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John Mahoney and Stephanie J. Hanrahan

The purpose of this study was to research the experiences of four injured athletes during their rehabilitation from ACL injuries and to examine the potential usefulness of an adapted ACT intervention in addressing individuals’ adherence to rehabilitation protocols and their general psychological well-being. We investigated the usefulness of a brief, 4-session ACT program adapted for educational purposes and presented data as case studies. The case studies suggested that (a) the injured athletes experienced a multitude of private events immediately following injury, throughout their recovery, and when approaching a full return to sport; (b) the injured athletes typically avoided these private events and engaged in emotion-driven behaviors; (c) an adapted ACT approach for educational purposes could be useful on at least a basic level to help injured athletes accept private events, commit to rehabilitation behaviors, and have some certainty about returning to sport; and (d) more could be done to address the needs of injured athletes beyond the structure of our 4-session educational intervention. We concluded that the ACT-based intervention, to a certain extent, educated injured athletes about how to meet the challenges of their recoveries and how to commit to their rehabilitations, as well as to exhibit behaviors that would potentially permit their successful reentries to sport.

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Paul Kooistra, John S. Mahoney, and Lisha Bridges

This paper examines race equality within the labor market of professional football, specifically addressing the issue of whether NFL team management discriminates against marginal nonwhite players. To examine this, we compared the racial proportions of “protected” players to proportions of players designated as “Plan B” free agents. We considered Plan B players as “marginals” from management’s viewpoint. Our hypothesis that these athletes would be disproportionately white was confirmed. Reasons for the statistically significant differences in the racial proportions are discussed.

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John W. Mahoney, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Nikos Ntoumanis, and Cliff J. Mallet

We argue that basic psychological needs theory (BPNT) offers impetus to the value of mental toughness as a mechanism for optimizing human functioning. We hypothesized that psychological needs satisfaction (thwarting) would be associated with higher (lower) levels of mental toughness, positive affect, and performance and lower (higher) levels of negative affect. We also expected that mental toughness would be associated with higher levels of positive affect and performance and lower levels of negative affect. Further, we predicted that coaching environments would be related to mental toughness indirectly through psychological needs and that psychological needs would indirectly relate with performance and affect through mental toughness. Adolescent cross-country runners (136 male and 85 female, M age = 14.36) completed questionnaires pertaining to BPNT variables, mental toughness, and affect. Race times were also collected. Our findings supported our hypotheses. We concluded that BPNT is generative in understanding some of the antecedents and consequences of mental toughness and is a novel framework useful for understanding mental toughness.

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John W. Mahoney, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Clifford J. Mallett, and Nikos Ntoumanis

In light of the extant literature, the aim of the current study was to compare adolescents’ perspectives on mental toughness and its development across performance contexts, and to explore if such perspectives align with Bronfenbrenner’s (2001) bioecological model. Eighteen mentally tough adolescents (9 boys, 9 girls, Mage = 15.6 years) from three performance contexts (i.e., sport, academia, and music) participated in focus groups, 7 of whom also participated in follow-up one-to-one interviews. Inductive analyses revealed that mental toughness was conceptualized by 9 personal characteristics, and that while similar across performance contexts, some difference between previous mental toughness conceptualization and the current study existed. Analyses also revealed that mental toughness development was predicated on significant others, supportive social processes, critical incidents, and curiosity. These findings resonated with the properties of the bioecological model. Future research into how bioecological factors combine to facilitate mental toughness development during critical stages of life was suggested.

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Daniel F. Gucciardi, John Mahoney, Geoffrey Jalleh, Robert J. Donovan, and Jarred Parkes

Although there is an emerging body of research that has examined perfectionistic clusters in the general population, few studies have explored such profiles in athlete samples. The purposes of this research were to explore perfectionistic profiles within a sample of elite athletes and the differences between them on key motivational variables. A sample of 423 elite athletes (179 males, 244 females) aged between 14 and 66 years (M = 25.64; SD = 8.57) from a variety of team (e.g., rowing, hockey, baseball, rugby) and individual sports (e.g., cycling, athletics, triathlon, gymnastics) completed a multisection questionnaire including measures of sport perfectionism, motivation regulation, achievement goals, and fear of failure. Cluster analyses revealed the existence of three perfectionism profiles, namely, nonperfectionists, maladaptive perfectionists, and adaptive perfectionists. Subsequent analyses generally supported the robustness of these perfectionism profiles in terms of differential motivational orientations (achievement goals, fear of failure, and motivation regulation) in hypothesized directions. Overall, the differences in motivational orientations between the three clusters supported a categorical conceptualization of perfectionism.