Is Athlete Burnout More than Just Stress? A Sport Commitment Perspective

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Thomas D. Raedeke University of Colorado

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This study examined athlete burnout from a commitment perspective, which suggests that athletes can be involved in sport for a combination of reasons related to sport attraction (want to be involved) and sport entrapment (have to be involved). According to this framework, athletes are likely to experience burnout if they are involved in sport primarily for entrapment-related reasons. Female and male age-group swimmers (N = 236) completed a questionnaire that assessed theoretical determinants of commitment and burnout (emotional/ physical exhaustion, swim devaluation, and reduced swim accomplishment). Cluster analysis was used to partition swimmers into profiles based on the theoretical determinants of commitment. Subsequent analyses of variance compared emergent cluster groups on burnout. Results revealed that athletes who exhibited characteristics reflecting sport entrapment generally demonstrated higher burnout scores than athletes who were primarily involved in sport for attraction-related reasons. These results provided support for a commitment perspective as a viable framework for understanding athlete burnout.

Thomas D. Raedeke is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Colorado, Campus Box 354, Boulder, CO 80309.

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