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A Person-Centered Exploration of Athlete Burnout Across a Competitive Season

J.D. DeFreese and Alan L. Smith

Person-centered investigations of athlete burnout have utility to unearth novel information about this developmental experience within the social environment of competitive sport. Guided by extant theory, conceptually proposed developmental patterns of athlete burnout were examined across a season as expressed in profiles of emotional and physical exhaustion, reduced accomplishment, and sport devaluation perceptions. Athlete social perceptions were also explored as predictors of profile membership. Collegiate athletes (N = 129) completed established assessments of study variables at four in-season time points. Latent profile analysis revealed profiles characterized by athletes experiencing the three burnout dimensions similarly at any given time point, with the notable exception of exhaustion being more frequently experienced in some profiles. Social support perceptions predicted profile membership with moderate success. Trends in profile stability provide some support for consideration of exhaustion-driven burnout experiences. Results shed light on the theoretical pathways of burnout development and inform continued longitudinal burnout research efforts.

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Cardiorespiratory Fitness Predicts Higher Inhibitory Control in Patients With Substance Use Disorder

Vagner D.O. Tavares, Kell G. da Costa, Daniel A.R. Cabral, Maria L.M. Rego, Menna Price, and Eduardo B. Fontes

Impaired inhibitory control has been shown in individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). Cardiorespiratory fitness has been described as a potential factor to improve inhibitory control; however, the benefits in individuals with SUD are unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness with general and drug-specific inhibitory control in individuals with SUD. Sixty-two male participants under treatment for SUD performed a general and drug-specific inhibitory control test (go/no-go) and a cardiorespiratory fitness test. Cardiorespiratory fitness, age, and years of drug use were inversely associated with reaction time for both general and drug-specific inhibitory control. In addition, the regression models showed that cardiorespiratory fitness predicts general and drug-specific inhibitory control adjusted for age and time of drug use. However, cardiorespiratory fitness predicts equally both general and drug-specific inhibitory control. These findings suggest that increasing cardiorespiratory fitness could provide benefits in the inhibitory function of individuals with SUD.

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Validation of a Spanish-Language Version of the Weight Pressures in Sport Scale for Male Athletes

Clara Teixidor-Batlle, Carles Ventura Vall-llovera, Justine J. Reel, and Ana Andrés

The study purpose was to validate the psychometric properties of a Spanish-language version of the weight pressures in sport scale for male athletes. The weight pressures in sport scale for male athletes assesses risk factors associated with sport-specific weight pressures from coaches, peers, and team uniform. The scale was back translated and administered to 407 Spanish male college athletes. The sample was randomly split to perform the exploratory and confirmatory analysis. After item analysis, three items were removed. The exploratory analysis identified two latent constructs (referring to coaches and teammates pressures, and pressures due to uniform), and the confirmatory analysis produced a two-factor model (comparative fit indexSB = .946, Tucker–Lewis indexSB = .925, root mean square of approximationSB = .071, standardized root mean square residualSB = .068). The overall scale showed adequate internal consistency (α = .82) and demonstrated adequate convergent validity with the other questionnaires. The Spanish-language version of the weight pressures in sport scale for male athletes can be used to measure weight-related pressures among male athletes in sport psychology and clinical settings.

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“Be Mindful Even Though It Hurts”: A Single-Case Study Testing the Effects of a Mindfulness- and Acceptance-Based Intervention on Injured Athletes’ Mental Health

Karin Moesch, Andreas Ivarsson, and Urban Johnson

Injury is a serious setback for athletes and might jeopardize mental health. The aim of this study is to investigate if a mindfulness- and acceptance-based intervention can improve mindfulness (nonreactivity and acting with awareness), acceptance, and well-being, and decrease the level of symptoms of anxiety and depression. A single-case design with multiple, staggered, and nonconcurrent baselines was used. Six seriously injured athletes took part in an 8-week intervention and repeatedly completed questionnaires on all variables for the duration of the study. The results showed that, on average, there were significant clinical changes between phases in nonreactivity, well-being, and acceptance. No effect was seen in the two remaining scales. On an individual level, two participants showed effects in all scales, two participants in some of the scales, and two participants in the scale nonreactivity. Results are discussed in light of existing research, and implications for practitioners’ clinical methods are presented.

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Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Performance and Factors Related to Performance in Long-Distance Running: A Systematic Review

Linda Corbally, Mick Wilkinson, and Melissa A. Fothergill

Fatigue, boredom, pain, performance anxiety, and negative thoughts are challenges characteristic of competitive running. One psychological technique that is gaining support and has been successfully implemented in sport is the practice of mindfulness. Where conventional psychological skills training interventions aim to change dysfunctional thoughts and emotions, mindfulness focuses on altering the relationship to physiological and psychological states. This could help in dealing with the demands of distance running but this has yet to be examined. This article was focused on reviewing mindfulness interventions on performance and performance-based factors in long distance running, assessing (a) mindfulness scores, (b) physiological performance-related factors, (c) psychological performance-related factors, and (d) performance outcomes. A search of relevant electronic databases yielded seven studies which met the inclusion criteria. The review provided some tentative support for the use of mindfulness interventions regarding: reducing competitive anxiety, attenuating immune responses to high-intensity running, and increasing state mindfulness. However, due to the methodological weaknesses of studies more research is required using high-quality randomized controlled trial designs.

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“So Many Mental Health Issues Go Unsaid”: Implications for Best Practice Guidelines From Student-Athletes’ Perspectives About Service Availability

William C. Way, Ashley M. Coker-Cranney, and Jack C. Watson II

Using the framework of multidisciplinary best practice recommendations promoted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, this study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate Division I student-athletes’ perceived access to and satisfaction with mental health service availability. Participants were asked about their satisfaction with direct (e.g., counseling, psychiatry, assessment) and indirect (e.g., mental health outreach, educational workshops) service availability, both on campus and within athletics. Results from a researcher-generated survey indicated that participants were moderately satisfied with service availability in each of the four contexts. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that student-athletes’ satisfaction was predicted by different factors for each service type-location combination. Qualitative data contained requests for more athlete-centered mental health services as well as more preventative outreach in general. These data provide a foundation for understanding factors that influence student-athletes’ satisfaction with mental health service availability and offer practical implications for current best practice recommendations.

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Acceptance and Commitment Training to Promote Psychological Flexibility in Ice Hockey Performance: A Controlled Group Feasibility Study

Tobias Lundgren, Gustaf Reinebo, Markus Näslund, and Thomas Parling

Despite the growing popularity of mindfulness and acceptance-based performance enhancement methods in applied sport psychology, evidence for their efficacy is scarce. The purpose of the current study is to test the feasibility and effect of a psychological training program based on Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) developed for ice hockey players. A controlled group feasibility designed study was conducted and included 21 elite male ice hockey players. The ACT program consisted of four, once a week, sessions with homework assignments between sessions. The results showed significant increase in psychological flexibility for the players in the training group. The outcome was positive for all feasibility measures. Participants found the psychological training program important to them as ice hockey players and helpful in their ice hockey development. Desirably, future studies should include objective performance data as outcome measure to foster more valid evidence for performance enhancement methods in applied sport psychology.

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Help-Seeking Beliefs Among Anabolic Androgenic Steroid Users Experiencing Side Effects: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis

Hugh Gilmore, Stephen Shannon, Gerard Leavey, Martin Dempster, Shane Gallagher, and Gavin Breslin

Recreational athletes comprise the most prevalent population using illegal Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS). Despite regulatory efforts, substances are widely accessible, and most users report the experience of harmful side effects. It remains unclear why few users seek professional medical help. The aim of this study was to determine AAS users’ experience of side effects and help-seeking beliefs using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of six interviews. Participants were from the United Kingdom (n = 5) and United States (n = 1), had all experienced side effects, with some reporting prolonged use of AAS (>10 years) and self-manufacturing the drugs from raw ingredients. Results showed that AAS users discredit medical professionals’ competencies, and practice cognitive dissonance by avoiding challenging situations. A microculture for information-sharing has developed among AAS users who initially self-treat to counteract side effects, leaving them vulnerable to further harm. To conclude, there is an urgent need for educational interventions that outline the risky practice of unregulated AAS use and self-treatments, and the need to seek professional help. Such interventions could be developed through a co-production basis, and be implemented by current/former AAS users alongside the medical community.

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Me, Myself, and My Thoughts: The Influence of Brooding and Reflective Rumination on Depressive Symptoms in Athletes in the United Kingdom

Richard Tahtinen, Michael McDougall, Niels Feddersen, Olli Tikkanen, Robert Morris, and Noora J. Ronkainen

Individual differences in vulnerability to depression are still underexplored in athletes. We tested the influence of different brooding and reflective rumination profiles (i.e., repetitive thought processes in response to low/depressed mood) on the odds of experiencing clinically relevant depressive symptoms in competitive athletes (N = 286). The Patient Health Questionnaire–9 and the Ruminative Responses Scale–short form were utilized to measure depression and rumination, respectively. Compared to athletes with a low brooding/reflection profile, athletes with a high brooding/reflection profile had significantly higher odds of experiencing clinical levels of depressive symptoms (OR = 13.40, 95% CI = 3.81–47.11). A high reflection/low brooding profile was not, however, related to increased odds of depressive symptoms. Future research could extend our findings by exploring determinants of ruminative tendencies, especially brooding, in athletes. Furthermore, psychological interventions targeting rumination could be examined as a potential prevention and treatment approach to tackling depressive symptoms in athletes.

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The Journey of Service Delivery Competence in Applied Sport Psychology: The Arc of Development for New Professionals

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.