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  • Psychology and Behavior in Sport/Exercise x
  • Athletic Training, Therapy, and Rehabilitation x
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Emily Kroshus, Sara P.D. Chrisman, Jeffrey J. Milroy and Christine M. Baugh

Purpose: Assess whether athletes with a prior concussion diagnosis are more likely to continue play with a possible concussion. Additionally, explore whether reasons for concussion under-reporting are different among athletes with a prior concussion when compared to other athletes. Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 328 collegiate athletes. Results: Athletes with a prior concussion diagnosis had significantly greater relative risk of continuing play while symptomatic of a possible concussion during their most recent season compared to athletes without prior concussion diagnosis. Significant differences exist in the reasons that athletes provided for not reporting by history of concussion. Conclusions: Findings suggest that learning may have occurred as a result of the prior diagnosis; however, this learning did not appear to result in safer reporting behavior. Additional research is necessary to clarify why athletes who have been previously diagnosed with a concussion are more likely to continue playing while experiencing concussion symptoms.

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Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Stinne Soendergaard and Yanyun Yang

This manuscript seeks to offer insight about how coaches can better address drinking among collegiate student-athletes. Using a mixed-methods design, 519 NCAA coaches reported their attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking, and responded to open-ended questions about their perceived role, strategies, and challenges to addressing problems in this population. Three dimensions of coaches’ attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking emerged that were consistent regardless of the players’ or coach’s gender or division: Concerned Communication, Conditional Leniency, and Enforcement. Effective strategies identified by coaches included enforcement of policy, education about consequences of drinking, establishment of quality coach-athlete relationships, and management of athletes’ schedules. Coaches indicated the need to play a role in managing, educating, influencing, and supporting the student-athletes to prevent alcohol misuse. Coaches reported challenges regarding the culture of drinking on college campuses, individual differences (e.g., age) among student-athletes, acceptance and enforcement of the alcohol policy, lack of awareness about student-athletes’ activities, and identification of alcohol misuse.

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Anne Holding, Jo-Annie Fortin, Joëlle Carpentier, Nora Hope and Richard Koestner

Retirement from competitive sports significantly influences former athletes’ well-being. We propose that disengaging from the former athletic career is a crucial factor in retired athletes’ adaptation. Using the theoretical framework of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) we propose that sport motivation at the career peak and motivation for retirement are important determinants of athletes’ disengagement progress from a terminated athletic career. We also seek to examine how motivation for retirement and disengagement progress predict retired athletes’ well-being. Using a mixed-retrospective/prospective longitudinal design we followed 158 government-supported elite athletes who had recently retired from an athletic career. In two online surveys administered 1.5 years apart, retired athletes reported on motivation, disengagement, and well-being. Results suggested that SDT motivation factors are important predictors for elite athletes career disengagement and well-being in retirement. The clinical implications of these findings for athletic career transition and support programs are discussed.

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Steven Love, Lee Kannis-Dymand and Geoff P. Lovell

This study investigated triathletes’ metacognitions and mindfulness traits (N = 232) measured prior to competition, and flow (N = 63), post competition. The primary aim was to investigate whether metacognitions (measured by the Metacognitions Questionnaire) would associate with mindfulness facets (measured by the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire – Short Form), and metacognitions would also predict flow scores (measured by the Short Flow State Scale), over and above mindfulness facets. Regression analyses showed that metacognitions individually predicted mindfulness facets. A hierarchical regression showed that positive beliefs about worry negatively predicted flow, while a lack of cognitive confidence, beliefs about the need for thought control and acting with awareness positively predicted flow. These findings indicate that a) metacognitive beliefs are influential to cognitive predispositions, b) typically dysfunctional metacognitions may play a different role in competitive environments, and c) metacognitions may play a more important role in the occurrence of flow, than mindfulness.

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Carol R. Glass, Claire A. Spears, Rokas Perskaudas and Keith A. Kaufman

College is a stressful time for many students, including student-athletes, who may benefit from mindfulness interventions focusing on present-moment awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance. Mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) has shown promise in previous open trials for promoting both athlete well-being and psychological factors related to sport performance, and this first randomized controlled trial of MSPE was conducted with mixed-sport groups of 52 NCAA Division III student-athletes. Each of the six sessions included educational, discussion-based, experiential, and home practice components, with meditation exercises progressing from sedentary mindfulness to mindfulness in motion. Whereas wait-list controls showed significant increases in depressive symptoms, those who received MSPE evidenced non-significant reductions in depressive symptoms over the course of treatment. Furthermore, once controls had also received MSPE, treatment completers (the 41% who attended at least five of six MSPE sessions) demonstrated significant increases in flow, trait mindfulness, satisfaction with life, and self-rated sport performance, along with reductions in worry, with medium to large effect sizes. There were no significant changes for treatment completers from post-treatment to 6-month follow-up, suggesting that improvements were maintained over time.

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Alessandro Quartiroli, Edward F. Etzel, Sharon M. Knight and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Experienced and senior sport psychology practitioners achieved longevity in effective professional practice by embracing sustainable approaches to their profession, assumed to be influenced by their positive professional quality of life. The aim of this study was to gain insight into how these practitioners defined and attended to their profession-specific quality of life. Utilizing Consensual Qualitative Research method, researchers examined the perceptions and meanings that 20 internationally located practitioners attributed to their Sport Psychology-Professional Quality of Life (SP-PQL). Findings revealed a view of SP-PQL that encompassed five domains: (a) the lived experience of SP-PQL, (b) the nature of the SP profession, (c) SP-PQL as an ongoing journey, (d) deliberate engagement in the SP profession, and (e) the interconnection between the personal and the professional. These practitioners recognized the importance of a positive SP-PQL as a foundation for a positive, effective, and long-lasting career in the field.

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Emily Kroshus, Jessica Wagner, David L. Wyrick and Brian Hainline

This study sought to determine whether completion of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s “Supporting Student-Athlete Mental Wellness” online module for coaches increased mental health literacy, reduced stigma, and increased intentions to: 1) communicate proactively with team members about the importance of mental health care seeking, and 2) respond appropriately to support an athlete believed to be struggling with a mental health issue. College head coaches completed pre-test surveys (n = 969) and immediate post-test surveys (n = 347, completion rate = 36%). Module completion was associated with increased mental health literacy, decreased stigma about help seeking and increased intentions to engage in culture setting communication. These findings suggest that the online module is a good start for coach education about mental health; however, additional modifications may be warranted to the extent coach referral to sports medicine staff or provision of emotional support to student-athletes struggling with mental health concerns are considered desired behaviors.

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Fleur E.C.A. van Rens and Edson Filho

The purpose of this study was to explore the career transition experiences of elite gymnasts who became professional circus artists. Eight (inter)national level gymnasts who worked as circus artists were interviewed. Using a constructionist approach to thematic data analysis, we identified a three-phase career transition process. High levels of psychological resilience characteristics were required in the first, “realizing” phase (i.e., motivation, hard work, social support, and optimism). The second, “adapting” phase involved balancing context-specific demands which included general stress, a loss of competence, social adjustment, taking calculated risks, and physical recovery. The third, “thriving” phase involved experiences of freedom, personal development, and social connectedness. During the career transition, changes from an athletic to circus artist identity were experienced. Practitioners are encouraged to support the psychological resilience and experiences of autonomy among circus artists during their career transitions. This is expected to facilitate circus artists’ wellbeing, safety, and career longevity.

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Leonardo Ruiz, Judy L. Van Raalte, Thaddeus France and Al Petitpas

More than 1,400 Latin American professional baseball players, age 16-21, are employed by 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) academies in the Dominican Republic. The popular press has highlighted scandals related to professional youth baseball player recruitment, selection, and exploitation in the academies, but little attention has been given to the academy experiences of youth baseball players from the perspective of the players themselves. For this research, 11 professional baseball players residing at an MLB Academy in the Dominican Republic participated in semi-structured interviews. Players described their transitions into the baseball academy system, their experiences in the academy, and their perceptions and expectations upon leaving or being released from the academy. Themes that emerged from the data included athletes’ hopes and dreams, stress, faith, and career transitions. Clinical implications of these findings for sport psychology practitioners are discussed.

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Byron L. Zamboanga, Nathan T. Kearns, Janine V. Olthuis, Heidemarie Blumenthal and Renee M. Cloutier

Drinking games (DGs) participation is prevalent among college-attending emerging adults. Research also suggests that student-athletes play DGs more frequently than non student-athletes, but what motivates student-athletes to participate in DGs is not well understood. Using data from a larger longitudinal study with Division III female athletes, we examined the test-retest reliability and minimal detectable change of the revised 7-factor Motives for Playing Drinking Games (MPDG) measure, and explored how its subscales were related to DGs behavior across two annual timepoints (n = 49). Results indicated that the MPDG shows adequate test-retest reliability over a one year period among student-athletes. Controlling for age and general alcohol consumption, conformity motives were positively associated with DG consumption at timepoint 1, whereas the DG motives of enhancement/thrills and boredom were positively related to DG consumption at timepoint 2. Implications for future research directions on motives for playing DGs and DGs behavior among student-athletes are discussed.