Leadership is often formalized within sport through captaincy, but researchers have yet to examine the realities of captaincy at the highest level of professional competition. The current study examined the benefits, pressures, and challenges of leadership and captaincy in the National Hockey League (NHL). One captain of an NHL team participated in two in-depth interviews, providing thorough descriptions of his first-hand experiences as an NHL captain, including (a) the techniques he uses to manage his media obligations, (b) his role as a communication bridge between players and coaches, (c) the composition of his leadership group, and (d) examples of interactions that occur during player-only meetings. The transition to captaincy was considered an especially challenging and pressure-filled period. Practical implications for sport psychology consultants are discussed in terms of how they can assist captains of elite competitive teams in setting realistic expectations for their leadership role.
John Scott-Hamilton and Nicola S. Schutte
This study examined the role of degree of adherence in a mindfulness-based intervention on mindfulness, flow, sport anxiety, and sport-related pessimistic attributions in athletes. Twelve athletes participated in an 8-week mindfulness intervention which incorporated a mindfulness focus on movement training component. Participants completed baseline and posttest measures of mindfulness, flow, sport anxiety, and sport-related pessimistic attributions, and they filled out daily mindfulness-training logbooks documenting their frequency and duration of mindfulness practice. Participants were identified as either high adherence or low adherence with mindfulness-training based on a composite score of logbook practice records and workshop attendance. Athletes high in adherence, operationalized as following recommended practice of mindfulness exercises, showed significantly greater increases in mindfulness and aspects of flow, and significantly greater decreases in pessimism and anxiety than low adherence athletes. Greater increases in mindfulness from baseline to posttest were associated with greater increases in flow and greater decreases in pessimism. Increases in flow were associated with decreases in somatic anxiety and pessimism.
Leilani Madrigal, Katherine Wurst, and Diane L. Gill
In this study, we explored mental toughness, injury response, and coping among female athletes in roller derby (n = 68) and collegiate rugby (n = 122). Participants completed a survey with measures of mental toughness, hardiness, optimism, coping with injury and psychological response to injury, as well as questions regarding injury status. Injured roller derby players had a more negative response to injury than injured rugby players, but did not differ on mental toughness. Mental toughness was related to approach styles of coping and negatively related to adverse psychological responses to injury. Rugby players who would play through injury reported higher mental toughness than those who would not play through injury; however, the reverse was found for roller derby players. Mental toughness is related to adaptive coping and positive injury response, but also to engaging in activity when injured, with potential detrimental effects.
Rachel S. Wahto, Joshua K. Swift, and Jason L. Whipple
The purposes of this study were to (a) examine the relationships between public stigma, self-stigma, and mental health help-seeking attitudes in college studentathletes, and (b) test whether referral source would have an impact on student-athletes’ willingness to seek mental health help. Participating college student-athletes (n = 43) completed an online survey including measures of stigma (public and self), attitudes, and willingness to seek mental health help. The results indicated that public stigma and self-stigma predicted a significant proportion of variance in attitudes (66%) above and beyond gender and treatment-use history. In addition, student-athletes were more willing to seek help when referred by a family member compared with a coach (d = 0.89), a teammate (d = 1.05), or oneself (d = 1.28). The results have important implications for helping student-athletes seek mental health help when there is a need.
Michael Amrhein, Harald Barkhoff, and Elaine M. Heiby
Although research on the psychological correlates of ocean surfing is scarce, substantial anecdotal evidence suggests that the sport offers a uniquely positive experience. Prior research has demonstrated that surfers report fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than normative groups, but no explanation has been identified. Greater spirituality has been correlated with lower depression and anxiety, and many surfers have described surfing as a spiritual experience, indicating a potential connection. One hundred surfers were recruited from the Hawaiian Islands and the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Participants reported their surfing habits and levels of their spiritual surfing experiences. Standardized tests were used to measure participants’ spirituality, depression, and anxiety levels. Results indicated that surfers reported fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than most available normative groups. Results also demonstrated that greater spirituality is associated with less depression and more spiritual surfing experiences.
Timothy LaVigne, Betsy Hoza, Alan L. Smith, Erin K. Shoulberg, and William Bukowski
We examined the relation between physical fitness and psychological well-being in children ages 10–14 years (N = 222), and the potential moderation of this relation by sex. Participants completed a physical fitness assessment comprised of seven tasks and a diverse set of self-report well-being measures assessing depressive symptoms, loneliness, and competence. Peers reported on social status and teachers rated adaptive functioning, internalizing symptoms, and externalizing symptoms. Multiple regression analyses indicated a significant association between physical fitness and psychological well-being for both boys and girls. Higher levels of physical fitness were associated with lower levels of peer dyadic loneliness and fewer depressive symptoms; greater cognitive, social, and athletic competence; greater feelings of self-worth; and better teacher reports of adaptive functioning. An interaction between internalizing and sex indicated a significant and negative association between physical fitness and internalizing symptoms for males only. No other moderation effects by sex were observed. Results suggest that physical fitness is associated with a range of well-being indicators for both boys and girls in this age group.
Nick Galli, Justine J. Reel, Hester Henderson, and Nicole Detling
The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to explore the body image of athletes with physical disabilities, and (b) to understand how sport influences body image among these athletes. We interviewed 20 male and female athletes (M age = 34.25, SD = 8.49) from a variety of sports regarding their body image and the role of sport in influencing body image. A thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to generate six themes: (a) personal significance of injury and disability, (b) noncentrality of the body and disability, (c) positive influence of sport on body esteem, (d) social factors influencing body-related emotions and perceptions, (e) body critiques and preferences, and (f) positive thoughts and emotions about the body. Sport seemed to be an important vehicle for experiencing body-related pride, and athletes expressed an intimate connection with the body parts that enabled them to physically compete.
David J. Blakelock, Mark A. Chen, and Tim Prescott
Elite adolescent soccer players may represent one athletic population that is vulnerable to developing psychological distress following deselection. This study examined the proportion of players experiencing clinical levels of psychological distress following selection procedures and whether player status (i.e., deselected vs. retained) had a significant effect on psychological distress. Data was collected from 91 players who completed the General Health Questionnaire -12 at three time points: 7–14 days before selection procedures, 7 days after and 21 days after. Although outcomes were heterogeneous, a sizable proportion of deselected players were found to experience clinical levels of psychological distress. A factorial ANOVA (p < .001) found that deselected players experienced higher levels of psychological distress than retained players at postselection time points. The research provides evidence that some deselected players are “at risk” of developing clinical levels of psychological distress. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Kamuran Yerlikaya Balyan, Serdar Tok, Arkun Tatar, Erdal Binboga, and Melih Balyan
The present study examined the association between personality, competitive anxiety, somatic anxiety and physiological arousal in athletes with high and low anxiety levels. Anxiety was manipulated by means of an incentive. Fifty male participants, first, completed the Five Factor Personality Inventory and their resting electro dermal activity (EDA) was recorded. In the second stage, participants were randomly assigned to high or low anxiety groups. Individual EDAs were recorded again to determine precompetition physiological arousal. Participants also completed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) and played a computer-simulated soccer match. Results showed that neuroticism was related to both CSAI-2 components and physiological arousal only in the group receiving the incentive. Winners had higher levels of cognitive anxiety and lower levels of physiological arousal than losers. On the basis of these findings, we concluded that an athlete’s neurotic personality may influence his cognitive and physiological responses in a competition.
Brigid Byrd and Jeffrey J. Martin
The purpose of this cross sectional study was to predict feelings of belonging and social responsibility based on climate perceptions of youth participating in a middle school running program. Method: Seventy-four youth from a middle school track and cross country program in the Midwest participated. Results: Based on multiple regression analyses we predicted 52% of the variance in feelings of belonging largely due to perceptions of leadership emotional support and task climate and 25% of the variance in feelings of social responsibility largely due to perceptions of a caring climate. Conclusions: Our findings support the importance of middle school running programs which offered an environment allowing multiple psychosocial benefits, such as nurturing feelings of belonging and social responsibility.