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Developmental Differences in Burnout Among High School Athletes in the United States: A Gendered Perspective

Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Bailey Sommerfeld, and Tao Zhang

Building on recent research examining athlete burnout trajectories, this study implemented the developmental model of sport participation to compare emotional and physical exhaustion, reduced sense of accomplishment, and sport devaluation between age groups (specializing [aged 13–15 years] vs. investment [aged 16–18 years]) and gender (boys vs. girls) among U.S. high school athletes. Participants were 367 high school athletes (M = 15.53; 212 males; 186 specializing) across various individual and team sports who completed a survey assessing their demographic information, sport backgrounds, and burnout perceptions. A 2 × 2 multivariate analysis of covariance, controlling for training hours, showed greater emotional and physical exhaustion and sport devaluation in the investment than the specializing group, but no developmental differences in reduced sense of accomplishment. Contrary to our hypothesis, no gender or interaction effects were found. Findings inform interventions and future research that address the role of developmental stages and gender in athlete burnout.

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Still an “Old Boys’ Club”? Certified Mental Performance Consultants’ Gender-Typed Sport Specialization and Employment Setting

Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Ellea Bachmeier, and Taylor Mair

Qualitative research has demonstrated the prevalence of gender inequity and sexism in sport-related careers, including those in sport psychology. To provide quantitative evidence, we examined the role of gender in Certified Mental Performance Consultants’ (CMPC) specialization and employment by extracting and coding the data (N = 576) from the CMPC Directory. Independent samples t tests showed that male CMPCs specialized in more masculine sports, less feminine sports, and a similar number of gender-neutral sports compared with female CMPCs. Chi-square tests of independence revealed a larger proportion of male than female CMPCs working in professional sport. No significant differences were found in other employment settings (college sport, military, and private practice), age-group specialization, and mental health licensure. These findings, which should be interpreted with caution before further investigation, suggest a need for collaboration between sport psychology professionals and sport organizations that might help mitigate internal and external barriers to gender equity.

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The Relationship of Resilience, Self-Compassion, and Social Support to Psychological Distress in Women Collegiate Athletes During COVID-19

Matthew Mikesell, Trent A. Petrie, Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, and E. Whitney G. Moore

Given how COVID-19 had caused significant increases in collegiate athletes’ psychological distress, we examined the extent to which such distress may have been ameliorated by the athletes’ psychosocial resources (e.g., resilience). We used structural equation modeling to examine the direct and indirect relationships of resilience, self-compassion, and social support to women collegiate athletes’ (N = 3,924; 81.2% White) psychological distress; athletes completed measures of these constructs from mid-April to mid-May 2020. Analyses revealed significant direct effects: More supported (β = −0.12 to −0.19), self-compassionate (β = −0.48 to −0.53), and resilient (β = −0.21 to −0.35) athletes experienced less psychological distress (R 2 = .61–.65). Further, self-compassion and social support were related indirectly (and inversely) to psychological distress through higher levels of resilience. These psychosocial resources appear to have played a positive role in how athletes coped with the pandemic, being associated with less psychological distress. These findings have application beyond the pandemic, providing direction for how sport psychology professionals may assist athletes in maintaining their well-being.