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Nicholas Stanger and Susan H. Backhouse

Moral identity and moral disengagement have been linked with doping likelihood. However, experiments testing the temporal direction of these relationships are absent. The authors conducted one cross-sectional and two experimental studies investigating the conjunctive effects of moral identity and moral disengagement on doping likelihood (or intention). Dispositional moral identity was inversely (marginally), and doping moral disengagement, positively, associated with doping intention (Study 1). Manipulating situations to amplify opportunities for moral disengagement increased doping likelihood via anticipated guilt (Study 2). Moreover, dispositional moral identity (Study 2) and inducing moral identity (Study 3) were linked with lower doping likelihood and attenuated the relationship between doping moral disengagement and doping likelihood. However, the suppressing effect of moral identity on doping likelihood was overridden when opportunities for moral disengagement were amplified. These findings support multifaceted antidoping efforts, which include simultaneously enhancing athlete moral identity and personal responsibility alongside reducing social opportunities for moral disengagement.

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Laurie B. Patterson, Susan H. Backhouse, and Sergio Lara-Bercial

Although global policy states that coaches are a key stakeholder group for anti-doping education, very little is known about how performance and participation coaches develop their understanding of anti-doping policy and practice. Therefore, 292 UK-based coaches completed an online survey exploring their experiences of anti-doping education (i.e., topics covered, how and by whom the programmes were delivered and how knowledgeable and well-equipped coaches felt to deal with doping-related matters). The results showed that almost a quarter of the surveyed coaches reported never learning about anti-doping. Only a third had engaged with a formal anti-doping education programme and coaches typically received information on detection-deterrence related topics (e.g., banned substances, testing procedures). Many coaches perceived themselves as only having ‘a little’ knowledge about anti-doping and declared themselves as ‘a little’ equipped to work with their sportspeople on doping-related matters. Nonetheless, 96% of coaches were inclined to learn more about anti-doping in the future. Given the World Anti-Doping Code states that anti-doping education for coaches should be compulsory, it is crucial that insights from coaches are made public to inform the development of evidence-informed anti-doping programmes that are tailored and targeted.

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Lea-Cathrin Dohme, David Piggott, Susan Backhouse, and Gareth Morgan

Research has identified psychological skills and characteristics (PSCs) perceived to facilitate talented youth athletes’ development. However, no systematic categorization or synthesis of these PSCs exists to date. To provide such synthesis, this systematic review aimed to identify PSCs perceived as facilitative of talented youth athletes’ development, group and label synonymous PSCs, and categorize PSCs based on definitions established by Dohme, Backhouse, Piggott, and Morgan (2017). PRISMA systematic-review guidelines were employed and a comprehensive literature search of SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and ERIC completed in November 2017. Twenty-five empirical studies published between 2002 and 2017 met the inclusion criteria. Through thematic analysis, 19 PSCs were identified as facilitative of youth athletes’ development—8 were categorized as psychological skills (e.g., goal setting, social-support seeking, and self-talk) and 11 as psychological characteristics (e.g., self-confidence, focus, and motivation). The practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Mariana Kaiseler, Jamie M. Poolton, Susan H. Backhouse, and Nick Stanger

The role of dispositional mindfulness on stress in student-athletes and factors that mediate this relationship has yet to be examined. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between the facets of mindfulness and life stress in student-athletes and whether these relationships are mediated through coping effectiveness and decision rumination. Participants were 202 student-athletes who completed validated measures of dispositional mindfulness, student-athlete life stress, decision rumination and coping effectiveness in sport. Results indicated that the acting with awareness and nonjudging facets of mindfulness were negative predictors of life stress, whereas the observe facet was a positive predictor of life stress. Mediation analyses revealed that these relationships were mediated through coping effectiveness and decision rumination. Findings provide new insight into the role dispositional mindfulness plays on student-athlete perceptions of life stress and implications for practitioners are discussed.

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Adam R. Nicholls, Jim McKenna, Remco C.J. Polman, and Susan H. Backhouse

The aim of this study was to explore the perceived factors that contribute to stress and negative affective states during preseason among a sample of professional rugby union players. The participants were 12 male professional rugby union players between 18 and 21 years of age (M age = 19 years, SD = 0.85). Data were collected via semistructured interviews and analyzed using an inductive content analysis procedure. Players identified training (structure and volume), the number of matches played and the recovery period, diet, sleep, and travel as factors that they believed contributed to their experience of stress and negative affective states. The present findings suggest that players may require more time to recover between matches, alongside interventions to help players manage the symptoms of stress and negative affect during times in which players are overtraining.

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Susan H. Backhouse, Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Andrew Foskett, and Clyde Williams

The exercise psychology literature includes an intriguing, albeit not frequently discussed, paradox by juxtaposing two conclusions: (a) that exercise makes most people feel better and (b) that most people are physically inactive or inadequately active. In this article, we propose that this might be an artifact rather than a paradox. Specifically, we question the generality of the conclusion that exercise makes people feel better by proposing that (a) occasional findings of negative affective changes tend to be discounted, (b) potentially relevant negative affective states are not always measured, (c) examining changes from pre- to postexercise could miss negative changes during exercise, and (d) analyzing changes only at the level of group aggregates might conceal divergent patterns at the level of individuals or subgroups. Data from a study of 12 men participating in a 90-min walk–run protocol designed to simulate the demands of sports games (e.g., soccer) are used to illustrate these points.