The Implementation and Impact of a Self-Regulation Intervention on the Levels and Experiences of Stress, Burnout, Well-Being, and Self-Regulation Capacity of University Student-Athletes with Moderate to High Levels of Burnout

Title: The Implementation and Impact of a Self-Regulation Intervention on the Levels and Experiences of Stress, Burnout, Well-Being, and Self-Regulation Capacity of University Student-Athletes with Moderate to High Levels of Burnout
Authors: Dubuc-Charbonneau, Nicole
Date: 2016
Abstract: Gaps. University student-athletes face several unique demands that can contribute to greater levels of stress (Gould & Whitley, 2009; Kimball & Freysinger, 2003). If unresolved, stress can compromise well-being and lead to burnout (DeFreese & Smith, 2014). Many studies have shed light on the burnout process of athletes (Goodger, Gorely, Lavallee, & Harwood, 2007; Gustafsson, Kenttä, & Hassmén, 2011). Yet, despite the negative outcomes reported, little has been done to remediate the incidence of burnout in sport. As such, researchers have called for intervention studies to find ways to alleviate and prevent burnout as this type of research is practically non-existent (Eklund & DeFreese, 2015; Goodger, Gorely et al., 2007; Gustafsson et al., 2011; Lonsdale, Hodge, & Rose, 2009) Aim. The overall aim of this research was to investigate the implementation and impact of an individual, feel-based, person-centered self-regulation intervention on the levels and experiences of stress, burnout, well-being, and self-regulation capacity of university student-athletes with moderate to high levels of burnout. Four studies guided by specific objectives were carried out over two phases, that is, the screening phase and the intervention phase. Screening phase. The objective of the study conducted in the screening phase was to examine the levels of burnout among student-athletes at two Canadian universities and investigate whether there were significant differences related to gender, sport, year of university sport participation, academic year, and academic program (Article 1). Results of this study served to identify student-athletes for the intervention phase. Intervention phase. Three studies were conducted in the intervention phase. The objective of the first study was to implement and assess the impact of a self-regulation intervention on the stress, burnout, well-being and self-regulation capacity of university student-athletes experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout (Article 2). The objective of the second study was to investigate the intervention process and experiences of four student-athletes by chronologically presenting their story in order to address how they developed their self-regulation capacity over the course of the season, and the strategies they used to influence their experiences of stress, burnout, and well-being (Article 3). Finally, the objective of the third study in this phase was to investigate the integration and adaptation of the Cognitive-Affective Stress-Based Burnout Model (CASBBM) to facilitate positive changes in student-athletes participating in an individual self-regulation intervention to alleviate burnout symptoms (Article 4). Methods. Screening phase. To address the objective of the study conducted in the screening phase, 147 student-athletes from different sports at two Canadian universities completed the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ, Raedeke & Smith, 2001) and a demographic questionnaire one month prior to the start of their athletic season. Statistical tests were computed based on the complete score set of 145 participants to assess their burnout levels and correlations between the three burnout subscales (i.e., physical and emotional exhaustion, reduced accomplishment, sport devaluation). In addition, a series of one-way between subject ANOVAS, independent t-tests and post-hoc analyses were performed to determine if there were any significant differences in burnout levels across different demographic variables (i.e., gender, sport, year of university sport participation, academic year, and academic program; Article 1). Intervention phase. Next, to address the objectives of the three studies carried out in the intervention phase, eight university student-athletes from the screening phase having scored 3.0 or higher on the physical and emotional exhaustion and reduced accomplishment subscales of the ABQ (Cresswell & Eklund, 2006) took part in an individual, person-centered, feel-based self-regulation intervention guided by the CASBBM (Smith, 1986) and the Resonance Performance Model (Callary & Durand-Bush, 2008). The student-athletes met with the trained researcher every two weeks throughout their athletic season to develop their capacity to manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours on a daily basis and to cope with adversity, including stressful situations that contributed to their stress and burnout symptoms. In addition to participating in these multiple intervention sessions, they partook in a pre- and post-intervention interview. All sessions and interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and subjected to a deductive and inductive analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005), following steps to strengthen trustworthiness. Self-report measures of stress, burnout, well-being, and self-regulation capacity were also completed by the eight student-athletes at four time points to fulfill the objective of the first study in this phase. Descriptive statistics and repeated measures ANOVAs were performed to assess levels and identify any significant changes across the four time points. Results were triangulated with that from the qualitative data analysis (Article 2). With regards to the second study, the researcher used the results of the deductive and inductive qualitative data analysis to select four cases based on their distinct profiles and conveyed their intervention experiences by constructing chronological, first-person narratives (Article 3). For the third study, a broader level of qualitative data analysis was performed to compare and contrast the data with the components of the CASBBM to examine its applicability as an intervention tool (Article 4). Results. As shown in Article 1, few student-athletes (1.4%) had elevated burnout scores on all three burnout subscales. However, several of them (17%) scored high on two of the three subscales of the ABQ, revealing signs of burnout. No significant differences emerged with regards to student-athletes’ year of university sport participation, academic year, and academic program. However, women had higher levels of emotional and physical exhaustion than men. Furthermore, exhaustion scores were significantly higher for swimmers and basketball players than for hockey players and fencers. Finally, fencers had significantly higher levels of sport devaluation than hockey and volleyball players. Article 2 indicates that the intervention had a positive impact on the student-athletes’ stress, burnout, well-being, and self-regulation capacity. At the onset of the intervention, the participants had moderate to high levels of stress and burnout as well as low levels of well-being and self-regulation capacity. As the intervention progressed, the student-athletes reported increased self-regulation capacity and well-being, and reduced stress and burnout. The qualitative data corroborated these changes. Through detailed narratives, Article 3 demonstrates how the student-athletes learned to develop their self-regulation capacity by implementing various processes such as goal-setting, planning, time management, cognitive restructuring, self-control, visualization, and self-reflection. The participants shared concrete examples illustrating how they learned to become more aware and autonomous, and proactively mobilize resources in order to manage the many academic and sport demands they faced throughout the season. Concurrent with their increased capacity to self-regulate, the athletes experienced positive outcomes such as lower perceived stress and burnout, higher well-being, and improved performance. Lastly, Article 4 shows that the extensive data emerging from the multiple intervention sessions and pre- and post-intervention interviews supported, for the most part, the components of the CASBBM (Smith, 1986). However, the model was not sufficient or comprehensive enough to account for the student-athletes’ changes in their burnout process as a result of the intervention. As such, the DCASBBM, an adapted and dynamic version of the CASBBM, was created, reflecting both positive and negative aspects of personal characteristics, situations, cognitive appraisals, multidimensional responses, coping, self-regulation, and outcomes that evolved as a result of participating in a self-regulation intervention. The DCASBBM can serve as an intervention tool to help prevent and remediate symptoms of stress and burnout.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -