The Overtraining Syndrome: A Multicontextual Assessment

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Heidi L. Meehan Canterbury Christ Church University College

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Stephen J. Bull SJB Consultants

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Dan M. Wood University of Gloucestershire

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David V.B. James University of Gloucestershire

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The present study explored the experiences of five competitive endurance athletes (1 female, 4 male) diagnosed with the overtraining syndrome (OTS). A multicontextual method of inquiry was used, which first involved a medical examination whereby OTS was diagnosed according to established criteria. In addition, 2 questionnaires were administered: the Athlete Daily Hassle Scale (Albinson & Pearce, 1998) and the Coping Response Inventory (Moos, 1992), and a semistructured interview was conducted. Individual case studies were then developed and cross-case analysis carried out. Findings from the present study illustrate that together with sport stress, nonsport stress appears to make an important contribution to the experience of those athletes diagnosed with the OTS. This finding provides evidence to support anecdotes in previous reports.

Heidi L. Meehan is currently with the England-Wales Cricket Board in Canterbury, Kent, UK. Stephen J. Bull is with SJB Consultants in Gloucestershire, UK. Dan M. Wood and David V.B. James are with the School of Sport and Leisure, University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Campus, Gloucester, GL2 9HW, UK. E-mail: djames@glos.ac.uk.

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