Cheerleading is a new sport, practiced in 110 nations; since 2016 enjoys provisional Olympic status. Its leaders claim that it is a “happy” sport, but research on its psychological effects is lacking. In this field-study we examined core-affect, positive-affect, and negative-affect in 65 cheerleaders before, during, after, and one-hour after a cheerleading training. Core-affect was more positive during and immediately after training, but it tapered off one hour following the training when feeling states were still more positive than at baseline. Negative-affect declined linearly from baseline to one-hour following training when it became significantly lower than its previous values. Positive-affect showed quadratic dynamics, in parallel with arousal, being higher during and immediately after training than during baseline, or one-hour after training. These results demonstrate for the first time that cheerleading is a “happy” sport, which apart from the skill-development also yields positive psychological emotions both during and after training.
Participants in the study were recreational runners who completed measures of their orientation to exercise, the Five Factor Model of personality, self-efficacy as a specific adaptation (a socio-cognitive construct of personality) and measures of subjective well-being (life satisfaction) and eudaimonic well-being (life engagement). Consistent with previous research, task-oriented (internally focused) motivation to exercise was positively related to extraversion and to conscientiousness, and ego-oriented (externally focused) motivation was positively related to extraversion. Also consistent with previous research, self-efficacy and measures of well-being were positively related to extraversion and conscientiousness. Mediational analyses found that well-being mediated relationships between task-oriented motives and both extraversion and conscientiousness. Self-efficacy mediated the relationship between ego-oriented motives and extraversion. The implications of these results for the study individual differences in exercise motivation are discussed.