2016, Volume 8, Issue 3
Analysis of the athlete burnout phenomenon: The past, the present and the future of athlete burnout research
Alena Akhrem1, Zuzanna Gazdowska1
1University of Social Sciences and Humanities
Author for correspondence: Zuzanna Gazdowska; University of Social Sciences and Humanities; email: zgazdowska[at]swps.edu.pl
The paper describes traditional and alternative conceptualizations of athlete burnout, measurement instruments, the most recent studies investigating athlete burnout and potential prevention and intervention strategies.
Athlete burnout, being an extremely aversive experiential state, is a serious problem for athletes and their coaches. It needs special treatment and discussion because of the severe consequences it leads to. Burned-out athletes are likely to withdraw from sport despite time, efforts and money they invested into it. However, the decision to leave sport usually does not relieve symptoms of burnout, but may also worsen athletes’ moral state. Therefore, it is not surprising that this topic has become a subject of scientists’ interest.
Athlete burnout has been a matter of scientific dispute since mid-1970s. A number of theoretical conceptualizations explaining burnout in athletes have been introduced, three various tools for its measurement have been suggested, a number of empirical studies have been conducted and are in the process of being conducting at this very moment, but still there are plenty of issues in the area of athlete burnout awaiting explanations.
The research on burnout constantly continues. The development of positive psychology and increased attention to positive organizational behavior of workers contribute to burnout being viewed as lack of engagement, and this perspective of burnout is likely to lead to the understanding of burnout as a negative pole on the continuum of employee well-being. Thus, future research would need to establish which factors are responsible for job engagement and employee well-being in order to explore possible burnout intervention and prevention strategies.
Key words: burnout, sport, athlete burnout, sport psychology