Addressing Athlete Burnout: Examining the experiences of eight university student-athletes taking part in an intervention to prevent and reduce burnout and enhance well-being

Nicole Dubuc-Charbonneau, University of Ottawa, Canada
Natalie Durand-Bush, University of Ottawa, Canada

Theme: Burnout and transition out of sport

Poster Number: 84

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


The potential consequences of burnout on the performance and well-being of athletes are disconcerting given that in several cases, athletes have withdrawn from sport (Goodger, Wolfenden & Lavallee, 2007). Despite the call for interventions to not only prevent and reduce burnout, but also to enhance well-being (Cresswell & Eklund, 2007; Goodger, Lavallee, Gorely & Hardwood, 2007; Lemyre, Hall, Roberts, 2008), athlete-specific burnout interventions are scarce in the literature. Aiming to fill this gap, the purpose of the current study was to develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of an individualized feel-based self-regulation intervention on eight university student-athletes experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout. The purpose of this presentation is to share the qualitative results pertaining to intervention outcomes and participants’ overall experiences. The athletes were chosen among a pool of 145 university student-athletes based on their elevated scores on the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (Raedeke & Smith, 2001). The sample comprised four women and four men competing in either basketball, swimming, hockey, or fencing. Throughout the 20-week intervention, the athletes individually met with a trained consultant every two to three weeks to discuss and attempt to optimize perceived demands, resources, imbalances, behavioural and emotional responses, coping and self-management strategies, and performance outcomes. Each session was transcribed and coded using a deductive and inductive analysis process in order to identify and understand the athletes’ experiences of stress, burnout, and well-being, as well as self-regulatory strategies and various intervention outcomes. In sum, results demonstrated that the intervention had a positive impact on the athletes’ levels of stress, burnout, and physical and mental well-being. Specific experiences and self-regulation strategies reported by the participants (e.g., time management, cognitive restructuring, communication) will be presented in light of the positive changes that occurred. Recommendations for future intervention-based research will be discussed.

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