The stress experiences and their impact upon the daily lives and mental well-being of English Premier League professional (soccer) football coaches were explored using an in-depth qualitative design. Eight participants were interviewed using a semi-structured approach with thematic and causal network analysis revealing that (a) a range of contextually dependent demands were experienced and interpreted in relation to their situational properties; (b) many demands were appraised and emotionally responded to in a negative manner; (c) a range of coping strategies were adopted to cope with stress experiences, with many reported as ineffective; and (d) stress experiences often led to negative implications for their daily lives and eudaimonic and hedonic well-being. Positive adaptations to some demands experienced were reported and augmented perceptions of mental well-being. The findings of this study make a novel and significant contribution to understanding the interrelationships between the principal components of the stress process and the prospective links between stress and mental well-being.
Lee Baldock, Brendan Cropley, Rich Neil, and Stephen D. Mellalieu
Lewis King, Sarah Jane Cullen, Jean McArdle, Adrian McGoldrick, Jennifer Pugh, Giles Warrington, and Ciara Losty
The purpose of this study was to explore the sources of stress reported by professional jockeys. In total, 15 jockeys participated in semistructured interviews that included apprentice, conditional, and senior jockeys. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data that included inductive and deductive approaches. Jockeys reported a wide range of stress sources. Four core themes were identified and categorized as competitive (current form or being in a slump, pressure, horse, injury, opponents, tactical, and race day), racing industry (weight, workload, travel demands, injury concerns, suspension, and facilities), interpersonal (trainer, other jockeys, expectations of others, support networks, and communication), and career stressors (career uncertainty, career opportunities, and transitions). The findings highlight unique stressors to the jockey population, as well as stressors common with other athlete groups. Practical applied recommendations and future research directions are provided.
Martin K. Erikstad, Bjørn Tore Johansen, Marius Johnsen, Tommy Haugen, and Jean Côté
The personal assets framework suggests that dynamic elements of (a) personal engagement in activities, (b) quality social dynamics, and (c) appropriate settings will influence an athlete’s long-term outcomes of performance, personal development, and continued participation in sport. The aim of the present study was to conduct a case study of a Norwegian age-restricted team that was successful in promoting participation, performance, and positive development for individual participants and to investigate how the dynamic elements of activities, social dynamics, and settings have led to these long-term outcomes. The results indicated that the case is a best-practice example of successful attainment of personal development and long-term participation and performance through appropriate structure and application of the dynamic elements within the personal assets framework, including enjoyable peer-led play activities and quality practice, quality relationships with teammates and coaches, and access to facilities.
Gabriella Whitcomb-Khan, Nick Wadsworth, Kristin McGinty-Minister, Stewart Bicker, Laura Swettenham, and David Tod
This study explored the experiences of elite athletes during the initial stages of lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The eight recruited participants (three females, five males) were asked to tell a story of their lockdown experience. Narrative analysis was used to explore the athletes’ stories. The athletes’ narrative is best represented in four distinct sections: (a) threat to goals, (b) ongoing consequences, (c) overcoming COVID-19, and (d) adapting to COVID-19. Four narrative themes were also coconstructed from the athletes’ stories: (a) factors athletes found challenging, (b) loss, (c) strategies that benefitted athletes psychologically, and (d) silver linings. Combined, these findings suggest that the initial stages of lockdown are best described as a critical pause. The authors present applied implications for athletes and sport psychology practitioners. The authors also recommend that future research investigate the longitudinal effect of prolonged lockdown on athletes’ lives and a potential return to sport.
Diana M. Doumas and Nadine R. Mastroleo
High school athletes are at risk for heavy alcohol use, which is associated with consequences that may negatively impact performance and eligibility to participate in sports. This study evaluated the efficacy of a web-based personalized normative feedback intervention on reducing alcohol use among high school athletes in their senior year. Class periods were randomized to the intervention or an assessment-only control group. Athletes completed surveys at baseline and at a 6-week follow-up. They were classified as high-risk or low-risk drinkers based on baseline reports of binge drinking. Results indicated that for athletes classified as high-risk drinkers, those in the intervention group reported significantly greater reductions in quantity of weekly drinking and peak drinking quantity compared with those in the assessment-only control group. There were no significant intervention effects for frequency of alcohol use. Findings support the efficacy of web-based personalized normative feedback intervention for reducing alcohol use among high school senior athletes.
Piotr A. Piasecki, Todd M. Loughead, Kyle F. Paradis, and Krista J. Munroe-Chandler
In an effort to increase perceptions of cohesion among intercollegiate soccer players, a team-based mindfulness meditation program was undertaken. This team-building program was delivered by using a personal-disclosure mutual-sharing approach. A total of 31 female intercollegiate soccer players from two teams participated. Assigned to the intervention condition was a Canadian intercollegiate team (U Sports), while the control condition was an American intercollegiate team (NCAA, Division II). The participants completed a measure of cohesion (Group Environment Questionnaire) pre- and postintervention. Controlling for the preintervention scores, the 8-week team-based mindfulness meditation program resulted in significantly higher perceptions of social cohesion for the intervention group compared with the control group at postintervention. However, there were no significant differences in task cohesion between the intervention and control groups at postintervention. Using personal disclosure, mutual sharing seems a viable approach by which to deliver a team-based mindfulness meditation program to enhance a team’s social cohesion.
Jonathan R. Males, John H. Kerr, and Joanne Hudson
This case study examines the personal experiences of an elite athlete, coach, and sport psychology consultant (SPC) during the athlete’s preparation and performance in a recent Olympic Games. The qualitative research details how the consultancy process was affected by the athlete’s late admission of the deteriorating relationship with his coach. The concepts of closeness, commitment, complementarity, and co-orientation provided a theoretical perspective to the SPC’s interpretation of athlete performance and the interpersonal conflict that developed between athlete and coach. The basic performance demand model provided an applied perspective. The SPC’s commentary adopts a reflexive discursive style that also focuses on the SPC’s role in the consultancy process and the effectiveness of the performance demand model materials. Five important recommendations arise from the case study, and these might inform other SPCs’ future athlete–coach consultancies and interventions.
Tom Webb, Paul Gorczynski, Shakiba Oftadeh-Moghadam, and Laura Grubb
Research into the mental health of female sport match officials is scarce, despite verbal and physical abuse being commonplace. Twelve female match officials officiating male and female matches took part in semistructured interviews, investigating their experiences and understanding of their mental health. Deductive thematic analysis identified four overarching themes: male and female football environments; abuse, sexism, and homophobia in football; formal and informal support networks; and mental health knowledge and experience—accessing services. The results revealed toxic, abusive, male-dominated environments that included sexist and derogatory language, negatively affecting their mental health. The female match officials struggled to ascertain mechanisms for support and identified that the educational courses and local organizations did not provide mental health information or training, and match officials often experienced poor mental health during and after matches. Increased engagement with mental health literacy and policy change from governing bodies is required, given the unique challenges female match officials face.