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The Well-Being of Elite Volleyball Athletes: A Scoping Review of Methods Using Wellness Questionnaires

André Rebelo, João R. Pereira, Diogo V. Martinho, and João Valente-dos-Santos

The purpose of the current review was to systematically and critically evaluate the subjective methods used to evaluate well-being of elite volleyball athletes. According to the results of this scoping review, there is a lack of comprehensive well-being assessment within the volleyball literature as the questionnaires used with these athletes primarily focus on stress, recovery, mood states, and anxiety. While general well-being measures can provide valuable insights, there is a need for measures that consider the unique experiences, challenges, and contexts of athletes. Also, there is an inconsistent definition of well-being in the volleyball literature. This can lead to a piecemeal approach, where different aspects of well-being are assessed in isolation, without a clear understanding of how they fit together. Therefore, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of volleyball athletes’ well-being, it is important to incorporate measures that assess subjective, psychological, and social well-being. In conclusion, while current assessment tools provide important insights into volleyball athletes’ well-being, there is a clear need for more holistic and sport-specific measures. By expanding an understanding and assessment of well-being, there can be better support for athletes’ overall health, satisfaction, and performance.

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Collegiate Athletes’ Perceptions of the Connection Between Mental Health and Sport Performance: A Qualitative Investigation

Kelzie E. Beebe, Trent A. Petrie, Heather R. Kiefer, Lindsey E. Slavin, and Macey L. Arnold

Prevalence of mental health (MH) concerns among young adults is high and continues to increase. As a specific subset of young adults, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes seem to experience these concerns at a similar or greater prevalence rate than their nonathlete, age-matched peers. Yet, how MH affects sport performance has not been robustly studied, and existing studies have not included the diversity of identities present in the collegiate athlete population. Thus, via online survey, this study explored the beliefs of 249 collegiate athletes representing diverse identities and sports regarding how MH affects sport performance. Regardless of demographic variable, 96.4%–100.0% of participants believed that MH affects sport performance. Three themes were identified: (a) collegiate athletes affirm that MH affects sport performance, (b) collegiate athletes’ perceptions of how MH affects sport performance, and (c) collegiate athletes believe that being a collegiate athlete exacerbates their MH concerns. The universality of endorsement and the themes represent novel findings that warrant further exploration of the MH–sport performance connection.

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Development and Validation of the Greek Version of Weight Pressures in Sport—Females Questionnaire

Ioanna Kontele, Tonia Vassilakou, Maria Psychountaki, Justine J. Reel, and Olyvia Donti

Weight Pressures in Sport—Females (WPS-F) questionnaire measures sport-related pressures that female athletes experience regarding body weight, shape, size, and appearance. In order to examine the psychometric properties of the Greek version of the inventory, two different studies were conducted. In the first study, using a sample (n = 225) of female Greek athletes aged 12–20 years, exploratory factor analysis produced two factors (Factor 1: Pressures From Coaches and Sports About Weight and Factor 2: Pressures Regarding Appearance and Performance) and supported the original factor structure. In the second study, using a different sample (n = 318) of female Greek athletes aged 11–18 years, confirmatory factor analysis provided support for the two-factor structure. Weight Pressures in Sport—Females questionnaire was demonstrated to be a valid and reliable instrument for Greek female athletic populations. Future studies should further test the factorial structure in younger and older athletes and in larger samples.

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Volume 17 (2023): Issue 2 (Jun 2023)

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Introducing Empowered Consent to Deal With the Current Challenges in Applied Sport Psychology

Niels Boysen Feddersen

There has been a paucity of literature discussing how to address consent procedures as part of ethics, practitioner development, and best practice in applied sport psychology. Several researchers have addressed ethical challenges (e.g., out-of-session contact, overidentification, time, and space). However, none have substantially considered the sport-specific issues related to consent, which sits at the heart of best practice. The scarcity of discussing consent is limiting sport psychology’s potential to establish itself as a more recognized profession. This article highlights some contextual issues that challenge the idea and efficacy of informed consent. It proposes adapting consent procedures in the collaboration between sport psychology practitioners and clients to better address the current contextual challenges in applied sport psychology. In doing so, the current paper introduces Empowered Consent, which is specifically designed to empower athletes and address challenges related to choosing interventions, contractual obligations, visibility in the environment, and staff trying to gain insights into confidential information. The author offers a model to enhance applied practice for those collaborating with athletes and other clients in sport.

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Counseling Goals of Athletes During Injury Rehabilitation: A Descriptive Analysis

Jacob R. Schlierf, Trevor S. Jaskiw, Britton W. Brewer, and Judy L. Van Raalte

Although goal setting is widely recommended for sport injury rehabilitation, little is known about the content of the goals set by athletes with injuries. Toward this end, a qualitative content analysis was performed on the goals and barriers to goal attainment identified by 163 intercollegiate student athletes (117 men and 46 women) participating in counseling interventions during sport injury rehabilitation. Most of the 956 goals set (84%) contained a physical element. A physical barrier was identified for 49% of the goals. Economic, cognitive, emotional, and social elements were noted as both goals and barriers. Goal content did not change significantly over the course of rehabilitation. Most goals were specific, process, short term, and positively phrased. The findings provide a detailed description of the types and qualities of counseling goals set by athletes during injury rehabilitation, offering professionals insight into the wide range of concerns expressed by athletes with injury during counseling.

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Effects of Neurofeedback Training on Frontal Midline Theta Power, Shooting Performance, and Attentional Focus With Experienced Biathletes

Thomas Toolis, Andrew Cooke, Marko S. Laaksonen, and Kerry McGawley

Frontal midline theta power (FMT) has been associated with superior rifle shooting performance. Our experiment examined whether electroencephalographic-based training could increase FMT, shooting performance, and attentional focus in highly trained/elite biathletes. Participants (n = 28; age, M = 21.7, SD = 2.3) were assigned to a control group or an intervention group (with 3 hr of neurofeedback training). FMT increased from baseline during the neurofeedback training sessions (p ≤ .05). However, there were no Group × Pre–post training (test) interactions for FMT or shooting performance (p > .05). There was a small Group × Test effect for attentional focus (p = .07, η p 2 = .12 ), indicating a potential benefit of neurofeedback training. Superior shooters were more proficient at increasing FMT during neurofeedback training, but this did not translate to greater improvements in shooting performance. Our findings suggest that the effects of neurofeedback training are transient and do not necessarily benefit performance.

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A Narrative Review of Heart Rate Variability as a Good Index of Psychophysical Health in Athletes and in Biofeedback Training

Carlo Pruneti, Simone Ferrari, and Sara Guidotti

Stress is a psychophysical condition that causes an impairment in athletes’ performance by causing an increase in sympathetic activity and an autonomic imbalance. The current methods for the measurement of psychophysiological stress introduce the use of the heart rate variability as a useful index of the well-being of these people. The heart rate variability corresponds to the time intervals between consecutive heartbeats, such as an irregularity in the normal sinus heart rhythm whose variability is due to the control exercised by a complex system of mechanisms, including the respiratory control system, and provides information about the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. This review aims at summarizing the promising results, despite small amount, of the recent literature on the efficacy of heart rate variability biofeedback on the autonomic imbalance and psychophysical well-being of athletes as well as cognitive and motor performance.

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Volume 17 (2023): Issue 1 (Mar 2023)

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Exploring the Sport–Alcohol Relationship: A Longitudinal Qualitative Study of Student-Athlete Drinking Following the Transition out of University

Mark Jankowski, Sarah Partington, Nick Heather, and Elizabeth Partington

The purpose of this study was to provide new knowledge about the temporal and contextual aspects of the alcohol–sport relationship. Eight U.K. student-athletes completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test in their final year at university, 18 months, and 30 months after graduation. They also completed semistructured interviews about their drinking motives, behaviors, and life circumstances. Results showed that participants reduced their alcohol consumption after leaving university, but despite the onset of some adult responsibilities, most were still drinking at hazardous levels. After university, drinking took place with old friends, new colleagues, and new sporting teammates. At all time points, social drinking motives were the most prevalent. Findings demonstrate a relationship between alcohol and sport that is cemented at university but continues beyond it. Targeted interventions to reduce the role of alcohol in the social experience of sport are needed to support long-term athlete health.