A Longitudinal Examination of Stress and Mental Ill-/Well-Being in Elite Football Coaches

in The Sport Psychologist

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Lee BaldockUniversity of South Wales, Pontypridd, United Kingdom

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Brendan CropleyUniversity of South Wales, Pontypridd, United Kingdom

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Stephen D. MellalieuCardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom

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Rich NeilCardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom

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A novel concurrent, independent mixed-methods research design was adopted to explore elite association football coaches’ stress and mental ill-/well-being experiences over the course of an entire season. Elite coaches (N = 18) completed measures of perceived stressor severity, coping effectiveness, and mental ill-/well-being, with a sample (n = 8) also participating in semistructured interviews, across four time points. Linear mixed-model and retroductive analyses revealed (a) lower mental well-being at the beginning of the season due to negative appraisals/responses to stressors and ineffective coping attempts, (b) higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalization at the end of the season, (c) stressors high in severity led to decreased mental well-being (unless coaches coped effectively) and increased symptoms associated with burnout, and (d) ineffective coping attempts led to increased emotional exhaustion. These findings offer novel insight into the specific components of elite football coaches’ stress experiences influencing their mental ill-/well-being over time.

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