Influence of Variability in Motivation and Affect on Elite Athlete Burnout Susceptibility

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Pierre-Nicolas LemyreNorwegian University of Sport Science

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Darren C. TreasureCAI Performance Systems

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Glyn C. RobertsNorwegian University of Sport Science

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Forty-four elite swimmers (F = 19, M = 25) participated in the present study designed to examine shifts along the self-determined motivation continuum, as well as swings in negative and positive affect, to predict susceptibility to athlete burnout. Each week the participants were asked to record positive and negative affect states. Swimmers’ affect swing was calculated using mean intraindividual standard deviation scores as an indicator of intraindividual variance. Every third week the athletes’ level of self-determined motivation to participate in swimming was compiled on a self-determination index. A motivational trend slope for the whole season was computed for each swimmer. Results indicated that shifts in the quality of motivation were reliable predictors of all burnout dimensions. In addition, results of the regression analyses showed that swimmers experiencing increased variability in negative affect were more at risk for burnout. These two psychological constructs reliably predicted burnout potential in elite swimmers.

Sport and Exercise Psychology, Norwegian University of Sport Sciences, P.B. 4014 Ullevål Stadion, 0806 Oslo, Norway

CAI Performance Systems, 5518 East St. John Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

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