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Svenja A. Wolf, Mark A. Eys, Pamela Sadler and Jens Kleinert

Athletes’ precompetitive appraisal is important because it determines emotions, which may impact performance. When part of a team, athletes perform their appraisal within a social context, and in this study we examined whether perceived team cohesion, as a characteristic of this context, related to appraisal. We asked 386 male and female intercollegiate team-sport athletes to respond to measures of cohesion and precompetitive appraisal before an in-season game. For males and females, across all teams, (a) an appraisal of increased competition importance was predicted by perceptions of higher task cohesion (individual level), better previous team performance, and a weaker opponent (team level) and (b) an appraisal of more positive prospects for coping with competitive demands was predicted by higher individual attractions to the group (individual level). Consequently, athletes who perceive their team as more cohesive likely appraise the pending competition as a challenge, which would benefit both emotions and performance.

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Johanna Belz, Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, Thea Rau and Marc Allroggen

Adolescence is a vulnerable period for the development of depression. Research on depression in athletes including adolescent athletes, however, is scarce. The purpose of the present study was to assess the risk for depression depending on the athletes’ age, gender, and performance level. Data were collected from 1,799 German national and state team athletes. The PHQ-2 and the WHO-5 were administered to assess the athletes’ risk for depression and current state of psychological well-being. Overall, 13% of the athletes were screened positive for depression and 10% for impaired well-being. Adolescents, females and athletes of junior national teams showed a higher risk for depression and/or lower well-being than other subgroups. The finding that adolescent athletes are more vulnerable to suffer from depressive symptoms than adult athletes mirrors finding in the general population. Screening tools for depression should be followed up by clinical expert interviews to provide an external criterion for the obtained results.

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Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, Bert Carron, Mark Eys, Deborah Feltz, Chris Harwood, Lother Linz, Roland Seiler and Marion Sulprizio

Working with teams and training groups is a common and major challenge for applied sport psychologists. This document is a position statement on the rationales, methods, and procedures of team-focused approaches in the practice of sport psychology. Furthermore, practice recommendations and research desiderata are discussed. To develop the paper, a consensus conference with nine experts from North America and Europe was held in Spring 2010. First, the paper presents the rationale for team-focused interventions and addresses the concepts of team cohesion, team efficacy, team potency, and a task involving leadership style. Second, the contributions of sport psychologists to enhancing group functioning are discussed, including methods for enhancing interpersonal skills, team climate, and coach athlete relationships. Third, determinants of how sport psychologists decide procedure and build trust in working with teams are articulated. Finally, the consensus group recommends an intensified effort to examine the effects and practice applicability of theory-driven, ecologically valid interventions.