Scientific Programme

Psychology, Social Sciences & Humanities

OP-SH02 - Psychology

Date: 03.07.2024, Time: 13:15 - 14:30, Lecture room: Carron 1


Chair TBA



ECSS Paris 2023: OP-SH02

Speaker A Ådne Ausland

Speaker A

Ådne Ausland
University of Agder, Faculty of Sport Science
"A qualitative study of retired female athletes lived experiences pertaining to coaching practices and their recommendations for female-specific coach education programs"

Introduction: Sports coaching is a pivotal factor in the development and success of athletes, yet a noticeable knowledge gap in coach education programs specifically tailored for coaching of female athletes still exists. This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of retired elite female athletes to inform the development of female-specific coach education programs. By delving into the perspectives of these elite athletes, the purpose of the present study was to identify areas for improvement in coaching practices and content for future coach education programs. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with retired elite female athletes (n=8) representing diverse sporting backgrounds, including both team and individual sports. All participants had represented Norway at the elite level in their sports, respectively, including the Olympic Games and World Championships. These interviews explored athletes lived experiences, preferences, and recommendations pertaining to coaching practices and the needs of female-specific coach education programs. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse the collected data. Results: The interviews revealed several recurring themes concerning coaching of female athletes. Notably, athletes emphasized the importance of coaches understanding of the biological, psychological, and social (biopsychosocial) needs of female athletes. Specifically, biological aspects of injuries and the menstrual cycle was underpinned by their own experiences as well as experiences of peer athletes that did not make it to the elite level. Effective communication also emerged as a key aspect of coaching, with athletes highlighting the significance of coaches who actively listened and responded to their needs. Furthermore, there was a consensus among the athletes regarding the necessity for coach education programs to be tailored specifically to the requirements of coaching female athletes. The interviews also provided more nuanced insights into the attributes of exemplary coaches as well as areas where coaching practices could be further improved. Discussion: The findings underscore the critical need for coach education programs that are addressing the distinct coaching needs of female athletes. By incorporating insights from retired elite athletes, such as the importance of understanding females’ biopsychosocial needs, future coach education programs can better prepare coaches to support and empower this overlooked group of athletes. Addressing these key areas for improvement will not only benefit individual coaches, but also contribute to the overall athletic participation, development, and performances of female athletes in sports. Conclusion:These lived experiences of retired female athletes provide valuable insights for establishing the needs of coaches who are coaching female athletes, thereby providing important steps toward developing a biopsychosocial coach education program for improved coaching of female athletes.

Read CV Ådne Ausland

ECSS Paris 2023: OP-SH02

Speaker B Marley Willegers

Speaker B

Marley Willegers
Bangor University, School of Human and Behavioural Sciences
United Kingdom
"Shelter me from the storm: An attachment perspective on individuals’ relationship with their sporting activities."

Objective: We aimed to develop and validate new attachment scales to explore the degree to which individuals use their attachment to sporting activities to compensate for insecure attachments in close interpersonal relationships – the Compensatory Hypothesis. Design: At present, there is no scale that captures the support that human-nonhuman attachments provide according to Bowlbys notion of an attachment and exploratory behavioural system. In Study 1 we developed such a scale to test the Compensatory Hypothesis in Study 2. Methods: We sampled 286 participants through online surveys (Facebook, Instagram). In Study 1, we used Bayesian Structural Equation Modelling in Mplus to analyse the model fit of the four-factor Relationship Attachment Support Scale (RASS; safe haven, secure base, proximity maintenance, and separation distress) and the six-factor Relationship Exploratory Support Scale (RESS; security in exploration, emotion regulation, personal reflection, development, self-expression, and self-esteem). In Study 2, we used PROCESS to explore the degree to which individuals use their attachment to sporting activities to compensate for insecure attachments in interpersonal relationships – the Compensatory Hypothesis. Results: We found excellent model fit (ppp >.05, factor-loading >.4) and psychometric properties for the RASS and RESS across both activity and interpersonal relationships. In Study 2, we used these scales to test the Compensatory Hypothesis. Moderation analysis revealed that the emotion regulation transfer benefits of individuals activity attachments significantly (p <.05, R2 = .03 - .1) reduced the negative relationship between insecure interpersonal attachment and wellbeing. Conclusion: These results provide valuable insight into the emotion regulation role of activity attachments for individuals who suffer from insecure interpersonal attachments and the broader application of the RASS and RESS.

Read CV Marley Willegers

ECSS Paris 2023: OP-SH02

Speaker C Magdalena Michalczyk

Speaker C

Magdalena Michalczyk
University of Derby, College of Science and Engineering
United Kingdom
"A Multi-Staged Investigation of Fears of Compassion In Competitive Sports"

Background: To date, research has demonstrated the wide benefits of compassionate minds in sports, such as adaptive psychophysiological responses to stress, greater mental well-being, and superior coping under challenging performance scenarios. However, barriers still exist when incorporating compassion in competitive sports (e.g. fear of losing personal standards), which requires further research attention. As such, we aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of fears of compassion in athletes and its manifestations in sports by adopting a multi-staged investigation consisting of focus groups and 1-1 interviews. Method: We recruited 18 competitive athletes (Mean age = 23.3, SD = 2,8; 44.4 % of male) and assigned them randomly to one of the three initial focus groups (i.e., the exploratory stage). We then conducted 1-1 semi-structured interviews (i.e., the confirmatory stage) with each participant. Reflexive thematic analysis (RTA) was performed to understand the fears of compassion in sports. Results: We identified 3 main themes with 2 subthemes for each main theme. Theme 1 unveiled the context-specific nature of fears of self-compassion in competitive sports, with two emerging subthemes namely compassion during sports performance and compassion as an ‘aftermath’. Theme 2 reflected the social dynamics of fears of compassion, with two emerging subthemes namely fear of giving compassion and fear of receiving compassion. Theme 3 uncovered the impact of sports cultures on fears of compassion, with two emerging subthemes namely team sport culture and individual sport culture. Discussion: Fears of self-compassion in competitive sports appeared to be context-specific. Athletes tended not to use compassion during performance but would likely adopt it afterwards as there is ‘no time’ to think about adopting a self-compassionate mind during performance. Fears of giving compassion to other athletes appeared to be dependent on the extent to which they know the person(s) and their skill level. More specifically, athletes said they are keen to offer compassion to athletes they know well, however are fearful of giving compassion to athletes with a ‘higher rank’ than them. Similarly, the extent to which one feared receiving compassion from others appeared to depend on the ‘source’ or ‘origin’ of compassion. That is, athletes reported a greater level of acceptance and lower level of fear when they received compassion from coaches compared to their teammates. Lastly, fears of compassion were perceived differently in individual vs team sports due to the varied challenges and cultures that offer unique fears. Conclusion: Fears of compassion in competitive sports are context-specific and rooted in the social dynamic in sports and performance settings. Perhaps a state fears of compassion in sports scale is needed for a more comprehensive assessment of such fears to inform assessment, monitoring, and evaluation processes when implementing compassion in sports.

Read CV Magdalena Michalczyk

ECSS Paris 2023: OP-SH02