A Systematic Review of Interventions to Promote Growth Following Adversity
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Background: Athletes experience adversity across many aspects of their lives. Challenging the dominant idea that adversity is just a negative experience, a significant body of research in sport has demonstrated that these adverse events can also act as catalysts for positive change (Howells, Fletcher, & Sarkar, 2017). Yet, a limited number of researchers have focused on how to promote growth following adversity in sport. To support this line of inquiry our aim in this study was to facilitate knowledge transfer from other psychology disciplines by systematically reviewing intervention studies that aim to foster growth following adversity. Methods: We conducted the systematic review using PRISMA guidelines. Following inclusion and exclusion criteria, we appraised the studies using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (Pluye & Hong, 2014). Results: Thirty-six studies were included in the review. We synthesized the studies in relation to participant characteristics (i.e., sample size, age, gender, ethnicity, adversity), study characteristics (i.e., design, content, duration, delivery, outcome measures), intervention outcomes (i.e., statistical significance, effect size, qualitative indicators of growth), antecedents (viz. mediators, moderators), and quality appraisal. Conclusion: In the discussion we critically consider the lessons sport and exercise psychology researchers can learn from published intervention studies from other fields of research (e.g., the use of meaningful metrics, that there are different trajectories of growth, growth is a multidimensional phenomenon). Future researchers should seek to build on findings to advance knowledge and understanding in the most significant and meaningful ways.
Psychology of Sport and Exercise;
Howells, K., Wadey, R., Roy-Davis, K. and Evans, L. (2020) 'A systematic review of interventions to promote growth following adversity', Psychology of Sport and Exercise. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2020.101671
Article published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2020.101671
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
- Sport Research Groups 
Showing items related by title, author, subject and abstract.
Can athletes benefit from difficulty? A systematic review of growth following adversity in competitive sport Howells, Karen; Sarkar, Mustafa; Fletcher, David (Elsevier, 2017-08-01)Research points to the notion that athletes have the potential to benefit from difficulty. This phenomenon—otherwise known as growth following adversity—has attracted increasing attention from sport psychology scholars. ...
Howells, Karen; Fletcher, David (Human Kinetics, 2016-04-01)Previous research suggests that adversarial growth is a real and constructive phenomenon that occurs in athletes who compete at the highest level of sport. In this study, however, we adopt a critical stance on the veridicality ...
Howells, Karen; Wadey, Ross (Routledge, 2020-07-29)Adversity itself is never a good thing and no amount of growth can undo the pain of such experiences; it will not make everything better and put an end to any suffering. Although we do not recommend adversity as a pathway ...