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Developing Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence in Adolescent Soccer: A Community Outreach Pilot Program

Sabrina Gomez Souffront, Enzo R.N. Everett, and Jason Kostrna

Sport provides opportunities for adolescents to develop psychological skills. To realize this potential, sport facilitators must actively create a culture that develops adolescent athletes. Psychological skills training and biofeedback training have been effective at developing psychological skills in adult athletes. However, little research has focused on the effects of psychological skills training and biofeedback training in adolescent athletes. This study tests the efficacy of a pilot community outreach program to promote psychological skills development in adolescent soccer players from a travel soccer team (n = 21). During the 2-week intervention, researchers taught participants psychophysiological content related to self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and decision making. The psychological skills training sessions included active learning activities, group discussions, and reflection. Throughout the sessions, researchers used biofeedback to demonstrate and train participants in psychophysiological concepts. The 2-week intervention gave participants opportunities each day to monitor and reflect on their psychological performance state. Program evaluation data showed descriptive improvements in the ability to focus, control arousal, reduce stress, and control emotions. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests revealed significant positive changes occurred for decision-making self-efficacy. The intervention and efficacy of this study support applied practitioners’ integration of biofeedback and psychological skills training to improve adolescents’ self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and decision making.

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Predictive Factors for Compulsive Exercise in Adolescent Athletes: A Cross-Sectional Study

Martine Fortier, Christopher Rodrigue, Camille Clermont, Anne-Sophie Gagné, Audrey Brassard, Daniel Lalande, and Jacinthe Dion

Although exercise is generally considered a healthy lifestyle habit, it may be problematic for some people. This has led to growing research on compulsive exercise—an uncontrollable urge for physical activity despite its deleterious effects. A maintenance model of compulsive exercise has been developed for adults exhibiting weight and shape concerns, weight control behaviors, and specific psychological states (including depression and anxiety) as predictive factors. We identified predicting factors for compulsive exercise in adolescent athletes using the same model framework. These athletes completed the compulsive exercise test and several well-validated psychometric measures. Gender-specific multiple regression models identified stronger drive for thinness, perfectionism, and body image investment in sport as significant predictors of compulsive exercise in boys and girls. Among girls, asceticism and bulimia symptoms were also significantly associated with compulsive exercise. These findings support the relevance of the model for clinical intervention and research on compulsive exercise in adolescent athletes.

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Volume 39 (2023): Issue 6 (Dec 2023)

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Volume 17 (2023): Issue 4 (Dec 2023): JCSP Special Issue Burnout in Sport and Performance, Part 2

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The Biomechanics Research and Innovation Challenge: Development, Implementation, Uptake, and Reflections on the Inaugural Program

Celeste E. Coltman, Martina Barzan, Manuela Besomi, Victoria Brackley, Jaquelin A. Bousie, Julie Choisne, Laura E. Diamond, Taylor J.M. Dick, Nicole D’Souza, Samantha Fien, Alycia Fong Yan, Sheridan A. Gho, Alexandra Giraldo-Pedroza, Laura A. Hutchinson, Laura V. Hutchison, Crystal O. Kean, Maddison M. Kirk, Amy Lewis, Jayishini N. Maharaj, Nina Maher, Kerry J. Mann, Suzanne Martin, Karen J. Mickle, Azadeh Nasseri, Isobel H. Oon, Rory Purdie, Shayan L. Quinlan, Ceridwen R. Radcliffe, Suzanne J. Snodgrass, Siddharth Verma, and Michelle Hall

Biomechanics as a discipline is ideally placed to increase awareness and participation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A nationwide Biomechanics and Research Innovation Challenge (BRInC) centered on mentoring and role modeling was developed to engage high school girls (mentees) and early-mid-career women (mentors) in the field of biomechanics through the completion of a 100-day research and/or innovation project. This manuscript describes the development, implementation, and uptake of the inaugural BRInC program and synthesizes the research and innovation projects undertaken, providing a framework for adoption of this program within the global biomechanics community. Eighty-seven high school girls in years 9 and 10 (age range: 14–16 y) were mentored in teams (n = 17) by women in biomechanics (n = 24). Using a design thinking approach, teams generated solutions to biomechanics-based problem(s)/research question(s). Eight key reflections on program strengths, as well as areas for improvement and planned changes for future iterations of the BRInC program, are outlined. These key reflections highlight the innovation, impact, and scalability of the program; the importance of a program framework and effective communication tools; and implementation of strategies to sustain the program as well as the importance of diversity and building a sense of community.

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The Combined Influence of Infant Carrying Method and Motherhood on Gait Mechanics

Kathryn L. Havens, Sarah Goldrod, and Erin M. Mannen

Postpartum mothers are susceptible to lumbopelvic pain which may be exacerbated by loading, like carrying their infant in arms and with baby carriers. Nulliparous women carrying infant mannequins may biomechanically mimic mother–infant dyad, but this has not been studied. The purpose of our study was to investigate biomechanical differences of 10 mothers carrying their infants and 10 nulliparous women carrying infant mannequins under 3 gait conditions: carrying nothing, carrying in arms, and carrying in a baby carrier (babywearing). Spatiotemporal gait parameters, peak ground reaction forces and impulses, and lower extremity and trunk kinematics were collected using motion capture and force plates and compared using a mixed 2 × 3 (parity × condition) analysis of variance (α ≤ .05). The largest differences occurred between carrying conditions: carrying in arms or babywearing increased vertical and anteroposterior ground reaction forces, trunk extension, ankle dorsiflexion, and hip and knee flexion. Kinematic differences were identified between arms and babywearing conditions. Together this suggests alterations in joint loading for both groups. Our study also contributes a novel understanding of postpartum health by demonstrating alterations in step time, anterior forces, and ankle and knee mechanics, suggesting that during gait, mothers carrying their own infants choose different propulsive strategies than nulliparous women carrying mannequins.

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Sex-Related Differences in Shoulder Complex Joint Dynamics Variability During Pediatric Manual Wheelchair Propulsion

Joshua M. Leonardis, Alyssa J. Schnorenberg, Lawrence C. Vogel, Gerald F. Harris, and Brooke A. Slavens

More than 80% of adult manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injuries will experience shoulder pain. Females and those with decreased shoulder dynamics variability are more likely to experience pain in adulthood. Sex-related differences in shoulder dynamics variability during pediatric manual wheelchair propulsion may influence the lifetime risk of pain. We evaluated the influence of sex on 3-dimensional shoulder complex joint dynamics variability in 25 (12 females and 13 males) pediatric manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury. Within-subject variability was quantified using the coefficient of variation. Permutation tests evaluated sex-related differences in variability using an adjusted critical alpha of P = .001. No sex-related differences in sternoclavicular or acromioclavicular joint kinematics or glenohumeral joint dynamics variability were observed (all P ≥ .042). Variability in motion, forces, and moments are considered important components of healthy joint function, as reduced variability may increase the likelihood of repetitive strain injury and pain. While further work is needed to generalize our results to other manual wheelchair user populations across the life span, our findings suggest that sex does not influence joint dynamics variability in pediatric manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury.

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The Effects of Optical Flow Perturbations on Standing Balance in People With Multiple Sclerosis

Olivia S. Elie, Jason R. Franz, and Brian P. Selgrade

Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that causes balance deficits, even in early stages. Evidence suggests that people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) rely more on vision to maintain balance, and challenging balance with optical flow perturbations may be a practical screening for balance deficits. Whether these perturbations affect standing balance in PwMS is unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how optical flow perturbations affect standing balance in PwMS. We hypothesized that perturbations would cause higher variability in PwMS compared with matched controls during standing and that standing balance would be more susceptible to anterior–posterior (A–P) perturbations than medial–lateral (M–L) perturbations. Thirteen PwMS and 13 controls stood under 3 conditions: unperturbed, M–L perturbation, and A–P perturbations. A–P perturbations caused significantly higher A–P trunk sway variability in PwMS than controls, although both groups had similar center-of-pressure variability. Both perturbations increased variability in A–P trunk sway and center of pressure. Trunk variability data supported the hypothesis that PwMS were more susceptible to optical flow perturbations than controls. However, the hypothesis that A–P perturbations would affect balance more than M–L perturbations was partially supported. These results suggest potential for optical flow perturbations to identify balance deficits in PwMS.

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Changes in Physical Activity Associated With a Multicomponent Weight-Loss Randomized Controlled Trial for Youth With Intellectual Disabilities

Richard K. Fleming, Misha Eliasziw, Gretchen A. Dittrich, Carol Curtin, Melissa Maslin, Aviva Must, and Linda G. Bandini

Youth with intellectual disabilities engage in low levels of physical activity (PA). An aim of this family-based weight-loss behavioral intervention (FBBI) trial was to increase and sustain PA in these youth. Accelerometry data were available from 21 individuals with intellectual disabilities, age 14–22 years. Each completed the 6-month FBBI, after which 10 completed a 6-month maintenance intervention (FBBI-M), and 11 received no further intervention (FBBI-C). Twenty participated in a further 6-month follow-up. Accelerometry data were analyzed using linear mixed models. During FBBI, mean (SE) moderate to vigorous PA increased by 4.1 (2.5) min/day and light PA by 24.2 (13.5) min/day. Mean (SE) difference in moderate to vigorous PA between participants in FBBI-M and FBBI-C at 18 months was 14.0 (5.1) min/day (p = .005); mean (SE) difference in light PA was 47.4 (27.4) min/day (p = .08). Increasing PA through behavioral intervention is possible in youth with intellectual disabilities.

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The Effectiveness of a Sleep Optimization Program on Insomnia, Anxiety, Perceived Stress, and Emotion Dysregulation Among Football Players With Sleep Complaints

Kazem Emami, Shahram Nazari, Amy M. Bender, Rasool Norouzi Seyed Hossini, and Ebrahim Norouzi

Research has shown that elite athletes frequently experience both insufficient and poor-quality sleep. In the present study, we examined the effectiveness of a sleep optimization intervention comprised of mindfulness and sleep hygiene on insomnia severity, symptoms of anxiety, stress, and emotion dysregulation among football players with sleep complaints. Sixty male football players with sleep complaints (mean age = 29.31, SD = 3.8) were randomly assigned to the active control condition (wellness program) or the sleep optimization intervention program (mindfulness plus sleep hygiene). All participants filled out questionnaires on insomnia severity, anxiety, perceived stress, and emotion dysregulation. Three data assessments were made: one at the start of the intervention (baseline), one at the end of the intervention 8 weeks later (posttest), and one 4 weeks after the posttest (follow-up). The severity of insomnia, anxiety, stress, and emotion dysregulation decreased over time in the sleep optimization group from baseline to posttest and at the follow-up. According to the present results, a sleep optimization intervention reduced insomnia, anxiety, stress symptoms, and emotion dysregulation in football players with sleep complaints.