The conspicuous absence of validated screening measures specific to mental health symptomology in collegiate athletes has negatively affected clinical practice in this population. Therefore, this study was performed to develop a sport specific measure to optimally identify collegiate athletes who are particularly likely to benefit from mental health programming. Participants were 289 collegiate-athletes who were assessed for mental health symptomology using the Global Severity Index of Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (GSI), factors that interfere with sport performance using the Problems in Sport Competition Scale (PSCS) and Problems in Sport Training Scale (PSTS), and motivation to pursue professional counseling using the Desire to Pursue Sport Psychology Scale (DSPS). As hypothesized, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that PSCS, PSTS and DSPS scores significantly predicted GSI scores, controlling gender and sport status (NCAA, club, intramural). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis indicated that high-risk athletes (GSI T-scores ≥ 60) could be correctly classified by PSTS and PSCS scores. Results suggest the PSCS and PSTS may assist identification of collegiate athletes who are especially appropriate for mental health programs. These scales additionally identify factors directly relevant to athletes’ sport performance.
Bradley Donohue, Marina Galante, Julia Maietta, Bern Lee, Nina Paul, Joanne E. Perry, Arianna Corey, and Daniel N. Allen
Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Stinne Soendergaard, and Yanyun Yang
This manuscript seeks to offer insight about how coaches can better address drinking among collegiate student-athletes. Using a mixed-methods design, 519 NCAA coaches reported their attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking, and responded to open-ended questions about their perceived role, strategies, and challenges to addressing problems in this population. Three dimensions of coaches’ attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking emerged that were consistent regardless of the players’ or coach’s gender or division: Concerned Communication, Conditional Leniency, and Enforcement. Effective strategies identified by coaches included enforcement of policy, education about consequences of drinking, establishment of quality coach-athlete relationships, and management of athletes’ schedules. Coaches indicated the need to play a role in managing, educating, influencing, and supporting the student-athletes to prevent alcohol misuse. Coaches reported challenges regarding the culture of drinking on college campuses, individual differences (e.g., age) among student-athletes, acceptance and enforcement of the alcohol policy, lack of awareness about student-athletes’ activities, and identification of alcohol misuse.
Steven Love, Lee Kannis-Dymand, and Geoff P. Lovell
This study investigated triathletes’ metacognitions and mindfulness traits (N = 232) measured prior to competition, and flow (N = 63), post competition. The primary aim was to investigate whether metacognitions (measured by the Metacognitions Questionnaire) would associate with mindfulness facets (measured by the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire – Short Form), and metacognitions would also predict flow scores (measured by the Short Flow State Scale), over and above mindfulness facets. Regression analyses showed that metacognitions individually predicted mindfulness facets. A hierarchical regression showed that positive beliefs about worry negatively predicted flow, while a lack of cognitive confidence, beliefs about the need for thought control and acting with awareness positively predicted flow. These findings indicate that a) metacognitive beliefs are influential to cognitive predispositions, b) typically dysfunctional metacognitions may play a different role in competitive environments, and c) metacognitions may play a more important role in the occurrence of flow, than mindfulness.
Carol R. Glass, Claire A. Spears, Rokas Perskaudas, and Keith A. Kaufman
College is a stressful time for many students, including student-athletes, who may benefit from mindfulness interventions focusing on present-moment awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance. Mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) has shown promise in previous open trials for promoting both athlete well-being and psychological factors related to sport performance, and this first randomized controlled trial of MSPE was conducted with mixed-sport groups of 52 NCAA Division III student-athletes. Each of the six sessions included educational, discussion-based, experiential, and home practice components, with meditation exercises progressing from sedentary mindfulness to mindfulness in motion. Whereas wait-list controls showed significant increases in depressive symptoms, those who received MSPE evidenced non-significant reductions in depressive symptoms over the course of treatment. Furthermore, once controls had also received MSPE, treatment completers (the 41% who attended at least five of six MSPE sessions) demonstrated significant increases in flow, trait mindfulness, satisfaction with life, and self-rated sport performance, along with reductions in worry, with medium to large effect sizes. There were no significant changes for treatment completers from post-treatment to 6-month follow-up, suggesting that improvements were maintained over time.
Alessandro Quartiroli, Edward F. Etzel, Sharon M. Knight, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek
Experienced and senior sport psychology practitioners achieved longevity in effective professional practice by embracing sustainable approaches to their profession, assumed to be influenced by their positive professional quality of life. The aim of this study was to gain insight into how these practitioners defined and attended to their profession-specific quality of life. Utilizing Consensual Qualitative Research method, researchers examined the perceptions and meanings that 20 internationally located practitioners attributed to their Sport Psychology-Professional Quality of Life (SP-PQL). Findings revealed a view of SP-PQL that encompassed five domains: (a) the lived experience of SP-PQL, (b) the nature of the SP profession, (c) SP-PQL as an ongoing journey, (d) deliberate engagement in the SP profession, and (e) the interconnection between the personal and the professional. These practitioners recognized the importance of a positive SP-PQL as a foundation for a positive, effective, and long-lasting career in the field.
Emily Kroshus, Jessica Wagner, David L. Wyrick, and Brian Hainline
This study sought to determine whether completion of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s “Supporting Student-Athlete Mental Wellness” online module for coaches increased mental health literacy, reduced stigma, and increased intentions to: 1) communicate proactively with team members about the importance of mental health care seeking, and 2) respond appropriately to support an athlete believed to be struggling with a mental health issue. College head coaches completed pre-test surveys (n = 969) and immediate post-test surveys (n = 347, completion rate = 36%). Module completion was associated with increased mental health literacy, decreased stigma about help seeking and increased intentions to engage in culture setting communication. These findings suggest that the online module is a good start for coach education about mental health; however, additional modifications may be warranted to the extent coach referral to sports medicine staff or provision of emotional support to student-athletes struggling with mental health concerns are considered desired behaviors.
Byron L. Zamboanga, Nathan T. Kearns, Janine V. Olthuis, Heidemarie Blumenthal, and Renee M. Cloutier
Drinking games (DGs) participation is prevalent among college-attending emerging adults. Research also suggests that student-athletes play DGs more frequently than non student-athletes, but what motivates student-athletes to participate in DGs is not well understood. Using data from a larger longitudinal study with Division III female athletes, we examined the test-retest reliability and minimal detectable change of the revised 7-factor Motives for Playing Drinking Games (MPDG) measure, and explored how its subscales were related to DGs behavior across two annual timepoints (n = 49). Results indicated that the MPDG shows adequate test-retest reliability over a one year period among student-athletes. Controlling for age and general alcohol consumption, conformity motives were positively associated with DG consumption at timepoint 1, whereas the DG motives of enhancement/thrills and boredom were positively related to DG consumption at timepoint 2. Implications for future research directions on motives for playing DGs and DGs behavior among student-athletes are discussed.
Monna Arvinen-Barrow, Kelsey DeGrave, Stephen Pack, and Brian Hemmings
The purpose of this study was to document the lived experiences of professional cricketers who had encountered a career-ending non-musculoskeletal injury. Three male cricketers each with over nine years of playing experience in professional cricket representing England and Wales participated in retrospective in-depth semi-structured interviews. The Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis revealed that at the time of the injury, the participants were at the “final stretch” of their professional sporting careers and that despite a range of unpleasant reactions to injury, all participants experienced a healthy career transition out of sport. To best prepare athletes for a life outside of sport, ensuring athletes have sufficient plans in motion early on in their careers can reduce external and internal stressors, which if not addressed, can increase sport injury risk and have a negative effect on athletes’ reactions post-injury.
Jana L. Fogaca, Jack C. Watson II, and Sam J. Zizzi
A fundamental issue in applied sport psychology is the development of competent professionals who can provide effective and ethical services to clients. The current study uses a qualitative longitudinal design to track the development of five novice sport psychology practitioners in their first year of practice. The research team analyzed and integrated data from surveys, interviews, and journals to understand the participants’ experiences and compare them to previous literature on practitioner development. Participants reported increased confidence and flexibility over time, and reduced their perceived anxiety and dependence on supervision. These changes were similar in nature to what has been reported for counseling trainees, but seemed to happen more quickly. These findings highlight important developmental characteristics of first year sport psychology practitioners, which can help graduate programs to tailor their supervision and training to their students’ needs.