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Psychological Crisis in a Marathon and the Buffering Effects of Self-Verbalizations1


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    The authors thank Chantal Roth and Rosina Maag for their help with data collection.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Julia Schüler, Department of Psychology, University of Zürich, Binzmühlestrasse 14/6, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland. E-mail:


In the present study, we investigated the effects of psychological crises on goal striving and the buffering effects of self-verbalizations in the context of a marathon race. Study 1 showed that during a marathon, a psychological crisis—which is characterized by a strong impulse of goal disengagement and thoughts about benefits and costs—occurred at about Kilometer 30 and that this crisis had negative effects on race performance. Study 2 experimentally induced the use of self-verbalizations. The results confirmed the hypothesis that self-verbalizations are an effective strategy to buffer against negative effects of psychological crisis on race performance. Self-verbalizations are discussed as a general self-regulatory tool in goal striving.