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Insa Nixdorf, Raphael Frank, Martin Hautzinger and Juergen Beckmann

Depression among elite athletes is a topic of increasing interest, but empirical data are rare. The present study aimed to provide insight into the prevalence of depressive symptoms among German elite athletes and possible associated factors. In an online survey of 162 athletes, we explored depressive symptoms, chronic stress, coping strategies and stress-recovery states. Results indicated an overall prevalence of 15% for depression among elite athletes (n = 99), and revealed higher levels of depressive symptoms among the individual athletes than the team athletes. Furthermore, correlation analyses showed a significant connection between high levels of depressive symptoms and high levels of chronic stress, negative coping strategies and negative stress-recovery states. Results indicate that the prevalence for depressive symptoms in elite athletes is comparable to that in the general German population. Moreover, exploratory analyses provide first indications of factors associated with depressive symptoms.

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Jennifer I. Gapin and Brianna Kearns

Athletes in sports with weight requirements may be especially vulnerable to eating disorders (EDs), yet there is limited research regarding collegiate rowers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine prevalence rates of ED symptoms in 133 male and female competitive collegiate rowers in lightweight and open weight programs. This is the first study to examine eating pathology in rowers using a diagnostic tool based on DSM-IV criteria, the Q-EDD; and examining ED symptoms using the EDI-2 (drive for thinness [DT] and body dissatisfaction [BD]). The majority of rowers were classified as symptomatic (n = 65; 49%) or clinical (n = 5; 4%). Lightweight rowers had a significantly higher prevalence of eating pathology and a significantly greater DT and BD than open weight rowers. Males had considerably higher prevalence of eating pathology than females, but females had significantly greater BD. Ongoing monitoring of rowers’ eating behaviors is highly encouraged. Implications for counseling and prevention are discussed.

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Laura D. DiPasquale and Trent A. Petrie

Eating disorder prevalence rates among athletes vary greatly because of the different ways in which researchers have measured and classified them, and the extent to which they are higher than those found among nonathletes remains unresolved. The present study examined prevalence of eating disorders, body image issues, and weight control behaviors using a valid diagnostic measure. Participants included 146 male and 156 female NCAA Division I student-athletes and a matched sample of 170 male and 353 female collegiate nonathletes. Overall, eating disorder prevalence rates and use of pathogenic weight control behaviors were lower among nonathletes than athletes. Rates for athletes in the current study were lower than previous studies. These findings are likely due to the lack of anonymity the athletes had when completing questionnaires, as data were collected through athletes’ preseason physicals, whereas nonathletes completed questionnaires anonymously over the Internet. Recommendations for athletic departments’ screening for eating disorders are made.

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Jeremy J. Noble, Michael B. Madson, Richard S. Mohn and Jon T. Mandracchia

Heavy episodic drinking (HED) is related to an increase in negative consequences (Wechsler, Lee, Kuo, & Lee, 2000) including approximately 599,000 unintentional injuries and 1,825 deaths annually among college students (Hingson, Edwards, Heeren, & Rosenbloom, 2009). College athletes participate in greater alcohol consumption and experience more negative consequences than their nonathlete peers (Hildebrand, Johnson, & Bogle, 2001). Protective behavioral strategies (PBS) have played a significant role in reducing alcohol-related negative consequences within the college population (Martens et al., 2004). However, little is known about PBS use within specific at-risk populations such as athletes. This study aimed to identify the relationship between alcohol consumption, the use of protective behavioral strategies, and negative consequences among intercollegiate athletes. Results indicated that PBS partially mediated the relationship between alcohol consumption and negative consequences. Implications for intercollegiate athlete intervention and prevention programs are discussed as well as limitations of the study and directions for future research.

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Jamie B. Barker, Marc V. Jones and Iain Greenlees

High levels of self-efficacy have been documented to be associated with optimal levels of sport performance. One technique, which has the potential to foster increased self-efficacy, is hypnosis. Hypnosis is based upon the power of suggestion and, while often shrouded in myth and controversy, has been used in a number of domains including medicine, dentistry, and psychotherapy. In contrast, sport psychology is one domain where the use of hypnosis has yet to be fully explored. The aim of this review is to add to the extant literature and delineate how hypnosis potentially can enhance self-efficacy. By drawing on neodissociation and nonstate theories of hypnosis, a combined theoretical basis is established to explain how hypnosis may be used to influence sport performers’ sources of self-efficacy information. Furthermore, the review examines these theoretical postulations by presenting contemporary research evidence exploring the effects of hypnosis on sport performers’ self-efficacy. The review concludes with future research directions and suggestions for sport psychologists considering the use of hypnosis within their practice.

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Louise Davis and Sophia Jowett

The present preliminary study aimed to develop and examine the psychometric properties of a new sport-specific self-report instrument designed to assess athletes’ and coaches’ attachment styles. The development and initial validation comprised three main phases. In Phase 1, a pool of items was generated based on pre-existing self-report attachment instruments, modified to reflect a coach and an athlete’s style of attachment. In Phase 2, the content validity of the items was assessed by a panel of experts. A final scale was developed and administered to 405 coaches and 298 athletes (N = 703 participants). In Phase 3, confirmatory factor analysis of the obtained data was conducted to determine the final items of the Coach-Athlete Attachment Scale (CAAS). Confirmatory factor analysis revealed acceptable goodness of ft indexes for a 3-first order factor model as well as a 2-first order factor model for both the athlete and the coach data, respectively. A secure attachment style positively predicted relationship satisfaction, while an insecure attachment style was a negative predictor of relationship satisfaction. The CAAS revealed initial psychometric properties of content, factorial, and predictive validity, as well as reliability.

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Brad Donohue, Michelle Pitts, Yulia Gavrilova, Ashley Ayarza and Kristina I. Cintron

Substance abuse in athletes is both prevalent and dangerous, leading to its international recognition as a public health concern. In recent controlled trials, behavioral prevention programs have been shown to reduce alcohol use in collegiate student athletes who are at-risk for alcohol abuse, with outcomes appearing to be enhanced when family members are prescriptively involved. However, no interventions have been found to decrease alcohol or drug use frequency in controlled trials involving athletes who have been diagnosed with substance abuse, and no prescribed clinical interventions for substance abuse have been tailored to accommodate the unique needs of competitive athletes. As an initial step in this development, we review an evidenced-supported behavioral treatment program modified for use with athletes. Optimizing the support of significant others, this innovative treatment approach comprehensively targets multiple areas of mental health while emphasizing cultural enlightenment. Recommendations are offered, including the great need for controlled treatment outcome research specific to substance abuse in athletes.

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Justine J. Reel, Robert A. Bucciere and Sonya SooHoo

Individuals with intellectual disabilities are largely marginalized within society and are understudied as a group (Reel & Bucciere, 2011). Although there have been numerous body image studies with able-bodied athletes, this study represents the first attempt to explore body image of male and female Special Olympics athletes. Athletes (N = 103) were 18–61 years of age (M = 33.34; SD = 11.20) and represented mild to moderate severity for diagnosable intellectual disabilities. Height and weight were measured to determine body mass index (BMI). Body image was verbally assessed via individual interviews using the Figure Ratings Scale and open-ended items. Female athletes had a significantly higher BMI (M = 33.02, SD = 9.28) than male athletes (M = 28.24, SD = 7.38). The BMI means for the female and male athletes met the classifications for obese and overweight, respectively. There was also a negative relationship between body satisfaction and BMI in the overall sample (r = -.46), male athletes only (r = -.51), and female athletes only (r = -.38, indicating that higher BMI was associated with lower body satisfaction. Descriptive statistics revealed that 51% of female athletes and 37% of male athletes desired a thinner physique, whereas 20% of female athletes and 29.6% of male athletes wanted to be larger. There were no significant gender differences in levels of overall body dissatisfaction in this study.

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Tracey J. Devonport, Andrew M. Lane and Kay Biscomb

Coping is highly relevant to performance in any domain where individuals strive to attain personally important goals. Thirty-three female national standard adolescent netball players participated in focus group and one-on-one interviews. Participants reported stressors experienced in not only sport, but also in other areas of life. They also reported coping strategies used and factors that might influence the stressor-coping process. Results identified stressors that derived from attempts to achieve highly important personal goals in different areas of daily life, including academic, sport, and social settings. Usage of future-oriented coping strategies such as planning, prioritizing, time-management, goal setting, and problem solving were associated with successfully managing multiple stressors and a sense of well-being. The present study illustrated the potential contribution of encouraging athletes to use future-oriented coping strategies when seeking the attainment of goals across domains. Future research should look to test the effectiveness of interventions designed to promote usage of future-oriented coping strategies.