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Examining Perceptions of Teammates’ Burnout and Training Hours in Athlete Burnout

Ralph Appleby, Paul Davis, Louise Davis, and Henrik Gustafsson

Perceptions of teammates and training load have been shown to influence athletes’ physical and psychological health; however, limited research has investigated these factors in relation to burnout. Athletes (N = 140) from a variety of competitive team sports, ranging in level from regional to professional, completed questionnaires measuring individual burnout, perceptions of teammates’ burnout, and training hours per week on two occasions separated by three months. After controlling for burnout at time one, training hours were associated with athletes’ burnout and perceptions of teammates’ burnout at time two. Multilevel modeling indicated actual team burnout (i.e., the average burnout score of the individual athletes in a team) and perceived team burnout were associated with individual’s own burnout. The findings highlight that burnout is dynamic and relates to physiological stressors associated with training and psychological perceptions of teammates’ burnout. Future research directions exploring potential social influences on athlete burnout are presented.

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Flotation REST as a Stress Reduction Method: The Effects on Anxiety, Muscle Tension, and Performance

Marcus Börjesson, Carolina Lundqvist, Henrik Gustafsson, and Paul Davis

The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of flotation REST upon skilled and less skilled golfers’ anxiety in terms of physiological indicators of stress, self-rated anxiety scores, muscle tension, and the effect on golf putting. Prior to performing the putting task participants underwent a treatment of flotation REST or a period of resting in an armchair. Participants completed both treatments in a randomized order with a two-week interval. The results showed that both flotation REST and the armchair treatment reduced systolic blood pressure and heart rate, with no differences between treatments or athlete skill levels. No significant differences between treatments were revealed regarding self-ratings, level of muscle tension or putting precision. The results indicate that flotation REST may be useful for reducing negative symptoms related to stress and anxiety in general; however, no support for direct positive effects on golf performance were found.

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Workaholism, Home–Work/Work–Home Interference, and Exhaustion Among Sports Coaches

Erik Lundkvist, Henrik Gustafsson, Paul Davis, and Peter Hassmén

The aims of this study were to (a) examine the associations between workaholism and work-related exhaustion and (b) examine associations between work–home/ home–work interference and work-related exhaustion in 261 Swedish coaches. Quantile regression showed that workaholism is only associated with exhaustion for coaches who score high on exhaustion, that negative work–home interference has a stronger association with exhaustion than negative home–work interference, and that the coaches on a mean level scored low on all measured constructs. In addition, coaches in the higher percentiles have a higher risk for burnout. Our results highlight the importance of studying coach exhaustion with respect to aspects that extend beyond the sports life.

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An Introduction to the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology Special Issue on Burnout in Sport and Performance

J.D. DeFreese, Daniel J. Madigan, and Henrik Gustafsson

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Eras of Burnout Research: What Does the Past Tell Us About the Future of Burnout in Sport?

J.D. DeFreese, Daniel J. Madigan, and Henrik Gustafsson

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Mindfulness and Its Relationship With Perceived Stress, Affect, and Burnout in Elite Junior Athletes

Henrik Gustafsson, Therése Skoog, Paul Davis, Göran Kenttä, and Peter Haberl

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and burnout and whether this relationship is mediated by perceived stress, negative affect, and positive affect in elite junior athletes. Participants were 233 (123 males and 107 females) adolescent athletes, ranging in age from 15–19 years (M = 17.50; SD = 1.08). Bivariate correlations revealed that mindfulness had a significant negative relationship with both perceived stress and burnout. To investigate mediation, we employed nonparametric bootstrapping analyses. These analyses indicated that positive affect fully mediated links between mindfulness and sport devaluation. Further, positive affect and negative affect partially mediated the relationships between mindfulness and physical/emotional exhaustion, as well as between mindfulness and reduced sense of accomplishment. The results point toward mindfulness being negatively related to burnout in athletes and highlight the role of positive affect. Future research should investigate the longitudinal effect of dispositional mindfulness on stress and burnout.

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The Prevalence of Emotional Exhaustion in Professional and Semiprofessional Coaches

Erik Lundkvist, Henrik Gustafsson, Daniel Madigan, Sören Hjälm, and Anton Kalén

The present study examined levels of emotional exhaustion, a key symptom of burnout, in Swedish professional and semiprofessional sport coaches in comparison to the normative values specified in the Maslach Burnout Inventory manual, and to the clinical cutoffs developed by Kleijweg, Verbraak, and Van Dijk. The sample contained 318 Swedish coaches (M age = 42.7 years, 12% female) working at least 50% full time away from both team (60%) and individual (40%) sports. Our study shows that, in general, coaches in this sample experience lower average levels of exhaustion than normative samples both regarding the Maslach Burnout Inventory and clinical cutoffs. Two groups of coaches did, however, stand out. Coaches living in single households as well as coaches working part time had higher risk of severe levels of emotional exhaustion. These results place coach exhaustion levels in relation to other occupations and highlight that in this sample, the coaching profession does not stand out as more emotionally exhausting than other occupations.

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Perspectives on the Future of Burnout in Sport

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.