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J.D. DeFreese and Alan L. Smith

Person-centered investigations of athlete burnout have utility to unearth novel information about this developmental experience within the social environment of competitive sport. Guided by extant theory, conceptually proposed developmental patterns of athlete burnout were examined across a season as expressed in profiles of emotional and physical exhaustion, reduced accomplishment, and sport devaluation perceptions. Athlete social perceptions were also explored as predictors of profile membership. Collegiate athletes (N = 129) completed established assessments of study variables at four in-season time points. Latent profile analysis revealed profiles characterized by athletes experiencing the three burnout dimensions similarly at any given time point, with the notable exception of exhaustion being more frequently experienced in some profiles. Social support perceptions predicted profile membership with moderate success. Trends in profile stability provide some support for consideration of exhaustion-driven burnout experiences. Results shed light on the theoretical pathways of burnout development and inform continued longitudinal burnout research efforts.

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Christine E. Pacewicz and Alan L. Smith

Interpersonal exchanges may contribute to athletes’ motivational and well-being experiences through their contribution to athletes’ feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is understudied in sport, yet it is potentially salient in connecting social relationships with motivational processes and well-being of athletes. The purpose of the current research was to examine (a) the association of aspects of teammate relationships with athletes’ perceptions of burnout and engagement and (b) whether loneliness explained these associations. Adolescent athletes (N = 279) completed established measures of teammate relationships, loneliness, burnout, and engagement. The mediational model was invariant between boys and girls. Loneliness mediated the relationship of social support (β = −0.14, 0.10), corumination (β = 0.09, −0.06), and appraisal of peer rejection (β = 0.11, −0.08) with burnout and engagement, respectively. Continued examination of athletes’ loneliness will extend understanding of athletes’ motivational and well-being experiences and inform the promotion of adaptive sport experiences.

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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.

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Daniel J. Madigan, Henrik Gustafsson, Andrew P. Hill, Kathleen T. Mellano, Christine E. Pacewicz, Thomas D. Raedeke, and Alan L. Smith

The present editorial provides a series of perspectives on the future of burnout in sport. Specifically, for the first time, seven burnout researchers have offered their opinions and suggestions for how, as a field, we can progress our understanding of this important topic. A broad range of ideas are discussed, including the relevance of the social context, the value of theory and collaboration, and the use of public health frameworks in future work. It is hoped that these perspectives will help stimulate debate, reinforce and renew priorities, and guide research in this area over the coming years.