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Lived Experiences of an Elite Performance Management Team Through Injury Rehabilitation: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Courtney W. Hess and Barbara B. Meyer

Objectives: Injury is a common and challenging experience for many athletes, and return-to-sport outcomes have been persistently poor despite advancements in research and practice. To ameliorate this challenge and to bridge a gap that exists in the sport injury literature between theoretical conceptualization and intervention design, research is needed to explore team-based approaches to professional practice. The current study aimed to begin this work through exploration of a single performance management team (PMT) through 2 injury and rehabilitation cases leading into and across the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Design: Qualitative, interpretative phenomenological analysis. Method: Interviews were conducted with the 5 members of the PMT (coach, physiotherapist, sport psychology consultant, case manager, and athlete) involved in both injury cases. Lower-order and higher order themes were identified and interpreted through the extent literature. Results: Results indicate that 3 higher order themes interacted to impact the lived experiences of the PMT members across the 2 injury cases. Participants described the sociocultural context that surrounded the team, the individual struggles they faced, and the functioning of the team as the primary contributors to their lived experiences as well as observed rehabilitation outcomes. Conclusions: Findings of this study mirror previous research in team science within the general health care domain, and prompt ongoing exploration of how to improve the experiences for PMT members as well as rehabilitation and return-to-sport outcomes for athletes.

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A Novel Exploration of Occupational Recovery in Certified Mental Performance Consultants

Anthony Magdaleno and Barbara B. Meyer

Researchers have provided evidence that workplace demands impair professionals’ health and performance, while occupational recovery facilitates them. Sport psychology professionals experience workplace demands (e.g., organizational stressors) and must manage their health and performance to consistently deliver competent, ethical, and effective services. Therefore, the purpose of this novel study was to explore the prevalence of, and relationship between, perceived stress and psychological aspects of occupational recovery (i.e., recovery experiences, off-job activities) in certified mental performance consultants (CMPCs). A sample of 140 CMPCs completed measures of perceived stress and psychological aspects of occupational recovery. Results indicated that psychological aspects of occupational recovery significantly predicted perceived stress. Practical implications to reduce CMPCs’ perceived stress include the promotion of occupational recovery through prioritization of activities positively related to recovery experiences.

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Identifying Predictors of Burnout and Health of Certified Mental Performance Consultants

Anthony Magdaleno and Barbara B. Meyer

Researchers have established factors that impair (e.g., stress) or facilitate (e.g., occupational recovery) health among professionals operating in sport and performance (e.g., coaches). However, there is a paucity of research examining factors that impair or facilitate the health of sport psychology professionals. Given that sport psychology professionals have an obligation to manage their health to maintain effective service provision, research is needed to fill this gap. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of burnout and health among certified mental performance consultants. Participants completed measures of perceived stress, burnout, occupational recovery, and health-related quality of life. Regression results, including a moderator analysis, indicated that perceived stress and occupational recovery predicted burnout, while occupational recovery moderated the relationship between perceived stress and burnout. Perceived stress and burnout further predicted health-related quality of life. Recommendations include certified mental performance consultants spending nonwork time in low-effort and/or physical activities, as well as exerting autonomy over nonwork time.

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A Review of the Sport-Injury and -Rehabilitation Literature: From Abstraction to Application

Courtney W. Hess, Stacy L. Gnacinski, and Barbara B. Meyer

Despite advancements in sport-injury rehabilitation theory and intervention design, return-to-play outcomes remain suboptimal. To explore the current knowledge base in sport-injury rehabilitation, the authors use an existing framework to review and outline gaps in the sport-injury evidence base. Through the lens of this framework they highlight the dearth of literature exploring how professionals approach rehabilitation, which may be one of several factors contributing to persistently poor rehabilitation outcomes. To begin addressing the identified gap in practice, the authors hypothetically apply 3 established team-based approaches from other rehabilitation domains to a single sport-injury case study to provide concrete examples of how team-based practice approaches can be effectively used in the sport domain. Professional-practice implications are discussed alongside areas for future research.

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Psychological Skills Training in NCAA Division I Athletics: Are Athletes Ready for Change?

William V. Massey, Stacy L. Gnacinski, and Barbara B. Meyer

Research has demonstrated the efficacy of psychological skills training (PST), yet many athletes do not appear ready to do whatever it takes to improve the mental aspects of performance. Although the transtheoretical model of behavior change (TTM), generally, and readiness to change, specifically, have received considerable attention in a range of allied health fields, few studies have been conducted to examine this construct in applied sport psychology. The purpose of the current study was to examine National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletes’ readiness for PST as it relates to their stage of change, decisional balance, self-efficacy, and use of processes of change. The data trends observed in the current study were consistent with the theoretical underpinnings of the TTM as well as previous research on NCAA Division I athletes. The results of the current study highlight the need to consider readiness to change when designing and implementing PST interventions.

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Self-Reported Depression in Collegiate Athletes: The Effect of Privacy on Symptom Disclosure

Chloe M. Ouellet-Pizer, Sebastian Harenberg, Justine Vosloo, and Barbara B. Meyer

Prevalence studies on depressive symptoms in collegiate athletes have yielded varied estimations, which may be due, in part, to survey administration privacy. However, the influence of survey administration privacy (i.e., anonymous and confidential) on depressive symptom disclosure remains unknown in sport. The purposes of the current study, therefore, were twofold: (a) compare depressive symptoms reported under high- and low-privacy conditions and (b) examine factors associated with underreporting (i.e., social desirability). College athletes (N = 123) were randomly assigned to high- and low-privacy conditions. Results indicated no significant difference, F(1, 120) = 0.59, p = .446, between the prevalence of depressive symptoms reported across conditions when controlling for sex, and no significant correlation between depressive symptoms and social desirability (r = −.01, p = .886). Taken together, results indicated that survey administration privacy did not impact depressive symptom disclosure in the current sample.

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Examining Stage of Change Differences in NCAA Student-Athletes’ Readiness for Psychological Skills Training

Stacy L. Gnacinski, William V. Massey, Courtney W. Hess, Mellanie M. Nai, Monna Arvinen-Barrow, and Barbara B. Meyer

To enhance the specificity of psychological skills training (PST) interventions, the purpose of the current study was to examine stage of change and gender differences in the combination of transtheoretical model (TTM) constructs (i.e., decisional balance pros and cons, self-efficacy, cognitive and behavioral processes of change) among collegiate student-athletes. Participants (N = 602) completed all TTM measures, and a factorial multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to examine the effects of stage of change and gender on the combination of TTM constructs. No significant interaction effect was identified, yet significant main effects of stage of change and gender were identified. Post hoc tests revealed unique linear combinations of decisional balance, self-efficacy, and processes of change for each stage of change contrast. Taken together, study findings may be used to enhance the specificity of behavior change interventions when delivering PST programs to both male and female collegiate student-athletes.