This study aimed to test a model that hypothesized that the compassionate coach, as perceived by the athletes, has an impact on athlete-related social safeness and psychological health, through shame and self-criticism. The sample comprised 270 Portuguese adult athletes, who practiced different competitive sports. The path analysis results confirmed the adequacy of the proposed model, which explained 45% of the psychological health’s variance. Results demonstrated that athletes who perceive their coaches as more compassionate tend to present higher levels of social safeness (feelings of belonging to the team) and of psychological health, through lower levels of shame and self-criticism. These novel findings suggest the importance of the adoption of supportive, warm, safe, and compassionate attitudes from coaches in athletes’ mental health. This study also offers important insights by suggesting that feelings of acceptance and connectedness in team relationships may be at the root of athletes’ emotional processes and well-being.
Sara Oliveira, Marina Cunha, António Rosado, and Cláudia Ferreira
Susumu Iwasaki, Mary D. Fry, and Candace M. Hogue
The purpose of this study was to examine the mediating role of mindful engagement in the relationship between male high school athletes’ motivational climate perceptions on their teams (i.e., caring, task-, and ego-involving climate) to athlete coachability. Athletes (N = 164, M age = 15.58 years) from multiple sports completed measures assessing mindful engagement in sport (Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale—Revised), Caring Climate Scale, task- and ego-involving climate perceptions (Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire), and coachability (Athletic Coping Skills Inventory). Initial bivariate correlations linked mindful engagement and coachability positively with perceptions of a caring and task-involving climate and negatively with ego-involving climate perceptions. Structural equation modeling analyses then revealed mindful engagement mediated the relationship between climate and coachability. Encouraging coaches and players to foster a caring/task-involving climate might assist in enhancing athletes’ mindful engagement in sport, which may positively influence the degree to which they are coachable.
Dana K. Voelker, Nick Galli, Maya Miyairi, Justine J. Reel, and Karley James
Unhealthy cognitive–emotional relationships with exercise can hinder positive treatment outcomes when left unaddressed. However, clinicians lack validated tools to monitor this aspect of treatment. This study examined the 14-item Intuitive Exercise Scale with 165 patients in the United States (M age = 26.48 years) who were receiving treatment for an eating disorder. The original factor structure was inadequate for the current sample, and exploratory factor analysis generated three factors—emotional exercise, body intuition, and exercise variety. The three-factor solution yielded strong internal consistency and partial support for the scale’s validity. Furthermore, patients scored lowest in body intuition, confirming low awareness of bodily cues common in patients with eating disorders. This study informs how clinicians may integrate and monitor patients’ cognitive–emotional relationship with exercise as part of holistic and intuitive eating disorder treatment approaches.
Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Stinne Soendergaard, and Todd A. Gilson
The rate of alcohol consumption among student-athletes places them at risk for engaging in unsafe behaviors. Although coaches play a key role in regulating alcohol use among athletes, many lack the knowledge and self-confidence to be effective. This study aimed to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption literacy and alcohol confrontation efficacy among National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches and attempted to identify types of training and education wanted to better manage student-athlete alcohol use. A total of 518 National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches completed alcohol consumption literacy and alcohol confrontation efficacy measures and two open-ended questions about what kind of alcohol training, information, and skills were needed. When accounting for previous education/training and gender of team coached, alcohol consumption literacy predicted all confrontation efficacy subscales. Content analysis showed coaches wanted training related to alcohol literacy, effective communication, and prevention planning. Findings have implications for designing alcohol prevention and intervention programs aimed at National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches.
Jessica Murphy, Christopher Gladney, and Philip Sullivan
Student athletes balance academic, social, and athletic demands, often leading to increased levels of stress and poor sleep. This study explores the relationship between sleep quality, sleep hygiene, and psychological distress in a sample of student athletes. Ninety-four student athletes completed the six-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), Sleep Hygiene Practice Scale, and four components from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Age, gender, and sport were also collected. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index revealed that 44.7% of student athletes received ≥6.5 hr of sleep each night; 31% of athletes showed signs of severe mental illness according to the K6. Stepwise regression predicted K6 scores with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Sleep Hygiene Practice Scale scores as independent variables. A significant model accounting for 26% of the variation in K6 scores emerged; sleep schedule and sleep disturbances were significant predictors. Athletic staff should highlight the importance of sleep for mental health; suggestions on how to help athletes are provided.
Daniel J. Madigan, Henrik Gustafsson, Andrew P. Hill, Kathleen T. Mellano, Christine E. Pacewicz, Thomas D. Raedeke, and Alan L. Smith
The present editorial provides a series of perspectives on the future of burnout in sport. Specifically, for the first time, seven burnout researchers have offered their opinions and suggestions for how, as a field, we can progress our understanding of this important topic. A broad range of ideas are discussed, including the relevance of the social context, the value of theory and collaboration, and the use of public health frameworks in future work. It is hoped that these perspectives will help stimulate debate, reinforce and renew priorities, and guide research in this area over the coming years.
Nicole T. Gabana, Jeffrey B. Ruser, Mariya A. Yukhymenko-Lescroart, and Jenelle N. Gilbert
A holistic, multicultural approach to student-athlete mental health, well-being, and performance promotes the consideration of spiritual and religious identities in counseling and consultation. Preliminary research supports the interconnectedness of spirituality, religiosity, and gratitude in athletes; thus, this study sought to replicate Gabana, D’Addario, Luzzeri, and Soendergaard's study (2020) and extend the literature by examining a larger, independently sampled, more diverse data set and multiple types of gratitude. National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I–III student-athletes (N = 596) were surveyed to better understand how religious and spiritual identity related to trait, general-state, and sport-state gratitude. Results supported past research; athletes who self-identified as being both spiritual and religious reported greater dispositional (trait) gratitude than those who self-identified as spiritual/nonreligious or nonspiritual/nonreligious. Between group differences were not found when comparing general-state and sport-state gratitude. Findings strengthen and extend the understanding of spirituality, religion, and gratitude in sport. Limitations, practical implications, and future directions are discussed.
James E. Kaishian and Regina M. Kaishian
The physical impacts of overtraining, sport specification, and burnout are well documented in the literature; however, the state of the student-athlete’s (SA’s) mental health is something that needs to be investigated more comprehensively. Literature on SA mental health has gained prevalence within the last 5 years. The combination of pressure from sport and academics, as well as the stigmatization of clinical mental health treatment, can have a significant effect on the SA’s psyche. This review explores the prevalence of mental health conditions (MHCs) in high school and collegiate SAs. This includes signs and symptoms of mental health diagnoses to include substance- and alcohol-related addictive disorders and risk factors of such. A systematic review of the CINAHL, ERIC, SPORTDiscus, APA PsycINFO, and Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine resource databases was conducted. The initial search yielded 855 results. Following double screening, 22 studies were included, all of which were deemed medium to high quality. The findings indicate an alarming presence of MHCs ranging from risk factors of alcohol use and major depressive disorders among SAs. There was a high prevalence of mental health issues among SAs who are Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ). In most cases, participation in competitive athletics (varsity) did not contribute to additional MHCs for SAs. Sport psychologists should play a role in mental health programming within athletic departments. Athletic departments should develop proactive, targeted strategies to address MHCs for SAs.
Megan M. Byrd, Anthony P. Kontos, Shawn R. Eagle, and Samuel Zizzi
This study used an exploratory mixed-method sequential design to examine anger, impulsivity, and anxiety following sport-related concussions (SRC). Ten college athletes (M = 20.10 years, SD = 2.92) completed four measures 1–10 days postconcussion (Visit 1) and 11–20 days postconcussion (Visit 2). At return to play or 30 days postconcussion, the athletes completed a semistructured interview (follow-up) to assess their lived experiences of the emotional sequelae of concussions. All participants indicated experiencing some level of anxiety at Visit 1, with half the participants scoring above the measure’s threshold for probable clinical diagnosis of anxiety. The results found a significant decrease in symptoms and anxiety at Visit 2. Inductive coding revealed frustration, irritability, impulsive behavior, and fear of the unknown as themes pertaining to athletes’ experiences. The findings highlight the need for sports medicine and sport psychology professionals to provide athletes with information to normalize their emotional responses during recovery.