Depression among elite athletes is a topic of increasing interest, but empirical data are rare. The present study aimed to provide insight into the prevalence of depressive symptoms among German elite athletes and possible associated factors. In an online survey of 162 athletes, we explored depressive symptoms, chronic stress, coping strategies and stress-recovery states. Results indicated an overall prevalence of 15% for depression among elite athletes (n = 99), and revealed higher levels of depressive symptoms among the individual athletes than the team athletes. Furthermore, correlation analyses showed a significant connection between high levels of depressive symptoms and high levels of chronic stress, negative coping strategies and negative stress-recovery states. Results indicate that the prevalence for depressive symptoms in elite athletes is comparable to that in the general German population. Moreover, exploratory analyses provide first indications of factors associated with depressive symptoms.
Insa Nixdorf, Raphael Frank, Martin Hautzinger and Juergen Beckmann
Pia-Maria Wippert and Jens Wippert
Undesired career termination represents a critical life event for professional athletes. This study examined traumatic stress resulting from (a) a career-ending event and (b) the athlete’s separation from his or her social support network. Data were collected from 40 professional athletes who were members of the German National Ski Team, using standardized (Impact of Event Scale; Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale) and partially standardized (psychosomatic stress reaction) questionnaires. Correlations between the impact of termination and traumatic stress symptoms were observed over a period of 8 months. Athletes who experienced supportive termination (involving discussion with coaches) endorsed fewer symptoms than those who experienced socially disintegrative termination (lacking support of coaches). Nearly 20% of participants endorsed clinically relevant levels of traumatic stress at 3 and 8 months posttermination.
Jessica J. DeGaetano, Andrew T. Wolanin, Donald R. Marks and Shiloh M. Eastin
The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of psychosocial factors and psychological flexibility on rehabilitation protocol adherence in a sample of injured collegiate athletes. Self-report measures were given to injured athletes before the start of a physical rehabilitation protocol. Upon completion of rehabilitation, each athlete was assessed by the chief athletic trainer using a measure of rehabilitation adherence. Correlational analyses and bootstrapped logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine whether broad psychosocial factors and level of psychological flexibility predicted engagement and adherence to a rehabilitation protocol. Psychological flexibility, as measured on the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (2nd ed.; Bond et al., 2011), contributed significantly to the overall logistic regression model. Study findings suggested that assessment of psychological flexibility could give medical providers a way to evaluate both quickly and quantitatively potentially problematic behavioral responding among injured athletes, allowing for more effective adherence monitoring.
Henrik Gustafsson, Therése Skoog, Paul Davis, Göran Kenttä and Peter Haberl
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and burnout and whether this relationship is mediated by perceived stress, negative affect, and positive affect in elite junior athletes. Participants were 233 (123 males and 107 females) adolescent athletes, ranging in age from 15–19 years (M = 17.50; SD = 1.08). Bivariate correlations revealed that mindfulness had a significant negative relationship with both perceived stress and burnout. To investigate mediation, we employed nonparametric bootstrapping analyses. These analyses indicated that positive affect fully mediated links between mindfulness and sport devaluation. Further, positive affect and negative affect partially mediated the relationships between mindfulness and physical/emotional exhaustion, as well as between mindfulness and reduced sense of accomplishment. The results point toward mindfulness being negatively related to burnout in athletes and highlight the role of positive affect. Future research should investigate the longitudinal effect of dispositional mindfulness on stress and burnout.
Stuart Cathcart, Matt McGregor and Emma Groundwater
Mindfulness has been found to be related to improved athletic performance and propensity to achieve flow states. The relationship between mindfulness and flow has only recently been examined in elite athletes. To build on this literature, we administered the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the Dispositional Flow Scale to 92 elite athletes. Psychometric analyses supported the validity of the FFMQ. Males scored higher than females on the FFMQ facet of Nonjudging of Inner Experience. Athletes from individual and pacing sports scored higher on the FFMQ facet of Observing than athletes from team-based and nonpacing sports. Correlations between mindfulness and flow were stronger in athletes from individual and pacing sports compared with team-based and nonpacing sports. Mindfulness correlated with different facets of flow in males compared with females. The results support the use of the five-facet mindfulness construct in elite athletes and suggest the relationship between mindfulness and flow possibly may vary by gender and sport type in this population.
Louise Davis and Sophia Jowett
Grounded in Bowlby’s (1969/1982, 1988) attachment theory, this study aimed to explore (a) the pervasiveness of the three main functions of attachment within the context of the coach-athlete relationship, (b) the associations of athletes’ attachment styles with such important variables as satisfaction with the relationship and satisfaction with the sport, and (c) the process by which athletes’ attachment styles and satisfaction with sport are associated. Data were collected through self-report measures of attachment functions and styles as well as relationship satisfaction and sport satisfaction from 309 student athletes (males = 150, females = 159) whose age ranged from 18 to 28 years (Mage = 19.9, SD = 1.58 years). Athletes’ mean scores indicated that the coach was viewed as an attachment figure fulfilling all three functions of secure base, safe haven, and proximity maintenance. Bivariate correlations indicated that athletes’ avoidant and anxious styles of attachment with the coach were negatively correlated with both relationship satisfaction and sport satisfaction. Mediational regression analysis revealed that athletes’ satisfaction with the coach-athlete relationship may be a process that links athletes’ attachment styles with levels of satisfaction with sport. The findings from this study highlight the potential theoretical and practical utility of attachment theory in studying relationships within the sport context.
Rachel W. Thompson, Keith A. Kaufman, Lilian A. De Petrillo, Carol R. Glass and Diane B. Arnkoff
The purpose of the present investigation was to evaluate the long-term effects of mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE), a program designed to improve athletic performance and psychological aspects of sport. One-year follow-up assessments were conducted on archers, golfers, and long-distance runners (N = 25) who attended Kaufman, Glass, and Arnkoff’s (2009) and De Petrillo, Kaufman, Glass, and Arnkoff’s (2009) MSPE workshops. Across the athlete groups, participants reported significant increases in the ability to act with awareness (an aspect of trait mindfulness) and overall trait mindfulness from pretest to follow-up, along with significant decreases in task-related worries and task-irrelevant thoughts (both aspects of cognitive interference during sport). The long-distance runners exhibited significant improvement in their mile times from pretest to follow-up, with significant correlations between change in runners’ performance and trait variables. Results suggest that MSPE is a promising intervention associated with long-term changes in trait variables that may contribute to optimal athletic performance.
Jessica Ross and Peter D. MacIntyre
( 2014 ) found similar correlations between flow and both neuroticism and conscientiousness, but also found that extraversion positively correlated, and agreeableness negatively correlated, with the disposition toward flow. An unpublished follow-up investigation by Hager ( 2015 ) reported findings
Britton W. Brewer, Christine M. Caldwell, Albert J. Petitpas, Judy L. Van Raalte, Miquel Pans and Allen E. Cornelius
the factor analyses for this phase of the research. Finally, Pearson correlations were calculated between scores on the short form of the Marlowe–Crowne Social Desirability Scale and each individual item score, and a one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed on the pool of items
Jeffrey J. Milroy, Stephen Hebard, Emily Kroshus and David L. Wyrick
a SRC and reported it to your coach or athletic trainer?” This dichotomous variable was then used as the dependent variable for correlational and regression analyses. Coach Athlete Attachment Scale (CAAS) An athlete’s quality of attachment within the coach-athlete relationship was primarily measured