Personal and Situational Influences on Adherence to Mental Skills Training

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Stephen J. Bull Brighton Polytechnic

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Adherence to mental-skills training has received little empirical investigation despite the recent growth and development in applied sport psychology services. The present study was designed to identity personal and situational variables influencing adherence to a mental training program. Volunteer athletes (N=34) were given a 4-week educational program before being left to train on their own for an experimental period of 8 weeks. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three treatment intervention conditions (control, written reminders, and group meetings) designed to influence adherence behavior. Results demonstrated the influence of self-motivation in predicting mental-training adherence, but the interventions had no significant effect. Adherence levels were generally low but variable between athletes. Interviews with the athletes indicated the need for individualization of training programs, and problems of time constraints were identified as being influential in the adherence process. Comparable athletes (N—18) who chose not to volunteer for the mental training program were psychometrically tested and demonstrated lower sport motivation than the volunteer athletes but greater skill in concentration.

Stephen J. Bull is with the Chelsea School of Human Movement at Brighton Polytechnic, Gaudick Road, Eastbourne, BN20 7SP, England.

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