Bayesian statistics is on the rise in mainstream psychology, but applications in sport and exercise psychology research are scarce. In this article, the foundations of Bayesian analysis are introduced, and we will illustrate how to apply Bayesian structural equation modeling in a sport and exercise psychology setting. More specifically, we contrasted a confirmatory factor analysis on the Sport Motivation Scale II estimated with the most commonly used estimator, maximum likelihood, and a Bayesian approach with weakly informative priors for cross-loadings and correlated residuals. The results indicated that the model with Bayesian estimation and weakly informative priors provided a good fit to the data, whereas the model estimated with a maximum likelihood estimator did not produce a well-fitting model. The reasons for this discrepancy between maximum likelihood and Bayesian estimation are discussed as well as potential advantages and caveats with the Bayesian approach.
Bayesian Structural Equation Modeling in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Andreas Stenling, Andreas Ivarsson, Urban Johnson, and Magnus Lindwall
“Be Mindful Even Though It Hurts”: A Single-Case Study Testing the Effects of a Mindfulness- and Acceptance-Based Intervention on Injured Athletes’ Mental Health
Karin Moesch, Andreas Ivarsson, and Urban Johnson
Injury is a serious setback for athletes and might jeopardize mental health. The aim of this study is to investigate if a mindfulness- and acceptance-based intervention can improve mindfulness (nonreactivity and acting with awareness), acceptance, and well-being, and decrease the level of symptoms of anxiety and depression. A single-case design with multiple, staggered, and nonconcurrent baselines was used. Six seriously injured athletes took part in an 8-week intervention and repeatedly completed questionnaires on all variables for the duration of the study. The results showed that, on average, there were significant clinical changes between phases in nonreactivity, well-being, and acceptance. No effect was seen in the two remaining scales. On an individual level, two participants showed effects in all scales, two participants in some of the scales, and two participants in the scale nonreactivity. Results are discussed in light of existing research, and implications for practitioners’ clinical methods are presented.
Psychological Predictors of Injury Occurrence: A Prospective Investigation of Professional Swedish Soccer Players
Andreas Ivarsson, Urban Johnson, and Leslie Podlog
Athletes participating in sport are exposed to a high injury risk. Previous research has found a great number of risk factors (both physiological and psychological) that could increase injury risk.1 One limitation in previous studies is that few have considered the complex interaction between psychological factors in their research design.
To study whether personality, stress, and coping predicted injury occurrence in an elite soccer population based on a hypothesized model.
56 (n = 38 male, n = 18 female) Swedish Premiere League soccer players were selected based on convenience sampling.
Participants completed 4 questionnaires including the Swedish Universities Scales of Personality,2 Life Events Survey for Collegiate Athletes,3 and Brief COPE4 during the initial questionnaire administration. Subsequent to the first meeting, participants also completed the Hassle and Uplift Scale5 once per wk for a 13-wk period throughout the competitive season.
Main Outcome Measures:
A path analysis was conducted examining the influence of personality traits (ie, trait anxiety), state-level stressors (ie, negative-life-event stress and daily hassles), and coping on injury frequency.
Results of the path analysis indicated that trait anxiety, negative-life-event stress, and daily hassle were significant predictors of injury among professional soccer players, accounting for 24% of the variance.
The findings highlight the need for athletes, coaches, and medical practitioners to attempt to reduce state-level stressors, especially daily hassles, in minimizing injury risk. Educating and training athletes and coaches in proactive stress-management techniques appears warranted.
Things We Still Haven’t Learned (So Far)
Andreas Ivarsson, Mark B. Andersen, Andreas Stenling, Urban Johnson, and Magnus Lindwall
Null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) is like an immortal horse that some researchers have been trying to beat to death for over 50 years but without any success. In this article we discuss the flaws in NHST, the historical background in relation to both Fisher’s and Neyman and Pearson’s statistical ideas, the common misunderstandings of what p < 05 actually means, and the 2010 APA publication manual’s clear, but most often ignored, instructions to report effect sizes and to interpret what they all mean in the real world. In addition, we discuss how Bayesian statistics can be used to overcome some of the problems with NHST. We then analyze quantitative articles published over the past three years (2012–2014) in two top-rated sport and exercise psychology journals to determine whether we have learned what we should have learned decades ago about our use and meaningful interpretations of statistics.
Gambling Behaviors Among Danish and Swedish Elite Football Players
Stine Nylandsted Jensen, Andreas Ivarsson, Johan Fallby, and Anne-Marie Elbe
This study investigated gambling among Danish and Swedish male elite football players. A cross-sectional design was used to survey 323 players (Mage = 22.08, SD = 5.15). The survey included a screening tool for gambling, as well as measures for depression and sport anxiety. The overall rate of players identified as at-risk gamblers was 16.1%. Linear regression analyses revealed that depression and sport anxiety significantly predicted gambling behaviors, and explained 2% and 6% of variance, respectively. The age of the players and the age at which they specialize did not moderate these relationships. Further research on gambling in football and its relation to mental disorders is needed.
Career Assistance to a Team in Crisis-Transition: An Intervention Case Study in Swedish Elite Handball
Johan Ekengren, Natalia Stambulova, Urban Johnson, Andreas Ivarsson, and Robert J. Schinke
In this paper, the authors share how a career assistance program was developed, implemented, and evaluated with a Swedish elite handball team. Within this case study, the initial version of the career assistance program’s content was created based on the career-long psychological support services in a Swedish handball framework and the first author’s applied experiences. During implementation, the head coach was terminated unexpectedly, and the team appeared in a crisis. This transitional situation led to modification of the career assistance program to help the players cope with changes. Eighteen players took part in eight workshops dealing with various aspects of their sport and nonsport life (e.g., performance, training, lifestyle, recovery, and future planning) with crisis-related issues (e.g., coping with uncertainty) incorporated. Mixed-methods evaluation revealed the players’ perceived increase in personal resources (awareness and skills) and decrease in stress and fatigue. Reflections on working in applied sport psychology from a holistic perspective in a dynamic real-life setting are provided.
Youth Sport Coaches’ Well-Being Across the Season: The Psychological Costs and Benefits of Giving Empowering and Disempowering Sports Coaching to Athletes
Bård Erlend Solstad, Andreas Ivarsson, Ellen Merethe Haug, and Yngvar Ommundsen
The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between giving empowering and disempowering sports coaching to young athletes and coaches’ well-being across the season. The sample comprised 169 Norwegian youth football (i.e., European soccer) coaches with a mean age of 41.99 (SD = 6.32). Moreover, we were interested in examining heterogeneous groups of coaches showing variability in their self-reporting of empowering and disempowering behaviors towards their athletes. Thus, a person-centered approach was used. The latent profile analysis revealed three distinct profiles and the association between these profiles and coaches’ well-being was in line with the outlined hypotheses. Specifically, coaches who gave higher levels of empowering and lower levels of disempowering sports coaching to their athletes at the beginning of the season also reported higher levels of well-being at the end of the season. The results indicate that there exists an intrinsic value as to why coaches should give empowering sports coaching, as opposed to disempowering sports coaching, to their athletes; namely, these actions may be advantageous in terms of improving their own well-being. In practical terms, future coach education may take advantage of these findings by providing coaches another reason for coaching in an empowering manner.
The Temporal Relations of Adolescents’ Basic Need Satisfaction in Physical Education and Global Self-Worth
Irina Burchard Erdvik, Tommy Haugen, Andreas Ivarsson, and Reidar Säfvenbom
This study investigated the temporal relations of adolescents’ basic need satisfaction in physical education (PE) and global self-worth in a sample of 3,398 lower and upper secondary school students (49% boys, 51% girls, average age T1 = 15.00, SD = 1.79). Four models and competing hypotheses were tested, and the model with bidirectional paths specified showed the best fit to the data. The bidirectional effect estimates suggest not only that basic need satisfaction in PE predicts global self-worth development but also that adolescents’ perceptions of global self-worth predict the degree to which they experience basic need satisfaction in PE. Findings could suggest that students with low global self-worth are less sensitive to basic need support in PE. These students may need personally tailored need-supportive initiatives in order to develop basic need satisfaction in PE and, thus, global self-worth through PE.
The Temporal Ordering of Motivation and Self-Control: A Cross-Lagged Effects Model
Gro Jordalen, Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Andreas Ivarsson
Mechanisms leading to cognitive energy depletion in performance settings such as high-level sports highlight likely associations between individuals’ self-control capacity and their motivation. Investigating the temporal ordering of these concepts combining self-determination theory and psychosocial self-control theories, the authors hypothesized that athletes’ self-control capacity would be more influenced by their motivation than vice versa and that autonomous and controlled types of motivation would predict self-control capacity positively and negatively, respectively. High-level winter-sport athletes from Norwegian elite sport colleges (N = 321; 16–20 years) consented to participate. Using Bayesian structural equation modeling and 3-wave analyses, findings revealed credible self-control → motivation → self-control cross-lagged effects. Athletes’ trait self-control especially initiated the temporal ordering of the least controlled types of motivation (i.e., intrinsic, integrated, and amotivation). Findings indicate that practicing self-control competencies and promoting athletes’ autonomous types of motivation are important components in the development toward the elite level. These components will help athletes maintain their persistent goal striving by increasing the value and inherent satisfaction of the development process, avoiding the debilitating effects of self-control depletion and exhaustion.
Response-Order Effects in Survey Methods: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Study in the Context of Sport Injury Prevention
Derwin K.C. Chan, Andreas Ivarsson, Andreas Stenling, Sophie X. Yang, Nikos L.D. Chatzisarantis, and Martin S. Hagger
Consistency tendency is characterized by the propensity for participants responding to subsequent items in a survey consistent with their responses to previous items. This method effect might contaminate the results of sport psychology surveys using cross-sectional design. We present a randomized controlled crossover study examining the effect of consistency tendency on the motivational pathway (i.e., autonomy support → autonomous motivation → intention) of self-determination theory in the context of sport injury prevention. Athletes from Sweden (N = 341) responded to the survey printed in either low interitem distance (IID; consistency tendency likely) or high IID (consistency tendency suppressed) on two separate occasions, with a one-week interim period. Participants were randomly allocated into two groups, and they received the survey of different IID at each occasion. Bayesian structural equation modeling showed that low IID condition had stronger parameter estimates than high IID condition, but the differences were not statistically significant.