Perceptions of teammates and training load have been shown to influence athletes’ physical and psychological health; however, limited research has investigated these factors in relation to burnout. Athletes (N = 140) from a variety of competitive team sports, ranging in level from regional to professional, completed questionnaires measuring individual burnout, perceptions of teammates’ burnout, and training hours per week on two occasions separated by three months. After controlling for burnout at time one, training hours were associated with athletes’ burnout and perceptions of teammates’ burnout at time two. Multilevel modeling indicated actual team burnout (i.e., the average burnout score of the individual athletes in a team) and perceived team burnout were associated with individual’s own burnout. The findings highlight that burnout is dynamic and relates to physiological stressors associated with training and psychological perceptions of teammates’ burnout. Future research directions exploring potential social influences on athlete burnout are presented.
Ralph Appleby, Paul Davis, Louise Davis, and Henrik Gustafsson
Marcus Börjesson, Carolina Lundqvist, Henrik Gustafsson, and Paul Davis
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of flotation REST upon skilled and less skilled golfers’ anxiety in terms of physiological indicators of stress, self-rated anxiety scores, muscle tension, and the effect on golf putting. Prior to performing the putting task participants underwent a treatment of flotation REST or a period of resting in an armchair. Participants completed both treatments in a randomized order with a two-week interval. The results showed that both flotation REST and the armchair treatment reduced systolic blood pressure and heart rate, with no differences between treatments or athlete skill levels. No significant differences between treatments were revealed regarding self-ratings, level of muscle tension or putting precision. The results indicate that flotation REST may be useful for reducing negative symptoms related to stress and anxiety in general; however, no support for direct positive effects on golf performance were found.
Jens Van Lier and Filip Raes
The way athletes prospect future success or failure following a single success or failure is called “generalization”. This study examined the roles of an abstract “why” vs. a concrete “how” processing style on athletes’ generalization to future performances and to their self-concept (N = 668). We hypothesized that athletes in the “why” condition would show more negative/positive generalization. We also explored the impact of how individuals in the “why” condition attributed their success or failure performance. There was no main difference between processing styles but athletes with more functional attributions showed more positive generalization and athletes with more dysfunctional attributions showed more negative generalization. These results show that attributions could be driving the effects of an abstract “why” processing style on generalization. For athletes with an elevated depression score it might be particularly important to focus on generalizations following success and train these athletes to make functional attributions.
Trisha Patel and Neeru Jayanthi
Single sport specialization has been associated with injury risk and burnout. However, there is no known previous qualitative research regarding health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of single sport and multi-sport young athletes and their parents. In order to better understand the perceptions of these potential risks of youth sports specialization, a qualitative parent-child study of specialized young athletes was performed. Thirty-six families (50 young athletes and 42 parents) participated in this study by completing an interview about their sports participation. Twenty-seven of these families completed the PROMIS (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System) questionnaire, assessing quality of life. Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) scores were high in all young athlete and parent categories with no significant differences (p = .96) in quality of life between single (specialized) and multi-sport young athletes and their respective parents (p = .17). Qualitative analysis of interviews highlighted the positive perception of sports and parents’ concern regarding sports specialization. Thus, although no quality of life differences were found based on sport specialization, the highly positive quality of life scores suggest a benefit of sports despite specialization.
Justine J. Reel, Leslie Podlog, Lindsey Hamilton, Lindsey Greviskes, Dana K. Voelker, and Cara Gray
Dancers, like athletes, frequently endure injuries and disordered eating as a result of performance-specific demands. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between severe injuries and disordered eating from the perspectives of female professional dancers. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 female professional dancers ages 18–38 (M = 23; SD = 6.2) whose dance participation was suspended for 4–36 weeks (M = 12.69; SD = 10.09) due to a dance-related injury. We adopted a social constructivist stance to view the experiences of dancers through the lens of a phenomenon highly influenced by environmental and cultural factors. A thematic analysis yielded five themes including negative emotions associated with injury, anxiety and uncertainty around future involvement, modifications in nutritional intake (e.g., reduction of calories), coping with injury, and the need for an effective and holistic injury rehabilitation program.
Sarah A. McGraw, Christopher R. Deubert, Holly Fernandez Lynch, Alixandra Nozzolillo, Lauren Taylor, and I. Glenn Cohen
This qualitative study examined how NFL players and their family members characterized the impact of an NFL career on the mental and emotional health of NFL players. We interviewed 25 NFL players (23 former and 2 current) and 27 family members (24 wives and 3 others) to elicit players’ experiences during and following their time in the NFL. While players experienced positive outcomes from their careers, they also described important mental health challenges including feelings of depression, loneliness, and stress. Many of their concerns during their careers were linked to anxiety about job performance and job security. Post-career concerns were linked to loss of social identity and connections. Players had difficulty finding help for their concerns. We conclude with eight recommendations, including improved resources, confidentiality, and support.
Matthew D. Bird, Graig M. Chow, Gily Meir, and Jaison Freeman
This study investigated differences in stigmatization by others, self-stigma, and attitudes (value and discomfort) toward online counseling (OC) and face-to-face counseling (F2F), and the relationships between these variables, in college student-athletes (n = 101) and non-athletes (n = 101). Results revealed no differences in levels of stigmatization by others and self-stigma between student-athletes and non-athletes. Furthermore, both groups reported higher value, and less discomfort, in F2F compared to OC, while non-athletes reported higher levels of value in F2F compared to student-athletes. A multiple group path analysis revealed no difference in the relationship of the stigma and attitudes variables between the two groups. Stigmatization by others was a significant positive predictor of self-stigma and value in OC. In addition, self-stigma was a significant negative predictor of value in F2F, and a significant positive predictor of discomfort in F2F. The current findings have implications for university counseling centers and athletic departments.
Michelle L. Bartlett, Mitch Abrams, Megan Byrd, Arial S. Treankler, and Richard Houston-Norton
The State Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2 (STAXI-2) is one of the most widely used anger assessments in the clinical psychology literature. It describes multiple facets of anger including: state/trait anger levels, experience of anger, anger expression, and anger control. Prior to this study, normative data was lacking for college athletes. Without normative data established, it was difficult to accurately compare the scores of college athletes to a relevant comparison group, and thus, difficult to effectively assess athletes presenting with anger issues. This study provides normative data for college athletes (N = 534), as well as an examination of anger differences between gender and compared with a “non-specfic adult” population. Male college athletes scores indicated higher anger levels on several scales, demonstrating scores indicative of being more likely to express anger and less likely to manage feeling angry and expressing anger than both the normal population and female college athletes.
Brad Donohue, Yulia Gavrilova, Marina Galante, Elena Gavrilova, Travis Loughran, Jesse Scott, Graig Chow, Christopher P. Plant, and Daniel N. Allen
Athletes experience unique stressors that have been indicated to compromise their mental wellness and sport performance, yet they underutilize mental health services. Indeed, very few mental health interventions for athletes have been developed to fit sport culture, and well-controlled mental health outcome research in athlete populations is warranted. In this randomized controlled trial, a sport specific optimization approach to concurrent mental health and sport performance (The Optimum Performance Program in Sports; TOPPS) was examined. Seventy-four collegiate athletes (NCAA = 42; club = 11; intramural = 21) formally assessed for mental health diagnostic severity were randomly assigned to TOPPS or campus counseling/psychological services as usual (SAU) after baseline. Dependent measures assessed general mental health, mood, mental health factors affecting sport performance in training, competition and life outside of sports, days using substances, sexual risk behaviors, happiness in relationships, relationships affecting sport performance, and contributions of relationship to sport performance. Intent to treat repeated measures analyses indicated that participants in TOPPS consistently demonstrated better outcomes than SAU up to 8-months post-randomization and for mental health/substance use measures, particularly when diagnostic criteria were most severe. Recommendations are provided in light of the results to assist sport-specific mental health intervention development and implementation within athlete populations.