When worlds collide: Conflicts between life domains among elite athletes

Gareth Morgan, Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen / Bangor University, Switzerland

Theme: Elite performance

Poster Number: 102

Program ID: POS-2

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

Room: Napoleon


In addition to their sporting lives, athletes have other important life domains which could potentially conflict with and negatively impact on their sport involvement and well-being. The purpose of this study was to develop a measure of life-sport conflicts that could be useful in identifying specific areas of conflict and examining how involvement in other life domains can interfere with the quality of athletes’ sport engagement. A cross-sectional, survey-based design was employed. Based on the literature and existing measures of life domain conflicts, items were generated to reflect conflicts between athletes’ family lives, friendships and leisure activities, and educational commitments on sport involvement. Two hundred and fifty eight elite Swiss athletes (149 male, 109 female; M age = 20.03, SD = 2.11) were recruited from national sport associations and completed the life-sport conflicts items along with measures of optimal training behaviors and subjective well-being. In addition, they completed measures of perfectionism, psychological need satisfaction and motivation, the results of which are not reported here. Confirmatory factor analysis supported a three factor model of conflicts (work-to-sport, free-time-to-sport, and family-to-sport). The subscales showed good internal consistency. There were significant negative correlations between life-sport conflicts and well-being and training behaviours (exhibiting professional behaviors and attitudes, motivation and effort, coping with setbacks, and seeking improvement). The results provide preliminary evidence for the factorial validity of the measure and suggest that life-sport conflicts can indeed impact negatively on the quality of an athlete’s engagement in their sport and on their well-being. The findings have potentially important theoretical and applied implications in indicating that in order to fully understand athletes’ sporting lives, and the influence of sport involvement on well-being, the interplay between different aspects of their lives needs to be taken into consideration.

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