Investigating the influence of youth hockey specialization on psychological needs (dis)satisfaction, mental health, and mental illness

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Title: Investigating the influence of youth hockey specialization on psychological needs (dis)satisfaction, mental health, and mental illness
Authors: McFadden, Taylor
Bean, Corliss
Fortier, Michelle
Post, Courtney
Date: 2016
Abstract: The Developmental Model of Sport Participation describes three pathways that youth can follow: recreational participation, late specialization and early specialization. Many competitive sport programmes are promoting early specialization in hopes that their athletes will gain an advantage over others; however, research indicates that youth who wait until adolescence to specialize in a given sport may achieve physical and psychological benefits. The purpose of this study was to investigate the psychological effects of sport specialization by examining relationships between youth hockey players’ level of specialization, psychological needs satisfaction (PNS), psychological needs dissatisfaction (PND), mental health and mental illness. Sixty-one youth male hockey players (Mage = 14.90) responded to an online survey. Results indicated that PND according to specialization was significant with early specializers reporting the highest PND and recreational athletes reporting the lowest PND (p = .029), indicating a large effect size (η2  = .157). No other significant differences were found. Bivariate correlations revealed significant relationships between all variables. Moreover, regression analyses showed that PNS positively predicted mental health (β = .47) and negatively predicted mental illness (β = −.51), while PND positively predicted mental illness (β = .71) and negatively predicted mental health (β = −.44). Results suggest that PNS is important to promote mental health and avoid mental illness. Future research is needed to fully understand the psychological consequences of early sport specialization.
URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/23311908.2016.1157975
http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34479
DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2016.1157975
CollectionSciences de l’activité physique // Human Kinetics
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