Although sport psychologists have started to examine elite disability sport, studies of comprehensive mental skill use are rare. In the current study, we examined multidimensional imagery and self-talk, as well as comprehensive mental skills (i.e., coping with adversity, goal setting, concentration, peaking under pressure, being coachable, confident, and feeling free from worry). In addition to descriptive data, we also were interested in the ability of athlete’s mental skills to predict engagement (e.g., being dedicated). Fourteen elite level wheelchair rugby players from the United States participated, and results indicated that athletes employed most mental skills. We accounted for 50% of the variance in engagement with comprehensive mental skills (β = .72, p = .03) contributing the most to the regression equation, while imagery (β = -.02, p = .94) and self-talk (β = -.00, p = .99) were not significant. Athletes who reported using a host of mental skills (e.g., coping with adversity) also reported being engaged (e.g., dedicated, enthused, committed) to wheelchair rugby. Athletes reporting minimal mental skill use were less engaged.
Jeffrey J. Martin and Laurie A. Malone
Siobhain McArdle and Phil Moore
The aim of this pilot study was to explore disordered eating (DE) literacy in male and female athletes and to examine whether any gender differences were present. A related aim was to examine the moderating effect of gender on the relationship between indices of DE literacy and attitudes toward help-seeking for DE. A nonclinical sample of 133 (37% male) athletes from a variety of sports and competitive levels were recruited to complete an online questionnaire addressing a range of topics linked to DE literacy. Chi-square analysis indicated no significant gender differences on indicators of DE literacy. Findings from the survey revealed a number of beliefs conducive to low or inappropriate help-seeking for DE. The results highlight the importance of exploring DE literacy in athletes to develop more targeted interventions for this specific population.
Insa Nixdorf, Raphael Frank, Martin Hautzinger, and Juergen Beckmann
Depression among elite athletes is a topic of increasing interest, but empirical data are rare. The present study aimed to provide insight into the prevalence of depressive symptoms among German elite athletes and possible associated factors. In an online survey of 162 athletes, we explored depressive symptoms, chronic stress, coping strategies and stress-recovery states. Results indicated an overall prevalence of 15% for depression among elite athletes (n = 99), and revealed higher levels of depressive symptoms among the individual athletes than the team athletes. Furthermore, correlation analyses showed a significant connection between high levels of depressive symptoms and high levels of chronic stress, negative coping strategies and negative stress-recovery states. Results indicate that the prevalence for depressive symptoms in elite athletes is comparable to that in the general German population. Moreover, exploratory analyses provide first indications of factors associated with depressive symptoms.
Jennifer I. Gapin and Brianna Kearns
Athletes in sports with weight requirements may be especially vulnerable to eating disorders (EDs), yet there is limited research regarding collegiate rowers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine prevalence rates of ED symptoms in 133 male and female competitive collegiate rowers in lightweight and open weight programs. This is the first study to examine eating pathology in rowers using a diagnostic tool based on DSM-IV criteria, the Q-EDD; and examining ED symptoms using the EDI-2 (drive for thinness [DT] and body dissatisfaction [BD]). The majority of rowers were classified as symptomatic (n = 65; 49%) or clinical (n = 5; 4%). Lightweight rowers had a significantly higher prevalence of eating pathology and a significantly greater DT and BD than open weight rowers. Males had considerably higher prevalence of eating pathology than females, but females had significantly greater BD. Ongoing monitoring of rowers’ eating behaviors is highly encouraged. Implications for counseling and prevention are discussed.
Laura D. DiPasquale and Trent A. Petrie
Eating disorder prevalence rates among athletes vary greatly because of the different ways in which researchers have measured and classified them, and the extent to which they are higher than those found among nonathletes remains unresolved. The present study examined prevalence of eating disorders, body image issues, and weight control behaviors using a valid diagnostic measure. Participants included 146 male and 156 female NCAA Division I student-athletes and a matched sample of 170 male and 353 female collegiate nonathletes. Overall, eating disorder prevalence rates and use of pathogenic weight control behaviors were lower among nonathletes than athletes. Rates for athletes in the current study were lower than previous studies. These findings are likely due to the lack of anonymity the athletes had when completing questionnaires, as data were collected through athletes’ preseason physicals, whereas nonathletes completed questionnaires anonymously over the Internet. Recommendations for athletic departments’ screening for eating disorders are made.
Jeremy J. Noble, Michael B. Madson, Richard S. Mohn, and Jon T. Mandracchia
Heavy episodic drinking (HED) is related to an increase in negative consequences (Wechsler, Lee, Kuo, & Lee, 2000) including approximately 599,000 unintentional injuries and 1,825 deaths annually among college students (Hingson, Edwards, Heeren, & Rosenbloom, 2009). College athletes participate in greater alcohol consumption and experience more negative consequences than their nonathlete peers (Hildebrand, Johnson, & Bogle, 2001). Protective behavioral strategies (PBS) have played a significant role in reducing alcohol-related negative consequences within the college population (Martens et al., 2004). However, little is known about PBS use within specific at-risk populations such as athletes. This study aimed to identify the relationship between alcohol consumption, the use of protective behavioral strategies, and negative consequences among intercollegiate athletes. Results indicated that PBS partially mediated the relationship between alcohol consumption and negative consequences. Implications for intercollegiate athlete intervention and prevention programs are discussed as well as limitations of the study and directions for future research.
Jamie B. Barker, Marc V. Jones, and Iain Greenlees
High levels of self-efficacy have been documented to be associated with optimal levels of sport performance. One technique, which has the potential to foster increased self-efficacy, is hypnosis. Hypnosis is based upon the power of suggestion and, while often shrouded in myth and controversy, has been used in a number of domains including medicine, dentistry, and psychotherapy. In contrast, sport psychology is one domain where the use of hypnosis has yet to be fully explored. The aim of this review is to add to the extant literature and delineate how hypnosis potentially can enhance self-efficacy. By drawing on neodissociation and nonstate theories of hypnosis, a combined theoretical basis is established to explain how hypnosis may be used to influence sport performers’ sources of self-efficacy information. Furthermore, the review examines these theoretical postulations by presenting contemporary research evidence exploring the effects of hypnosis on sport performers’ self-efficacy. The review concludes with future research directions and suggestions for sport psychologists considering the use of hypnosis within their practice.
Louise Davis and Sophia Jowett
The present preliminary study aimed to develop and examine the psychometric properties of a new sport-specific self-report instrument designed to assess athletes’ and coaches’ attachment styles. The development and initial validation comprised three main phases. In Phase 1, a pool of items was generated based on pre-existing self-report attachment instruments, modified to reflect a coach and an athlete’s style of attachment. In Phase 2, the content validity of the items was assessed by a panel of experts. A final scale was developed and administered to 405 coaches and 298 athletes (N = 703 participants). In Phase 3, confirmatory factor analysis of the obtained data was conducted to determine the final items of the Coach-Athlete Attachment Scale (CAAS). Confirmatory factor analysis revealed acceptable goodness of ft indexes for a 3-first order factor model as well as a 2-first order factor model for both the athlete and the coach data, respectively. A secure attachment style positively predicted relationship satisfaction, while an insecure attachment style was a negative predictor of relationship satisfaction. The CAAS revealed initial psychometric properties of content, factorial, and predictive validity, as well as reliability.
Brad Donohue, Michelle Pitts, Yulia Gavrilova, Ashley Ayarza, and Kristina I. Cintron
Substance abuse in athletes is both prevalent and dangerous, leading to its international recognition as a public health concern. In recent controlled trials, behavioral prevention programs have been shown to reduce alcohol use in collegiate student athletes who are at-risk for alcohol abuse, with outcomes appearing to be enhanced when family members are prescriptively involved. However, no interventions have been found to decrease alcohol or drug use frequency in controlled trials involving athletes who have been diagnosed with substance abuse, and no prescribed clinical interventions for substance abuse have been tailored to accommodate the unique needs of competitive athletes. As an initial step in this development, we review an evidenced-supported behavioral treatment program modified for use with athletes. Optimizing the support of significant others, this innovative treatment approach comprehensively targets multiple areas of mental health while emphasizing cultural enlightenment. Recommendations are offered, including the great need for controlled treatment outcome research specific to substance abuse in athletes.