Basic psychological needs theory is limited by variable-centered studies focused on linear relationships between perceived needs-supportive/controlling coach behaviors. Therefore, latent profile analysis was used to determine if heterogenous profiles emerged from the interactive effects of needs-supportive and -controlling coach behaviors and the subsequent association with sport-specific mental health outcomes (i.e., burnout and subjective vitality). A total of 685 athletes took part (age = 23.39 years, male = 71%), and the latent profile analysis revealed five novel, diverse profiles, labeled as “supportive-developmental,” “needs-indifferent,” “overly critical,” “harsh-controlling,” and “distant-controlling” coaches. The profiles predicted significant mental health variance (adjusted R 2 = .15–.24), wherein the “supportive-developmental” profile scored most favorably on 90% of the outcomes. The largest mean differences were observed against the “harsh-controlling” (n = 5), “overly critical” (n = 3), and “distant controlling” (n = 2) profiles. Overall, latent profile analysis revealed substantial nuance in athletes’ social contexts, predicting variance in mental health. Needs-supportive interventions are needed for “overly critical,” “harsh controlling,” and “distant controlling” athlete profiles.
Stephen Shannon, Garry Prentice, and Gavin Breslin
Stephen Shannon, Mark Shevlin, and Gavin Breslin
Aim: A recent mental health in sport consensus statement advocates Keyes’ two continua model with an associated Mental Health Continuum (MHC) instrument to assess mental health in athletes. However, there remains statistically inconsistent usage of the MHC in athletes, so further exploration of the MHC’s psychometric factors is required. Methods: Athletes (N = 1,097) aged 32.63 (SD = 11.16) comprising 603 females (55.7%) and 478 males (44.3%), completed the 14-item MHC-Short Form, alongside validated measures of anxiety and depression. Five confirmatory factor analytic and bifactor models were developed based on extant research and theory. Results: Overall, a bifactor structure with a “general” positive mental health factor, and three specific factors (“hedonic well-being,” “social well-being,” and “psychological well-being”) fitted the data well and was deemed the superior model. Conclusion: A bifactor model of the MHC-Short Form is recommended comprising a composite score alongside specific factors of hedonic, social, and psychological well-being.
Stephen F. Burns, Keith Shannon, and Jeffrey Potteiger
Stephen Shannon, Garry Prentice, Noel Brick, Gerard Leavey, and Gavin Breslin
Participation in sport can paradoxically be a source of psychological needs satisfaction and psychological needs frustration. Self-determination theory was applied to explain temporal relationships of athletes’ psychological needs satisfactions and psychological needs frustrations with burnout through a two-wave longitudinal study. Participants included 184 athletes (M age = 24.04 years, SD = 5.56, 67.9% male) representing a range of competitive levels. A latent difference score model specifying longitudinal relationships between burnout and needs satisfactions and needs frustrations was tested. Significant within-variable changes were observed for all needs-satisfaction and needs-frustration variables. Longitudinal associations were found in Models 3 (autonomy frustration) and 6 (relatedness satisfaction). Higher burnout at baseline predicted an increase in autonomy frustration (β = 0.13, p < .05), whereas higher relatedness satisfaction at baseline reduced burnout levels later in the season (β = −0.22, p < .001). To conclude, continuous tracking of athlete burnout levels and fostering of needs-supportive climates that minimize autonomy-controlling behaviors are recommended for the burnout prevention in athletes.
Tanya McGuane, Stephen Shannon, Lee-Ann Sharp, Martin Dempster, and Gavin Breslin
Horse racing requires jockeys to weigh in prior to each competition, with failure automatically excluding the jockey from competition. As such, many jockeys frequently employ long- and short-term “wasting” weight-loss techniques that can be harmful to health. This study aimed to explore jockeys’ social norms and experiences regarding wasting and the effects of wasting on their mental health. Six professional jockeys with a minimum of 2 years professional riding experience were recruited from a range of stud-racing yards in Ireland. From individual participant interviews, an interpretative-phenomenological-analysis approach revealed four themes: “Day in, day out,” “Horse racing is my life,” “You just do what you have to do,” and “This is our world.” Themes were interpreted through social-identity theory, which highlighted how wasting is an acceptable in-group norm among jockeys, irrespective of relationship problems and mental health consequences. Recommendations are offered for intervening to support jockeys’ mental health.
Hugh Gilmore, Stephen Shannon, Gerard Leavey, Martin Dempster, Shane Gallagher, and Gavin Breslin
Recreational athletes comprise the most prevalent population using illegal Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS). Despite regulatory efforts, substances are widely accessible, and most users report the experience of harmful side effects. It remains unclear why few users seek professional medical help. The aim of this study was to determine AAS users’ experience of side effects and help-seeking beliefs using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of six interviews. Participants were from the United Kingdom (n = 5) and United States (n = 1), had all experienced side effects, with some reporting prolonged use of AAS (>10 years) and self-manufacturing the drugs from raw ingredients. Results showed that AAS users discredit medical professionals’ competencies, and practice cognitive dissonance by avoiding challenging situations. A microculture for information-sharing has developed among AAS users who initially self-treat to counteract side effects, leaving them vulnerable to further harm. To conclude, there is an urgent need for educational interventions that outline the risky practice of unregulated AAS use and self-treatments, and the need to seek professional help. Such interventions could be developed through a co-production basis, and be implemented by current/former AAS users alongside the medical community.
Gavin Breslin, Stephen Shannon, Kyle Ferguson, Shauna Devlin, Tandy Haughey, and Garry Prentice
Recent evidence suggests that attempts to tackle mental health stigma in athletes should include psychological theory to understand the competitive sport environment. Using the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), the aim was to determine what demographic and psychological factors predicted mental health stigma among athletes. Athletes (n = 471) completed a questionnaire, and a multiple linear regression analyses was conducted, specifying demographic (e.g., gender), psychological (e.g., norms) and moderating variables (e.g., sport type) as predictors of stigma-related intentions to socialise with individuals who are living with a mental health condition. TRA models explained a significant amount of variance for intentions, in which knowledge about and exposure to individuals with mental health conditions significantly predicted better intentions. Further, athletes competing in team sports, particularly females, had stronger intentions. This was the first study to explore mental health stigma using the TRA. Findings can inform the development of mental health awareness programs for athletes.
Shannon L. Mihalko, Phillip Cox, Edward Ip, David F. Martin, Paul DeVita, Monica Love, Santiago Saldana, D. Wayne Cannon, Rebecca E. Fellin, Joseph F. Seay, and Stephen P. Messier
Context: While 55 million Americans incorporate running into their exercise routines, up to 65% of runners sustain an overuse injury annually. It has been consistently shown that regular physical activity positively impacts quality of life (QOL), an essential public health indicator; however, the impact of running-related injuries on QOL is unknown. This study seeks to determine whether overuse injury severity impacts QOL in recreational runners, and if self-efficacy mediates this relationship. Design: Community-based prospective cohort study of 300 runners who had been running injury free for at least 5 miles/wk in the past 6 months. Methods: Self-efficacy for running and QOL measures (Short Form-12 Physical Component and Mental Component, Satisfaction with Life, Positive Affect and Negative Affect) were assessed at baseline, time of injury, and follow-up visits. Over 2 years of observation, overuse injuries were diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon and injured runners were referred to a physical therapist. Results: Injury severity was significantly (P < .01) related with 2 indices of QOL, such that the effect of injury severity was −2.28 units on the Short Form-12 physical component and −0.73 units on positive affect. Self-efficacy accounted for 19% and 48% of the indirect effects on Short Form-12 physical component and positive affect, respectively. Conclusions: Since self-efficacy is a modifiable factor related to decreased QOL, these findings have important clinical implications for rehabilitation interventions.
Shannon N. Zenk, Amy J. Schulz, Angela M. Odoms-Young, JoEllen Wilbur, Stephen Matthews, Cindy Gamboa, Lani R. Wegrzyn, Susan Hobson, and Carmen Stokes
Global positioning systems (GPS) have emerged as a research tool to better understand environmental influences on physical activity. This study examined the feasibility of using GPS in terms of perceived acceptability, barriers, and ease of use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of lower socioeconomic position (SEP).
Data were from 2 pilot studies involving a total of 170 African American, Hispanic, and White urban adults with a mean (standard deviation) age of 47.8 (±13.1) years. Participants wore a GPS for up to 7 days. They answered questions about GPS acceptability, barriers (wear-related concerns), and ease of use before and after wearing the GPS.
We found high ratings of GPS acceptability and ease of use and low levels of wear-related concerns, which were maintained after data collection. While most were comfortable with their movements being tracked, older participants (P < .05) and African Americans (P < .05) reported lower comfort levels. Participants who were younger, with higher education, and low incomes were more likely to indicate that the GPS made the study more interesting (P < .05). Participants described technical and wear-related problems, but few concerns related to safety, loss, or appearance.
Use of GPS was feasible in this racially/ethnically diverse, lower SEP sample.
Sarahjane Belton, Gavin Breslin, Stephen Shannon, Wesley O’Brien, Ben Fitzpatrick, Tandy Haughey, Fiona Chambers, Danielle Powell, Darryl McCullagh, and Deirdre Brennan
Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate daily physical activity (PA) patterns of 8- to 9-year-old Irish children from socially disadvantaged areas. Methods: Children (N = 408) were asked to wear an ActiGraph accelerometer for a minimum of 4 days. Based on mean daily moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA accumulation, participants were grouped into sex-specific quartiles (Q4, most active; Q1, least active). Principal component analysis was used to identify distinct time blocks for weekdays and weekend days. Results: Overall, 213 participants (8.7 [0.5] y) met accelerometer inclusion criteria. Of these, 56.7% met the 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA per day guidelines, with males statistically significantly more likely to do so than females (P < .01). Principal component analysis revealed 3 distinct time periods on weekdays and 4 distinct periods on weekends that children were active. The total difference in moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA accumulation between Q4 (most active) and Q1 (least active) was greatest in the after-school time period (male: 49 min and female: 33 min) on weekdays and in the evening time period on weekends (male: 33 min and female: 19 min). Conclusions: After-school and weekend evenings are critical “activity rich” time periods in terms of the gap between our most and least active disadvantaged children.