Research has demonstrated the efficacy of psychological skills training (PST), yet many athletes do not appear ready to do whatever it takes to improve the mental aspects of performance. Although the transtheoretical model of behavior change (TTM), generally, and readiness to change, specifically, have received considerable attention in a range of allied health fields, few studies have been conducted to examine this construct in applied sport psychology. The purpose of the current study was to examine National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletes’ readiness for PST as it relates to their stage of change, decisional balance, self-efficacy, and use of processes of change. The data trends observed in the current study were consistent with the theoretical underpinnings of the TTM as well as previous research on NCAA Division I athletes. The results of the current study highlight the need to consider readiness to change when designing and implementing PST interventions.
William V. Massey, Stacy L. Gnacinski, and Barbara B. Meyer
Ashley Coker-Cranney and Justine J. Reel
When athletes “uncritically accept” the coaching expectations associated with their sport, negative health consequences (e.g., disordered eating behaviors, clinical eating disorders) may result. The coach’s influence on disordered eating behaviors may be a product of factors related to overconformity to the sport ethic, issues with coach communication regarding recommendations for weight management, and the strength of the coach-athlete relationship. The present study investigated perceived weight-related coach pressure, the coach-athlete relationship, and disordered eating behaviors by surveying 248 female varsity athletes and dancers from four universities. Mediational analysis revealed that the coach-athlete relationship was a partial mediating variable between perceived coach pressures and disordered eating behaviors. Subsequently, strong relationships between coaches and their athletes may reduce the negative impact of perceived weight-related coach pressure on the development or exacerbation of disordered eating behaviors in female collegiate athletes.
Leonardo de Sousa Fortes, Santiago Tavares Paes, Clara Mockede Neves, Juliana Fernandes Filgueiras Meireles, and Maria Elisa Caputo Ferreira
The aim of this study was to compare the media-ideal and athletic internalization of gymnasts to track and field sprinters. Eighty-three female track and field sprinters and 50 female gymnasts participated. The subscales of the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire-3 were used to evaluate the influence of the media on body image. The Body Shape Questionnaire was used to assess body dissatisfaction. The results showed no difference between the groups in media-ideal internalization (p > .05); however, the results indicated differences in athletic internalization (p < .05) and body dissatisfaction (p < .05). We concluded that although media-ideal internalization was similar, gymnasts showed greater athletic internalization.
Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Staci Andrews, Nancy S. Diehl, and Britton W. Brewer
Physically and mentally healthy student-athletes are in a good position to thrive academically, socially, and athletically. Unfortunately, many student-athletes fail to get the mental health help they need due to factors such as lack of knowledge and mental health stigma. The purpose of this research was to create and evaluate a multimedia, interactive website (www.SupportForSport.org) to enable student-athletes to gain the necessary knowledge and confidence to make effective mental health referrals. Study 1 was conducted to determine if the website functioned as intended. In Study 2, 27 intercollegiate athletic directors and coaches evaluated the website. Their favorable evaluations led to Study 3, a controlled field trial with a national sample of 153 student-athletes. Results indicated that viewing the www.SupportForSport.org site resulted in enhanced mental health referral knowledge and efficacy relative to a control group. These results suggest that tailored online programming can affect outcomes for student-athletes across geographic regions and resource availability levels.
Henrik Gustafsson, Therése Skoog, Paul Davis, Göran Kenttä, and Peter Haberl
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and burnout and whether this relationship is mediated by perceived stress, negative affect, and positive affect in elite junior athletes. Participants were 233 (123 males and 107 females) adolescent athletes, ranging in age from 15–19 years (M = 17.50; SD = 1.08). Bivariate correlations revealed that mindfulness had a significant negative relationship with both perceived stress and burnout. To investigate mediation, we employed nonparametric bootstrapping analyses. These analyses indicated that positive affect fully mediated links between mindfulness and sport devaluation. Further, positive affect and negative affect partially mediated the relationships between mindfulness and physical/emotional exhaustion, as well as between mindfulness and reduced sense of accomplishment. The results point toward mindfulness being negatively related to burnout in athletes and highlight the role of positive affect. Future research should investigate the longitudinal effect of dispositional mindfulness on stress and burnout.
Ryan Sappington and Kathryn Longshore
The field of applied sport psychology has traditionally grounded its performance enhancement techniques in the cognitive-behavioral elements of psychological skills training. These interventions typically advocate for controlling one’s cognitive and emotional processes during performance. Mindfulness-based approaches, on the other hand, have recently been introduced and employed more frequently in an effort to encourage athletes to adopt a nonjudgmental acceptance of all thoughts and emotions. Like many applied interventions in sport psychology, however, the body of literature supporting the efficacy of mindfulness-based approaches for performance enhancement is limited, and few efforts have been made to draw evidence-based conclusions from the existing research. The current paper had the purpose of systematically reviewing research on mindfulness-based interventions with athletes to assess (a) the efficacy of these approaches in enhancing sport performance and (b) the methodological quality of research conducted thus far. A comprehensive search of relevant databases, including peer-reviewed and gray literature, yielded 19 total trials (six case studies, two qualitative studies, seven nonrandomized trials, and four randomized trials) in accordance with the inclusion criteria. An assessment tool was used to score studies on the quality of research methodology. While a review of this literature yielded preliminary support for the efficacy of mindfulness-based performance enhancement strategies, the body of research also shows a need for more methodologically rigorous trials.
Mimi S. H. Ho, Paul R. Appleton, Jennifer Cumming, and Joan L. Duda
This study examined whether the relationships between self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism and symptoms of burning out (i.e., reduced accomplishment, emotional and physical exhaustion, sport devaluation, negative affect, and symptoms of physical ill-health) were moderated by hearing ability. A total of 417 athletes (hearing = 205, deaf = 212) completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (Hewitt & Flett, 1991, 2004), the negative affect subscale of the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988), the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (Raedeke & Smith, 2001), and the Physical Symptoms Checklist (Emmons, 1991). Regression analyses revealed the hypothesized relationships were generally consistent across both groups. The current findings provide insight into the potential effects of perfectionism dimensions for hearing and deaf athletes’ health.
Kathryn Longshore and Michael Sachs
Mindfulness-based research in sport has focused on athletes, while coaches remain unexplored. Research consistently shows that coaches experience high stress, which can lead to burnout, reduced performance, and emotional mismanagement. The present study developed and explored Mindfulness Training for Coaches (MTC), which is aimed at increasing mindfulness and emotional stability while reducing anxiety. Participants were 20 Division I coaches. The mixed-method design included trait and state measures of anxiety, mindfulness, and emotion, along with qualitative semistructured interviews. Trained coaches reported significantly less anxiety and greater emotional stability from pre- to posttraining. The state measures showed trained coaches were lower in anxiety and adverse emotions at each time point. Interviews showed six distinct positive impacts on coaches: anxiety and stress; emotions; mindfulness; coaching; athletes; and personal life. MTC is a promising intervention for coaches to reduce stress, improve well-being, and enhance coach-athlete interactions.
Susan C. Davies and Brenna M. Bird
Student-athletes often fail to report concussion signs and symptoms, thereby putting themselves at risk for delayed recovery and permanent impairment. The present study examined motivations for underreporting concussion symptoms among college athletes enrolled at an NCAA Division I university. One hundred and ninety-three student-athletes in high-risk sports completed a multiple-choice survey related to self-reporting of suspected concussion symptoms and reporting of teammates’ symptoms. Results indicated that 45% of participants did not report their own suspected concussions during the present season and 50% did not report suspected concussions in teammates. Responses revealed that the primary reason for underreporting a suspected concussion was the belief that the blow to the head was not serious enough. Suggestions are provided for athletes, athletic staff, and coaches to improve players’ awareness of the signs, symptoms, and consequences of concussions, as well as how to report suspected concussions appropriately.
Nicole Dubuc-Charbonneau and Natalie Durand-Bush
The purpose of this study was to implement and assess the impact of a person-centered, feel-based self-regulation intervention on the stress, burnout, well-being, and self-regulation capacity of eight university student-athletes experiencing burnout. This was warranted given the negative outcomes associated with athlete burnout, the scarcity of burnout research focusing on student-athletes, and the lack of intervention research addressing burnout in sport.
A mixed methods design including questionnaires administered at four time points during the athletic season, pre- and postintervention interviews, and multiple intervention sessions was used.
Repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed that stress and burnout levels significantly decreased, and well-being and self-regulation capacity levels significantly increased as the intervention progressed. The qualitative data supported these findings.
It appears that university student-athletes participating in this type of intervention can learn to effectively manage themselves and their environment to reduce adverse symptoms and improve optimal functioning.