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Nima Dehghansai and Joseph Baker
Initiatives have been designed to attract novice athletes and to enable transfer for experienced athletes. However, the authors have very little knowledge of the effectiveness of these programs. To further improve our understanding, this study explored the demographic and sporting careers of 225 participants attending one of the 10 Paralympian Search events held between 2016 and 2018. The sample consisted of participants with a wide range of impairments and sport experiential backgrounds. The majority of the participants reported having some experience in sports, suggesting that either the promotions reached athletes involved in sports already or the advertising appealed especially to this cohort. Athletes with impairments acquired at various stages of their lives (congenital, before adolescence, adolescence, early adulthood, and adulthood) displayed differences in their sporting trajectories, suggesting considerations for current developmental models. Furthermore, it should be considered to vary the testing locations of future events to increase the reach to rural areas and implement new methods to attract novice participants.
Justine Jones, Kathryn Johnston, and Joseph Baker
Talent identification and development are two of the most critical, yet underexplored, areas in sport sciences. Despite its importance to a host of sport stakeholders, there is a void in our understanding of how coaches construct talent. In an effort to learn more, semistructured interviews were conducted with nine (one female and eight male) collegiate-level coaches from a single Canadian institution. Social constructionism was utilized as the theoretical framework to guide this research. Reflexive thematic analysis generated two main themes: “what talent looks like” and “how talent behaves.” For the former, two subthemes, physical and psychological attributes, were highlighted through the coaches’ experiences as qualities they believe talented athletes may present. The latter reflected opinions that talent may be multidimensional and context-specific in nature. Interestingly, the coaches suggested the context and circumstances of collegiate sport may nudge them to consider other elements (i.e., academic standing, years to degree completion) during talent identification that are unique to this context. Future work in this area could seek to study other populations of coaches to provide a deeper analysis of how talent is situated in relation to different sociocultural worlds.
Nima Dehghansai, Alia Mazhar, and Joseph Baker
Research pertaining to the experiences and motives of Paralympic athletes who transfer between sports is scant. This study aimed to address this gap through semistructured interviews with Canadian Paralympic coaches (n = 35) and athletes (n = 12). Three higher-order themes of “alternative to retirement,” “career extension,” and “compatibility” were identified. The subthemes of “psychobehavioral” and “physical and physiological” (from the higher-order theme of alternative to retirement) captured reasons leading to transfer, which are similar to reasons athletes may consider retirement. The subthemes of career extension—“better opportunities” and “beneficial outcomes”—shed light on factors that contributed to the withdrawal of negative experiences and reinforcement of positive outcomes associated with transferring sports. Last, compatibility had three subthemes of “resources,” “sport-specific,” and “communication,” which encapsulated factors athletes should consider prior to their transfer. In conclusion, the participants highlighted the importance of transparent and effective communication between athletes and sports to align and establish realistic expectations for everyone involved.
Rachael C. Stone and Joseph Baker
The prevalence of arthritis in aging populations continues to rapidly grow. Research has highlighted 2 principal risk factors for progression of arthritis-related biopsychosocial symptoms: age and physical inactivity. This study examined the relationship between and within physical activity and age on biopsychosocial symptoms of arthritis in adults (age ≥ 30 yr). Hierarchical, multiple-regression analyses were conducted on the Canadian Community Health Survey (Cycle 4.2, 2009–2010, N = 19,103). Results revealed that more-active adults had significantly fewer symptoms (physical unstd. B = −.23, p ≤ .001; pyschosocial unstd. B = −.51, p ≤ .001). In addition, as age increased, physical symptoms intensified and psychosocial symptoms tapered (physical unstd. B = .24, p ≤ .001; psychosocial unstd. B = −.45, p ≤ .001). Inactive older adults had the highest level of physical symptoms, while inactive younger adults had the highest level of psychosocial symptoms (p ≤ .001). Findings highlight the need to target physical activity interventions to specific age cohorts and particular biopsychosocial symptomologies.
Shruti Patelia, Alia Mazhar, and Joseph Baker
Issues relating to older adults in sport are ongoing topics of interest among sport scientists; however, our knowledge on how older athletes have been studied is incomplete, which has implications for understanding the comprehensiveness of this evidence base. This scoping review aimed to provide an overview of how sport and older adults have been studied since the first World Masters Games. Data on research topics, research methods, sport-specific information, and demographic information on older athletes were collected and reviewed. Results suggest older athletes who are White, male, and competitive athletes have largely been the focus of research. In addition, results highlight an alarming number of unreported data related to the demographics of athlete samples. As a result, the well-documented benefits of sport may reflect a homogenous group of older adults, limiting our overall understanding of aging and sport and the value of this research for developing evidence-informed policy.
Nima Dehghansai, Ross A. Pinder, and Joseph Baker
This three-part investigation conducted a comprehensive analysis of 213 Australian and Canadian athletes’ developmental trajectories, training histories, and experiences in organized sports from 18 Paralympic sports (PS). While athletes with early-onset impairments (i.e., congenital, preadolescent) reached milestones and commenced various types of training at a significantly younger age than athletes with later-onset impairments (i.e., early adulthood, adulthood), the latter groups progressed through their careers and incorporated various trainings at a faster pace (i.e., fewer years). Preferences to certain training conditions varied between groups. Eighty-two percent of the athletes with acquired impairments had experience in able-bodied sports before the onset of their impairment, with 70% noting involvement in sports similar to their current PS. The participation rates (38%) and sport similarity (53%) were lower in PS. The amalgamation of findings from this series of studies highlights the complexity associated with PS athletes’ development and demonstrates the importance of taking an individualized approach.
Nima Dehghansai, Srdjan Lemez, Nick Wattie, and Joseph Baker
Compared with mainstream sport athletes, relatively little is known regarding the factors affecting the development of athletes with a disability. Sport-specific training programs are essential to athletes’ successful performance; to create appropriate programs and strategies, a clear understanding of the nuances of development of athletes with a disability is important. The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize existing research on development in athletes with a disability and examine the key determinants of successful development and sporting performance. After a search of the Web of Science and SPORTDiscus databases, 21 articles were identified that met the inclusion criteria, which were assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and categorized into 3 groups: training and practice, shortterm interventions, and long-term changes due to training. Among the studies, there was a disproportionate focus on immediate interventions and training programs and less on long-term development. The review reflected a lack of research on sportspecific development of athletes with a disability, which raises concerns regarding the effectiveness and appropriateness of current training practices.
Joseph Baker, Jennifer Robertson-Wilson, and Whitney Sedgwick
The current study examined whether the distribution of published research papers in the field of sport psychology followed the Lotka-Price Law of scientific productivity. All authors who had published articles in five sport psychology journals from 1970 to 2000 were considered. The impact of those authors was determined by the total number of published papers in all journals. Results provided limited support for the Lotka-Price Law; however, it appeared that the field of sport psychology was less elitist than other fields. Although these findings suggest that productivity in this field is similar to that in other fields of science, more research is needed to shed light on the role of the eminent scientist and the average researcher in the advancement of knowledge in sport psychology.
Alina Cohen, Joseph Baker, and Chris I. Ardern
Obesity is associated with impairments in health-related quality of life (HRQL), whereas physical activity (PA) is a promoter of HRQL.
The aim of this study was to investigate the interaction between BMI and PA with HRQL in younger and older Canadian adults.
Data from the 2012 annual component of the Canadian Community Health Survey (N = 48,041; = 30 years) were used to capture self-reported body mass index (BMI-kg/m2), PA (kcal/kg/day, KKD), and HRQL. Interactions between PA and age on the BMI and HRQL relationship were assessed using general linear models and logistic regression.
Those younger (younger: μ = 0.79 ± 0.02; older: μ = 0.70 ± 0.02) and more active (active: μ = 0.82 ± 0.02; moderately active: μ = 0.77 ± 0.03; inactive: μ = 0.73 ± 0.01) reported higher HRQL. Older inactive underweight, normal weight, and overweight adults have lower odds of high HRQL.
PA was associated with higher HRQL in younger adults. In older adults, BMI and PA influenced HRQL.