Sport specialization has been linked to multiple negative health related outcomes including increased injury risk and sport attrition, yet a gap remains in our understanding of potential psychological outcomes of early specialization (≤ age 12). The current study evaluated the associations between retrospective athlete reports of sport specialization and both retroactive and current psychological health outcomes. Early specializers reported significantly higher levels of multiple maladaptive psychological outcomes (e.g., global athlete burnout, emotional and physical exhaustion, sport devaluation, amotivation). Overall, findings suggest that specialization environment factors, in addition to the age of specialization, are potentially critical factors in determining health and well-being outcomes. Findings support prominent position statements suggesting early specialization may be associated with increased health risks. Study findings may also inform the development of guidelines and recommendations to aid parents, coaches, and athletes in positively impacting athlete psychosocial outcomes.
Shelby Waldron, J.D. DeFreese, Brian Pietrosimone, Johna Register-Mihalik and Nikki Barczak
Diane M. Wiese-Bjornstal, Kristin N. Wood, Andrew C. White, Amanda J. Wambach and Victor J. Rubio
The purpose of this study was to explore religiosity/spirituality (R/S) in coping with sport injuries, based on predictions of the integrated model of psychological response to the sport injury and rehabilitation process. A concurrent mixed methods design framed an online survey incorporating quantitative measures of R/S identification and commitment, health locus of control for sport injury, and ways of coping with sport injury, as well as qualitative open-ended questions about mechanisms through which R/S affected and was affected by coping with sport injuries. Participants included 49 physically active adults who experienced sport injuries, with 37 identifying as R/S. Quantitative findings among R/S participants showed religious commitment was a predictor of God health locus of control and positive religious coping. Quantitative results relative to differences between R/S and no-R/S participants showed that those self-identified as R/S relied on a God health locus of control and utilized active coping more so than did those self-identified as no-R/S, whereas no-R/S participants relied more than did R/S participants on an internal health locus of control. Thematic analyses exploring qualitative data revealed three main themes characterizing mechanisms through which R/S affected and was affected by coping with sport injuries: positive, negative, and no R/S coping strategies and effects. Findings support the predictions of the integrated model of psychological response to the sport injury and rehabilitation process and provide evidence-bases for clinical and counseling interventions that reflect cultural competence in accommodating patient or client R/S during recovery from sport injury.
Shelby J. Martin and Timothy Anderson
Despite elevated risk of eating pathology (EP) among athletes, utilization of EP-treatment among athletes is low. Factors that may inhibit EP-help-seeking among athletes include perceived social stigma, self-stigma, and perfectionism. Heightened stigma associated with EP and sport climates may be exacerbated by negative perfectionism characteristic of athletes and decrease intentions to seek help for EP. We tested the following moderated-mediation model among a sample of collegiate athletes (N = 201) via online questionnaires: EP indirectly relates to EP help-seeking intentions through perceived and self-stigma and these relations are conditional on negative perfectionism. EP help-seeking intentions were negatively associated with EP severity, stigma, and negative perfectionism. EP was related to eating-specific help-seeking intentions through perceived social stigma, influencing self-stigma, but this was not moderated by negative perfectionism. Targeting mental-health treatment stigma among athletes may reduce risk of untreated EP among collegiate athletes.
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.
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.
Jennifer A. Hogg, Randy J. Schmitz and Sandra J. Shultz
Clinical femoral anteversion (Craig test) and hip range of motion (ROM) have been associated with valgus collapse, but their clinical usefulness in predicting biomechanics is unknown. Our purpose was to determine the individual and combined predictive power of femoral anteversion and passive hip ROM on 3-dimensional valgus collapse (hip internal rotation and adduction, knee rotation, and abduction) during a single-leg forward landing in females. Femoral anteversion and passive hip ROM were measured on 20 females (24.9 [4.1] y, 168.7 [8.0] cm, 63.8 [11.6] kg). Three-dimensional kinematics and kinetics were collected over 5 trials of the task. Each variable was averaged across trials. Backward, stepwise regressions determined the extent to which our independent variables were associated with valgus collapse. The combination of greater hip internal and external rotation ROM (partial r = .52 and .56) predicted greater peak knee internal rotation moment (R 2 = .38, P = .02). Less hip internal rotation ROM (partial r = −.44) predicted greater peak knee abduction moments (R 2 = .20, P = .05). Greater total hip ROM (internal and external rotation ROM) was not consistently associated with combined motions of valgus collapse but was indicative of isolated knee moments. Passive hip ROM is more associated with knee moments than is femoral anteversion as measured with Craig test.
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.
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.
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.
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.