance, Fine Arts, Hostility, Music, Musicians, Performance, Personality Traits, Sex Differences, Social Support Groups, Stress Variables

Autor: Hamilton, Linda H.; Kella, John J.


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