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  • Author: Paul O’Halloran x
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Angelique Aspridis, Paul O’Halloran and Pranee Liamputtong

Female bodybuilding is a sport where competitors often make considerable alterations to their diets, physical activities, and social lives to successfully prepare for competition. No study had specifically examined the perceived impact of participating in the Figure class of female bodybuilding, which places less emphasis on muscularity and more on feminine presentation. The purpose of this research was to examine the perceived social and psychological effects of participating in the Figure class. Semistructured interviews, ranging from 45 to 90 minutes, were conducted with 11 female Figure competitors. These women experienced many positive consequences as a result of participating, such as a sense of empowerment. However, results revealed that women in the sport of bodybuilding do not need to be “male like” in appearance to experience negative social reactions. Results demonstrated that women competing in the Figure class, with the greater emphasis on feminine presentation and considerably less emphasis on muscularity, also experienced widespread stigma and social isolation.

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Hannah Macdougall, Paul O’Halloran, Nora Shields and Emma Sherry

This systematic review included 12 studies that compared the well-being of Para and Olympic sport athletes. Meta-analyses revealed that Para athletes, compared with Olympic sport athletes, had lower levels of self-acceptance, indicated by athletic identity, d = -0.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) [-0.77, -0.16], and body-image perceptions, d = -0.33, 95% CI [-0.59, -0.07], and differed from Olympic sport athletes in terms of their motivation, indicated by a greater mastery-oriented climate, d = 0.74, 95% CI [0.46, 1.03]. Given an inability to pool the remaining data for meta-analysis, individual standardized mean differences were calculated for other dimensions of psychological and subjective well-being. The results have implications for professionals and coaches aiming to facilitate the well-being needs of athletes under their care. Future research would benefit from incorporating established models of well-being based on theoretical rationale combined with rigorous study designs.

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Hannah Macdougall, Paul O’Halloran, Emma Sherry and Nora Shields

The well-being needs and strengths of para-athletes in a global and sport-specific context were investigated across subjective psychological, social, and physical health and well-being dimensions. Data were drawn from (a) semistructured interviews with Australian para-athletes (n = 23), (b) a focus group with the Australian Paralympic Committee (n = 9), and (c) a confirmatory para-athlete focus group (n = 8). The well-being needs and strengths of para-athletes differed across gender, sport, level of competition, and nature of impairment. Well-being needs were an interaction between physical pain, emotional regulation, lacking purpose outside of sport, and a lack of self-acceptance, especially for athletes with acquired impairments. Well-being strengths were perceived to increase as athletes increased their level of competition, and included personal growth, optimism, strong social support networks, and contributing to multiple communities. The importance of well-being as a multidimensional concept within the global and sport-specific context for para-athletes is discussed.

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Sophie Knights, Emma Sherry, Mandy Ruddock-Hudson and Paul O’Halloran

The purpose of this research was to explore the experience of transition and life after sport in a group of retired professional athletes. A total of 45 retired athletes from three national football leagues took part in semistructured interviews. Two overarching themes emerged from the data analysis: (a) preparing for transition and planning for retirement and (b) supportive environment. For athletes in this study, four main factors were identified as critical to promoting a positive transition. The nature of the transition also directly affected athletes’ experience of retirement from sport and, thus, their experience of flourishing in life after sport. The majority of participants in this study indicated that they lacked support from their sporting club and governing bodies both during their transition and in retirement. Planning for retirement and preparing for the future positively affected their ability to flourish in retirement. Recommendations for sport managers and athlete support services are provided.

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Melissa Moore, Jeni Warburton, Paul D. O’Halloran, Nora Shields and Kingsley

The purpose of this systematic review was to assess the characteristics and effectiveness of community-based interventions designed to increase physical activity participation in older adults (aged 65 years or more) living in rural or regional areas. Relevant peer-reviewed literature was obtained, using four primary electronic search engines, in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. The initial search identified 4,690 articles. After removal of duplicates and excluded articles, seven articles were included in the review. Few consistencies existed between intervention types, duration, outcome measures, and follow-up. Results provide some evidence to support the effectiveness of community-based interventions that include low- to moderate-intensity exercise to increase physical activity, physical function, and psychological state. However, without more rigorous studies it is difficult to identify the most critical characteristics of community-based interventions for older adults in rural and regional settings.

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Rory J. Mack, Jeff D. Breckon, Paul D. O’Halloran and Joanne Butt

Clear reporting of the counseling approach (and theoretical underpinning) applied by sport psychologists is often missing, with a tendency to focus on intervention content rather than therapeutic processes and relationship building. Well-defined psychotherapies such as motivational interviewing (MI) can help fill this void and provide an underpinning counseling approach (in an athlete-centered manner) as a framework for delivering interventions such as psychological-skills training (PST). This article describes the role of MI as a framework on which PST sport psychology interventions can be mapped and delivered. The paper presents an athlete case study to explain the role of MI at each phase of the interaction. Robust, well-defined applications of MI in sport require further research, although evidence from other psychological domains suggests that it can be successfully blended into sporting contexts.

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Regina Belski, Alex Donaldson, Kiera Staley, Anne Skiadopoulos, Erica Randle, Paul O’Halloran, Pam Kappelides, Steve Teakel, Sonya Stanley and Matthew Nicholson

This study evaluated the impact of a brief (20-min) nutrition education intervention embedded in an existing mandatory coach education course for coaches of junior (8–12 years old) Australian football teams. A total of 284 coaches (68% of 415 coaching course participants) completed a presession questionnaire, and 110 coaches (27% of coaching course participants) completed an identical postsession questionnaire. The responses to the pre- and postsession surveys were matched for 78 coaches. Coaches’ ratings of their own understanding of the nutritional needs of young athletes (6.81, 8.95; p < .001), the importance of young athletes adhering to a healthy diet (9.09, 9.67; p = .001), their confidence in their own nutrition knowledge (7.24, 8.64; p < .001), and their confidence in advising young athletes on nutrition and hydration practices (6.85, 8.62; p < .001), all significantly improved following the education session. Nearly all coaches (>95%) provided a correct response to six of the 15 nutrition and hydration knowledge questions included in the presession questionnaire. Even with this high level of presession knowledge, there was a significant improvement in the coaches’ nutrition and hydration knowledge after the education session across five of the 15 items, compared with before the education session. The results of this study suggest that a simple, short nutrition education intervention, embedded in an existing coach education course, can positively influence the nutrition knowledge and self-efficacy of community-level, volunteer coaches of junior sports participants.