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Christin Lang, Anna Karina Feldmeth, Serge Brand, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse and Markus Gerber

In most physical education (PE) syllabuses, promoting life skills constitutes an important educational objective. The aim of this study was to implement a coping training program (EPHECT) within regular PE and to evaluate its effects on coping and stress among vocational students. Eight classes from a vocational school were selected for study; four were allocated to the intervention group (IG) and four to the control group (CG). The study examined intervention effects between pre- and postintervention, and postintervention and 6-months follow-up. Compared with the CG, the IG showed improved coping skills from pre- to postintervention. From postintervention to follow-up, stress decreased for the IG. A path analysis suggests an indirect effect on stress perception at follow-up via improved adaptive coping skills. The findings support EPHECT as a positive contribution to the development of adaptive coping skills. The project further shows how physical educators can translate psychological theory into practice.

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Serge Brand, Markus Gerber, Flora Colledge, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse and Sebastian Ludyga

While there is evidence that acute bouts of aerobic and coordinative exercise positively affect attention and executive functions, no study has focused on the impact of acute exercise on facial-emotion processing. A total of 106 adolescents (mean age 13.0 years) were randomly assigned to a group performing either an aerobic exercise session (AER), an aerobic exercise session with coordinative demands (AER+C), or stretching. Before and after the 35-min experimental session, participants completed computerized facial-emotion labeling and emotion-matching tasks. Facial-emotion labeling, but not emotion matching, increased over time, but more so in AER and AER+C conditions. When aerobic exercise is combined with coordinative demands, greater benefits seem to be elicited for some aspects of facial-emotion recognition. Results suggest a new direction for the influence of exercising on dimensions of psychological functioning, namely on emotion processing and social cognition.

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Catherine Elliot, Christin Lang, Serge Brand, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse and Markus Gerber

This study examines how students who met the current recommendations for vigorous physical activity (VPA) of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) differ from peers who did not reach these standards with regard to self-reported burnout, before and after controlling for light physical activity and moderate physical activity. A sample of 144 vocational students (M age = 16.2 years, SD = 1.13, 98 males) completed the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Measure, and the School Burnout Inventory. Bivariate correlations revealed that only VPA was associated with reduced burnout. Both the ACSM and CDC guidelines were useful to identify significant differences in burnout symptoms between students who met versus did not meet the standards. Health policy makers should develop strategies to integrate more VPA into the lives of adolescent students so as to reach a minimum of 60 min per week.

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Ebrahim Norouzi, Fatemeh Sadat Hosseini, Mohammad Vaezmosavi, Markus Gerber, Uwe Pühse and Serge Brand

In sport such as darts, athletes are particularly challenged by demands for concentration, skills underpinned by implicit learning, and fine motor skill control. Several techniques have been proposed to improve the implicit learning of such skills, including quiet eye training (QET) and quiet mind training (QMT). Here, the authors tested whether and to what extent QET or QMT, compared with a control condition, might improve skills among novice dart players. In total, 30 novice dart players were randomly assigned either to the QET, QMT, or a control condition. Dart playing skills were assessed four times: at the baseline, 7 days later, under stress conditions, and at the study’s end. Over time, errors reduced, but more so in the QET and QMT conditions than in the control condition. The pattern of the results indicates that, among novice dart players and compared with a control condition, both QET and QMT provide significant improvements in implicit learning.

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Markus Gerber, Simon Best, Fabienne Meerstetter, Sandrine Isoard-Gautheur, Henrik Gustafsson, Renzo Bianchi, Daniel J. Madigan, Flora Colledge, Sebastian Ludyga, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler and Serge Brand

Few studies have examined the association between sleep and burnout symptoms in elite athletes. We recruited 257 young elite athletes (M age = 16.8 years) from Swiss Olympic partner schools. Of these, 197 were reassessed 6 months later. Based on the first assessment, 24 participants with clinically relevant burnout symptoms volunteered to participate in a polysomnographic examination and were compared with 26 (matched) healthy controls. Between 12% and 14% of young elite athletes reported burnout symptoms of potential clinical relevance, whereas 4–11% reported clinically relevant insomnia symptoms. Athletes with clinically relevant burnout symptoms reported significantly more insomnia symptoms, more dysfunctional sleep-related cognitions, and spent less time in bed during weeknights (p < .05). However, no significant differences were found for objective sleep parameters. A cross-lagged panel analysis showed that burnout positively predicted self-reported insomnia symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral interventions to treat dysfunctional sleep-related cognitions might be a promising measure to reduce subjective sleep complaints among young elite athletes.