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Jeannine Ohlert, Thea Rau, and Marc Allroggen

The experience of sexual violence is known to be associated with a higher risk for depression and reduced long-term well-being, but the association has not been determined in elite athletes. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to further our understanding of the consequences of sexual violence experiences in elite athletes and into the influence of the context of the incidents. In total, 1529 German elite athletes took part in an online survey. Results reveal that athletes who had experienced sexual violence indicated lower well-being and a higher risk for depression. Also, the context of the incidents did influence the sexual violence – well-being/risk for depression relationship. In addition to showing that elite athletes are a very vulnerable group for different forms of interpersonal violence, our results underpin the need for more preventive measures in the area of (elite) sport when it comes to the prevention of interpersonal violence.

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Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, and Marion Sulprizio

This study aims to examine whether the risk for depression differs between using a disease- and a health-oriented instrument in elite youth sport and to uncover relationships of risk with concern to age, sex, type of sport, and level of performance. A sample of 549 eleven- to twenty-one-year-old elite athletes were screened using the German versions of the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) and the WHO Well-Being Index-5 (WHO-5). For external validity, the state of physical well-being and mood state, as well as recovery measures, were assessed. The proportions of athletes at high risk for mental health problems were 11.3% (PHQ-2) and 12.8% (WHO-5) of the participants. Young athletes (<15 years old) and male athletes showed lower risk values compared with older or female athletes. Moreover, PHQ-2 and WHO-5 values correlated with physical well-being and subjective sleep parameters. Both instruments were practical and diagnostically conclusive. Further studies on the validation of the instruments are recommended.

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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.

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Mark Eys, M. Blair Evans, Luc J. Martin, Jeannine Ohlert, Svenja A. Wolf, Michael Van Bussel, and Charlotte Steins

A previous meta-analysis examining the relationship between cohesion and performance (Carron, Colman, Wheeler, & Stevens, 2002) revealed that this relationship was significantly stronger for female teams as compared with male teams. The purpose of the current study was to explore perceptions of the cohesion-performance relationship by coaches who have led teams of both genders. Semistructured interviews were employed with Canadian and German coaches with previous experience leading both male and female sport teams. The information obtained through the interviews yielded a number of categories pertaining to potential similarities and differences within female and male sport teams including: (a) the nature of cohesion (e.g., direction of the cohesion-performance relationship), (b) antecedents of cohesion (e.g., approaches to conflict), and (c) the management of cohesion (e.g., developing social cohesion). Overall, the results offer testable propositions regarding gender differences and group involvement in a sport context as well as informing best practices such that teams can attain optimal performance.