Student athletes experience a variety of stressors from school and social activities, as well as the additional demands of sport participation. Mindfulness-based interventions can help increase mental awareness and acceptance, as well as mitigate negative thoughts and emotions. The use of mindfulness-based interventions may be beneficial for reducing thoughts of stress, injury reduction, and improving overall wellbeing.
Does the use of mindfulness-based interventions for student-athletes aged 13–24 years reduce stress and injury as well as improve overall quality of life?
Summary of Findings:
The literature was searched for studies that investigated the use of mindfulness-based strategies for student-athletes specifically for reducing stress and injury and/or improving quality of life. The literature search returned 8 possible studies related to the clinical question and 3 studies met the inclusion criteria (1 randomized control trial, 2 nonrandomized control cohort studies). All 3 included studies demonstrated overall improved levels of mindfulness among student-athletes after the use of a mindfulness-based intervention. Mindfulness-based interventions had positive effects for reducing negative thoughts and levels of perceived stress. The number of injury occurrences were found to decrease following the integration of a mindfulness-based intervention within an athletic population.
Clinical Bottom Line:
There is sufficient evidence supporting the use of mindfulness-based interventions with student-athletes for increasing mindfulness, managing negative emotions and perceived stress, as well as improving overall well-being. There is also current literature that advocates the use of mindfulness-based interventions for reducing injury, but further research is needed for support.
Strength of Recommendation:
Grade B evidence exists to support that the use of mindfulness-based interventions for student-athletes will reduce stress and improve overall well-being as well as support the possibility that if a student-athlete is more mindful, it may help decrease risk of injury incurred if the student-athlete is under mental stress.
The authors are with the Dept of Health and Nutritional Sciences, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD.