Psychological processes in sport are inextricably linked to the social contexts within which they occur. However, research and practice in applied sport psychology have shown only marginal concern for the social dimensions of participation. As a consequence of stronger ties to clinical and counseling psychology than to social psychology, the prevailing model of intervention in applied sport psychology has been individually centered. Focus at the individual level has been further bolstered by cognitive emphases in modem psychology. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the need for a balanced consideration of social and personal influences. Four social psychological dimensions of interest will be explored, including athletic subculture membership; athletic identity concerns; social networks of influence; and leadership processes. The relevance of these forms of influence will be examined in relation to applied concerns in the areas of athlete academic performance, overtraining and burnout, and disordered eating patterns. At minimum, consultants need to address contextual and relational correlates of psychological and performance issues.
Robert J. Brustad and Michelle Ritter-Taylor
Betty C. Kelley, Robert C. Eklund and Michelle Ritter-Taylor
The purpose of this investigation was to examine stress and burnout among collegiate tennis coaches. Three alternative models of stress-mediated relationships between personal/situational variables (hardiness, coaching issues, competitive level, gender, trait anxiety, initiating and consideration leadership styles) and burnout among men (n = 163) and women (n = 98) collegiate head tennis coaches were examined. Preliminary analysis revealed that the tennis coaches in this investigation were suffering from levels of burnout similar to those of other helping professionals working in higher education (Maslach & Jackson, 1986). A gender-by-competition-level (2 × 2) MANOVA on study variables revealed a significant main effect for gender but not for competition level. The women had a higher tendency than the men did to find coaching issues stressful. Structural equation modeling revealed that the stress-mediation model, also featuring direct effects of personality/dispositional variables on burnout, accounted for observed relationships in data more adequately than the other alternative models did.