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.
Emily Kroshus, Jessica Wagner, David L. Wyrick, and Brian Hainline
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.
Annamari Maaranen, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Britton W. Brewer
Flikikammo is a troubling phenomenon in which athletes lose the ability to perform previously automatic backward moving gymnastics skills as a normal part of a routine. To better understand the effects of flikikammo over time, the confidence, perceived pressure, physical well-being, energy, and stress levels of gymnasts (n = 6) and cheerleaders (n = 4) were assessed weekly over 10 weeks. Half of the participants reported experiencing flikikammo at the start of the study, and half served as age, skill level, and sport-matched controls. Athletes with flikikammo indicated that pressure from coaches and higher energy levels were related to more severe flikikammo. For participants under the age of 18, higher levels of life stress positively correlated with flikikammo, but for those over 18, higher life stress was negatively correlated with flikikammo. These findings highlight the complexity of flikikammo and suggest that complex solutions may be needed to address flikikammo issues.
Laurel W. Sheffield and Lauren A. Stutts
Collegiate athletes are frequently exposed to pain/injury, which has the potential to negatively impact their physical and psychological health. This quasi-experimental study investigated the influence of gender and athletic status on deciding whether pain should be reported to the head coach in a vignette. Participants included 236 undergraduates who read four vignettes describing athletes (two men, two women) who were experiencing pain while playing a sport and made recommendations about whether the athlete should report the pain. Regardless of the gender of the athlete in the vignette, women and non-Division I athletes were more confident that the pain should be reported to the coach than men and athletes. Division I athletes’ recommendations for others to report pain did not align with what they reported practicing themselves. These results suggest that athletes and coaches should receive education about the factors that may lead an athlete to choose not to report pain.
Kylie McNeill, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre
While coaches are considered at risk of experiencing burnout, there is an absence of intervention studies addressing this syndrome. The purpose of this qualitative study was to conduct a self-regulation intervention with five Canadian developmental (n = 2) and elite (n = 3) sport coaches (three men, two women) experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout and examine the perceived impact of this intervention on their self-regulation capacity and experiences of burnout and well-being. The content analysis of the coaches’ outtake interviews and five bi-weekly journals revealed that all five of them learned to self-regulate more effectively by developing various competencies (e.g., strategic planning for their well-being, self-monitoring) and strategies (e.g., task delegation, facilitative self-talk). Four of the coaches also perceived improvements in their symptoms of burnout and well-being. Sport psychology interventions individualized for coaches are a promising means for helping them manage burnout and enhance their overall functioning.
Nicole T. Gabana, Aaron D’Addario, Matteo Luzzeri, Stinne Soendergaard, and Y. Joel Wong
Salient aspects of an athlete’s identity hold implications for how sport psychology practitioners conceptualize and intervene on both the mental health and performance realms of the athlete person. Given that spirituality, religiosity, and gratitude have been associated in previous literature, the current study examined whether athletes differed in dispositional gratitude based on their spiritual and religious identification. Results indicated that among 331 NCAA Division I-III athletes, those who identified as both spiritual and religious scored significantly higher in dispositional gratitude than self-identified spiritual/non-religious and non-spiritual/non-religious athletes. Non-spiritual/non-religious and spiritual/non-religious athletes did not significantly differ in levels of gratitude. Findings and limitations of the current study warrant further investigation on this topic, and recommendations for future research and practice are provided.
Shelby Waldron, J.D. DeFreese, Brian Pietrosimone, Johna Register-Mihalik, and Nikki Barczak
Sport specialization has been linked to multiple negative health related outcomes including increased injury risk and sport attrition, yet a gap remains in our understanding of potential psychological outcomes of early specialization (≤ age 12). The current study evaluated the associations between retrospective athlete reports of sport specialization and both retroactive and current psychological health outcomes. Early specializers reported significantly higher levels of multiple maladaptive psychological outcomes (e.g., global athlete burnout, emotional and physical exhaustion, sport devaluation, amotivation). Overall, findings suggest that specialization environment factors, in addition to the age of specialization, are potentially critical factors in determining health and well-being outcomes. Findings support prominent position statements suggesting early specialization may be associated with increased health risks. Study findings may also inform the development of guidelines and recommendations to aid parents, coaches, and athletes in positively impacting athlete psychosocial outcomes.
Shelby J. Martin and Timothy Anderson
Despite elevated risk of eating pathology (EP) among athletes, utilization of EP-treatment among athletes is low. Factors that may inhibit EP-help-seeking among athletes include perceived social stigma, self-stigma, and perfectionism. Heightened stigma associated with EP and sport climates may be exacerbated by negative perfectionism characteristic of athletes and decrease intentions to seek help for EP. We tested the following moderated-mediation model among a sample of collegiate athletes (N = 201) via online questionnaires: EP indirectly relates to EP help-seeking intentions through perceived and self-stigma and these relations are conditional on negative perfectionism. EP help-seeking intentions were negatively associated with EP severity, stigma, and negative perfectionism. EP was related to eating-specific help-seeking intentions through perceived social stigma, influencing self-stigma, but this was not moderated by negative perfectionism. Targeting mental-health treatment stigma among athletes may reduce risk of untreated EP among collegiate athletes.