This study documented the lived career-ending injury experiences among elite Irish rugby football union (IRFU) players. Three players took part in semistructured one-on-one interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, 1996) revealed that the process of psychosocial injury rehabilitation and the subsequent transition process was for the most part a distressing one and evolved in a cyclical, yet stage-like (Heil, 1994), manner. The nature of the postinjury career transition appeared to be dependent on the interactional balance of participants’ psychosocial responses to injury, existing coping mechanisms, and other factors related to the injury and career transition process. Appropriate social support network, use of sport medicine and counseling professionals, as well as organizational officials are needed to best prepare elite rugby players for life outside of sport, and to ensure a healthy career transition (Taylor & Ogilvie, 1994) out of sport.
Monna Arvinen-Barrow, Diarmuid Hurley and Montse C. Ruiz
Brad Donohue, Ashley Dowd, Corey Philips, Christopher P. Plant, Travis Loughran and Yulia Gavrilova
Recruitment of participants into treatment outcome studies is an important and often challenging aspect of human research. Yet, there have been very few controlled trials that have examined methods of recruiting participants into clinical trials, particularly in populations that may be reluctant to pursue mental health intervention, such as athletes. In this study, 79 NCAA Division I, Club, and Intramural student-athletes volunteered to participate in a study to determine their interest in participating in one of two goal-oriented programs representing two arms in a clinical trial. These programs were aimed at reducing substance abuse and sexually transmitted infections, and improving mental health, relationships, and sport performance. The participants were randomly assigned to Standard Recruitment (SR) or Recruitment Engagement (RE). RE included a review of the aforementioned outcome study and implementation of strategies that were developed to motivate participants to engage in treatment. The SR condition involved a review of the aforementioned treatment outcome study only. After the recruitment interventions were implemented, participants were queried to report any negative consequences that may have occurred from their use of illicit drugs or alcohol. Participants who reported negative consequences were invited to participate in baseline assessment of the aforementioned outcome study. Results indicated that 11 (25.0%) of the participants in the RE condition provided their consent to participate, 9 (20.5%) of whom subsequently completed baseline assessment; only 2 (5.7%) of the SR participants provided their study consent and subsequently participated in baseline assessment for the clinical trial (p < .05). After the respective recruitment intervention was implemented, participants were administered psychometrically validated instruments to assess their overall psychiatric functioning and the extent to which their sport performance was negatively impacted by dysfunctional thoughts and stress. Participants in RE were more likely to report greater dysfunctional thoughts and stress interfering with their sport performance (and, to a lesser extent, greater psychiatric problems) than SR participants, suggesting RE may influence greater disclosure of problem behavior than SR, permitting the interviewers opportunities to empathize with the participants’ concerns. Results are discussed in light of their implications to treatment outcome research and clinical and counseling practice involving student-athletes.
Alexander Brian Yu, Thomas Nguyen and Trent Petrie
As racially diverse, early-career sport psychology consultants (SPCs), we reflect on our experiences working with collegiate athletes and coaches whose racial/ethnic status were different from our own. Our reflections cover (a) the external effects of stereotypes, presence (and pernicious effects) of microaggressions, and strategies for effectively coping with such transgressions; (b) stereotype threat and how Jeremy Lin’s entry into the NBA affected our self-perceptions; and (c) a call to action to further promote a multicultural approach to sport psychology training, research, and practice. In sharing these thoughts, we hope to promote further dialogue in the emerging field of cultural sport psychology.
Tobias Lundgren, Lennart Högman, Markus Näslund and Thomas Parling
Elite level ice hockey places high demands on player’s physical and technical attributes as well as on cognitive and executive functions. There is, however, a notable lack of research on these attributes and functions. The present study investigated executive function with selected tests from the D-KEFS test battery among 48 ice hockey players and compared them to a standardized sample. Results show that ice hockey players’ scores were significantly higher on Design Fluency (DF) compared with the standardized sample score. Elite players’ scores were not significantly higher than those of lower-league hockey players. A significant correlation was found between on-ice performance and Trail Making Test (TMT) scores. Exploratory analysis showed that elite-level center forwards scored significantly higher on DF than did players in other positions. Future research should investigate whether assessment of executive function should be taken into account, in addition to physical and technical skills, when scouting for the next ice hockey star.
Kevin M. Antshel, Laura E. VanderDrift and Jeffrey S. Pauline
The NCAA Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations and Learning of Students in College data were used to explore the relationship between self-reported high levels of difficulties thinking or concentrating and grade point average (GPA) in college student-athletes. We specifically investigated the mediators of the relationship between self-reported high levels of difficulties thinking or concentrating and GPA. Results revealed there was a significant indirect effect between self-reporting the highest level of difficulties thinking or concentrating and service use through GPA, moderated by identity, full model: F(4, 14738) = 184.28, p < .001; R 2 = .22. The athletic/academic identity variable acted as a moderator of the mediating effect of GPA on the relationship between self-reported high levels of difficulties thinking or concentrating and the use of academic resources on campus. If a student-athlete who is self-reporting high levels of difficulties thinking or concentrating identifies more as a student, GPA is likely to prompt academic service use. However, if the student-athlete identifies more as an athlete, GPA is less likely to lead to use of campus academic support resources.
Andrew Romaine, J.D. DeFreese, Kevin Guskiewicz and Johna Register-Mihalik
As head injuries in American football have received increasing publicity, the safety of the sport has become a great concern for parents nationwide. The purpose of this study was to examine perceived safety concerns in youth football using Eccles’ expectancy-value model (Eccles et al., 1983). We hypothesized perceived safety concerns to moderate relationships between parent perceptions of parent cost/benefit, child cost/benefit, and child motivation and enjoyment outcomes for football. Youth football parents (N = 105, M age = 42) completed valid and reliable online assessments of study variables. Regression analyses revealed child safety concerns (as rated by parents) to mediate, rather than moderate, the relationship between parent safety concerns and child cost perceptions (as rated by parents). Furthermore, safety concerns did not significantly associate with child achievement outcomes of motivation and enjoyment. Results provide valuable insight into parent and child attitudes toward youth football safety. Such knowledge may inform future educational interventions targeting sport safety promotion.
Emily Kaier, Danielle Zanotti, Joanne L. Davis, Kathleen Strunk and Lisa DeMarni Cromer
Sleep concerns are prevalent among student-athletes and can result in impaired athletic and academic performance. The current study investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of a brief sleep workshop for student-athletes. Athletes (N = 152) completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires (n = 104) after the intervention. Greater than half of the athletes (51%) who attended the workshops and followup reported at least one change in sleep behaviors. Results revealed a significant decrease in sleepiness from baseline to follow-up and an improvement in daytime functioning. Although athletes reported an increase in problematic sleep hygiene behaviors, they recorded significant increases in sleep knowledge from baseline to follow-up, which was maintained at the second follow-up. These longitudinal data provide evidence that a brief psychoeducation sleep workshop for student-athletes is promising for improving sleep knowledge and daily functioning.
Douglas Worthen and James K. Luiselli
Female high school athletes playing volleyball and soccer (N = 32) responded to a social validity questionnaire that inquired about their experiences with a sportfocused mindfulness training program. On average, the student-athletes rated most highly the effects of mindfulness training on emotional awareness and attention focusing, the contribution of mindfulness toward team play, the benefit of having coaches learn mindfulness skills, and the application of mindfulness to other sports. There were dissimilar ratings between the volleyball and soccer student-athletes concerning use of mindfulness when preparing for and during games. Most of the formal mindfulness practices taught during the training program were rated as being helpful to very helpful. We discuss factors influencing these findings and implications for mindfulness–sport performance research.
Jessica J. DeGaetano, Andrew T. Wolanin, Donald R. Marks and Shiloh M. Eastin
The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of psychosocial factors and psychological flexibility on rehabilitation protocol adherence in a sample of injured collegiate athletes. Self-report measures were given to injured athletes before the start of a physical rehabilitation protocol. Upon completion of rehabilitation, each athlete was assessed by the chief athletic trainer using a measure of rehabilitation adherence. Correlational analyses and bootstrapped logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine whether broad psychosocial factors and level of psychological flexibility predicted engagement and adherence to a rehabilitation protocol. Psychological flexibility, as measured on the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (2nd ed.; Bond et al., 2011), contributed significantly to the overall logistic regression model. Study findings suggested that assessment of psychological flexibility could give medical providers a way to evaluate both quickly and quantitatively potentially problematic behavioral responding among injured athletes, allowing for more effective adherence monitoring.
Meghan Schreck, Robert Althoff, Meike Bartels, Eco de Geus, Jeremy Sibold, Christine Giummo, David Rubin and James Hudziak
Few studies have explored the relation between withdrawn behavior (WB) and exercise and screen time. The current study used exploratory factor analysis to examine the factor structure of leisure-time exercise behavior (LTEB) and screentime sedentary behavior (STSB) in a clinical sample of youth. Structural equation modeling was employed to investigate the relations between WB and LTEB and STSB, conditional on gender. WB was assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist, and LTEB and STSB were measured using the Vermont Health Behavior Questionnaire. LTEB and STSB emerged as two separate factors. Gender moderated the structure of STSB only. For boys and girls, WB was inversely related to LTEB but not significantly related to STSB. LTEB and STSB are best represented as distinct, uncorrelated constructs. In addition, withdrawn youth may be at risk for poor health outcomes due to lower rates of LTEB. Mental health clinicians, sports psychologists, and related providers may be uniquely qualified to enhance motivation for sports participation in withdrawn youth.