Adversity- and Growth-Related Experiences of Elite Sport Performers
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Research involving elite athletes collectively points to the notion that athletes have the potential to benefit from negative experiences and events. These benefits are broadly recognized as comprising growth, a multi-dimensional construct that is recognized when individuals identify higher levels of functioning in multiple aspects of their lives. This chapter examines the nature of growth in elite sport through a review of the extant growth research that has been conducted amongst elite sport performers. The focus is on two areas: (a) the role that adversity has in the development of growth, specifically related to the nature of the adversity and when it occurs in an elite athlete’s journey to the highest level; and (b) the nature of growth when it is perceived to occur in elite athletes. The concepts in the chapter are underpinned by a theoretical understanding of growth that has been informed by the wider trauma and general psychology literature. In synthesizing the relevant research, this chapter seeks to provide a comprehensive appreciation of the state-of-play in respect of growth following adversity in elite athletes and to provide recommendations for conducting future research.
Howells, K. (in press). Adversity- and growth-related experiences of elite sport performers. In R. Wadey, M. Day, & K. Howells (Eds.). Growth Following Adversity: A Mechanism to Positive Change in Sport. Routledge
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