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Can Learning Self-Regulatory Competencies Through a Guided Intervention Improve Coaches’ Burnout Symptoms and Well-Being?

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.

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Examining the Relationships Between Gratitude and Spiritual and Religious Identification Among Collegiate Athletes

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.

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Exploring Early Sport Specialization: Associations With Psychosocial Outcomes

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.

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Help-Seeking for Eating Pathology Among Collegiate Athletes: Examining Stigma and Perfectionism as Moderating and Mediating Mechanisms

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.

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Realizing, Adapting, and Thriving in Career Transitions From Gymnastics to Contemporary Circus Arts

Fleur E.C.A. van Rens and Edson Filho

The purpose of this study was to explore the career transition experiences of elite gymnasts who became professional circus artists. Eight (inter)national level gymnasts who worked as circus artists were interviewed. Using a constructionist approach to thematic data analysis, we identified a three-phase career transition process. High levels of psychological resilience characteristics were required in the first, “realizing” phase (i.e., motivation, hard work, social support, and optimism). The second, “adapting” phase involved balancing context-specific demands which included general stress, a loss of competence, social adjustment, taking calculated risks, and physical recovery. The third, “thriving” phase involved experiences of freedom, personal development, and social connectedness. During the career transition, changes from an athletic to circus artist identity were experienced. Practitioners are encouraged to support the psychological resilience and experiences of autonomy among circus artists during their career transitions. This is expected to facilitate circus artists’ wellbeing, safety, and career longevity.

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Analyzing the Relationship Between Burnout and Depression in Junior Elite Athletes

Raphael Frank, Insa Nixdorf, and Jürgen Beckmann

Findings on burnout and depression in athletes highlight their potential severity. Although both constructs are discussed in similar, stress-based concepts, it is unclear how they relate to each other. To address this issue, we conducted a crosssectional multiple linear regression analysis (MLR; N = 194) and a longitudinal analysis of a three-wave cross-lagged panel (CLP; n = 92) in German junior elite athletes. MLR showed that depression and burnout were both associated with chronic stress. Stress was a significant better predictor for both burnout and depression than each was for the other. CLP analysis on the constructs of burnout and depression revealed support for cross-paths in both directions. Thus, burnout and depression might cause each other to some degree, with no distinct direction of this link. However, as both syndromes do not fully explain each other, interchanging both terms and syndromes should be avoided. Preferably, future research might consider the transfer of knowledge between both syndromes to draw founded conclusions.

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Athletes Connected: Results From a Pilot Project to Address Knowledge and Attitudes About Mental Health Among College Student-Athletes

Adam Kern, William Heininger, Emily Klueh, Stephanie Salazar, Barbara Hansen, Trish Meyer, and Daniel Eisenberg

Student-athletes experience mental health problems, but they often encounter barriers to seeking help. This study reports findings from the pilot phase of Athletes Connected (AC), a new research and practice program at the University of Michigan addressing mental health and help-seeking behaviors among collegiate student-athletes. Members of the AC team gave presentations consisting of contact- and education-based interventions to every varsity athletic team at a large Division I Midwestern university, along with pre- and postsurvey questionnaires to measure their efficacy. The presentations included an educational overview of mental health, two videos highlighting former student-athletes’ struggles with mental illnesses, and a discussion at the end with the former athletes portrayed in the videos. A total of 626 student-athletes completed the pre- and postsurveys. Results indicated significant increases in knowledge and positive attitudes toward mental health and help-seeking. These results suggest that brief contact- and education-based interventions may be helpful in reducing stigma and promoting help-seeking behavior among college student-athletes.

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Comparing Weight-Conscious Drinking Among Athletes and Nonathletes

Marina Galante, Rose Marie Ward, and Robert Weinberg

Weight-conscious drinking is the use of disordered eating behaviors in anticipation of or as compensation for calories consumed during alcohol use. The aim of the current study is to assess the relationship between weight-conscious drinking, athletic status, and sport type. Participants were 295 college students (82 male and 213 female; Mage = 20.10) from a midsized Midwestern university. Participants completed an online survey that included items assessing alcohol consumption, the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI), the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26), and the Compensatory Eating and Behaviors in Response to Alcohol Consumption Scale (CEBRACS). In comparison with nonathletes, student-athletes had lower EAT-26 and CEBRACS scores; RAPI scores did not differ between the two groups. Lean-sport athletes differed concerning CEBRACS diet/exercise subscales in comparison with nonlean-sport athletes.

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Development of the Self-Efficacy of Balance Scale (SEBS) for Young, Active Individuals

Carrie S. Baker, Jennifer M. Medina McKeon, and Ellen L. Usher

Self-efficacy of balance, a psychological characteristic, may provide information regarding psychological risk factors for lower-extremity injury. Validated instruments to assess self-efficacy of balance do not currently exist. The objective of this study was to determine the face and content validity of the Self-Efficacy of Balance Scale (SEBS) for an adolescent population, as well as content validity, construct and convergent validity of the overall instrument. A series of panelists (n = 11) assessed proposed items for face and content validity for self-efficacy of balance. Construct and convergent validity were assessed with active college individuals (n = 74) and female high school basketball athletes (n = 57). Original items were revised to 21 items. Panelists validated both face and content validity of the SEBS. All items were assessed to have the construct of self-efficacy. Evidence of convergent validity supported the proposed construct of self-efficacy, and was found to be relevant to the physical functioning of a young, active population.

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Self-Determination Theory Perspective on Attachment, Need Satisfaction, and Well-Being in a Sample of Athletes: A Longitudinal Study

Luke Felton and Sophia Jowett

The current study aimed to examine whether (a) mean differences and changes in athletes’ attachment style predicted psychological need satisfaction within two diverse relational contexts (coach and parent) and well-being, and (b) mean differences and changes in need satisfaction within the two relational contexts predicted well-being. One hundred and ten athletes aged between 15 and 32 years old completed a multisection questionnaire at three time points over a span of 6 months to assess the main study variables. Multilevel modeling revealed that insecure attachment styles (anxious and avoidant) predicted well-being outcomes at the within- and between-person levels. Avoidant attachment predicted need satisfaction within the parent relational context at both levels, and need satisfaction within the coach relational context at the between-person level. Need satisfaction within both relational contexts predicted various well-being outcomes at the between-person level, while need satisfaction within the parent relational context predicted vitality at the within-person level.