The Prevalence of Emotional Exhaustion in Professional and Semiprofessional Coaches

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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  • 1 Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  • | 2 Department of Educational Studies, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
  • | 3 Department of Coaching and Psychology, Norwegian School of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway
  • | 4 School of Science, Technology and Health, York St John University, York, United Kingdom
  • | 5 School of Health Sciences, School of Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
  • | 6 Faculty of Education Sciences & Sports, Vigo University, Vigo, Galicia, Spain
  • | 7 School of Informatics, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden
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The present study examined levels of emotional exhaustion, a key symptom of burnout, in Swedish professional and semiprofessional sport coaches in comparison to the normative values specified in the Maslach Burnout Inventory manual, and to the clinical cutoffs developed by Kleijweg, Verbraak, and Van Dijk. The sample contained 318 Swedish coaches (M age = 42.7 years, 12% female) working at least 50% full time away from both team (60%) and individual (40%) sports. Our study shows that, in general, coaches in this sample experience lower average levels of exhaustion than normative samples both regarding the Maslach Burnout Inventory and clinical cutoffs. Two groups of coaches did, however, stand out. Coaches living in single households as well as coaches working part time had higher risk of severe levels of emotional exhaustion. These results place coach exhaustion levels in relation to other occupations and highlight that in this sample, the coaching profession does not stand out as more emotionally exhausting than other occupations.

Lundkvist (erik.lundkvist@umu.se) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2869-8995.

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