Influence of an athletes social network on burnout in elite female swimmers
University of Wales
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The purpose of this research was to examine athletes’ perspectives on the influence of their social network towards their experience of burnout. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight females, all of whom had withdrawn from elite level swimming and had been identified as cases of burnout. Deductive analyses of the participants’ interviews revealed that athletes reported at least one individual within their social network as a negative influence. Athletes also identified particular behaviours of significant others that contributed to the lack of enjoyment and stress, which inevitably lead to the onset of burnout. Despite identifying the negative behaviours of others, positive influences in the form of social support were also reported. The findings support those of previous research and contemporary conceptualisations of the burnout phenomenon in sport (Smith, 1986; Coakley, 1992; Gould, Tuffey, Udry and Loehr, 1996a; 1996b; Udry, Gould, Bridges and Tuffey, 1997). Implications and recommendations are provided for athletes, coaches, parents and teammates.
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