Athletes are often proactive in exposing themselves to an inherently stressful competitive environment, frequently seeking challenges as opportunities for development (Sarkar and Fletcher, 2014, Journal of Sport Sciences, 32, 1419-1434). Psychological resilience plays a key role in explaining the process of successful challenge negotiation. The aim of this study was to explore the nature of resilience within junior sport, with a specific focus on sport type, gender and age differences, and the association between resilience and sensation seeking characteristics. Following institutional ethical approval, junior athletes (N=347) representing team (n=196, 56.5%) and individual sports (n=151, 43.5%) gave their informed consent to participate. Participants completed a 17-item, 2-factor modified version of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC; Connor and Davidson, 2003, Depression and Anxiety, 18, 76–82), which demonstrated good levels of reliability with an overall alpha coefficient of .80. The factors of the modified CD-RISC are labelled ‘control through adversity’ and ‘growth mindset’. An 8-item, 4-factor Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS; Hoyle at al., 2002, Personality and Individual Differences, 32, 401–414) which measures dispositional risk taking behaviours was also completed. Results showed no significant interaction effect between gender and sport type for any of the variables measured. Significant main effects revealed that male athletes scored significantly higher for both ‘control through adversity’ (P= .002, partial η2= .03) and ‘growth mindset’ (P=.002, partial η2=.03) than females regardless of sport type. A significant main effect of sport type on ‘control through adversity’ (P= .001, partial η2= .03) and ‘growth mindset’ (P=.001, partial η2=.03) showed team athletes scored higher on both resilience factors than individual sport athletes, regardless of gender. No age differences were found. Significant positive correlations between resilience and sensation seeking factors were also identified (r=.16-.24). These results may suggest that male and team athletes are exposed to environments which are more facilitative to the development of the protective factors of ‘control through adversity’ and ‘growth mindset’ associated with psychological resilience. In general, protective factors associated with resilience are positively related to sensation seeking characteristics, specifically, feelings relating to ‘control through adversity’ are more broadly related to tendencies leading to greater risk exposure. In practice, these findings may suggest that those with a greater perception of control take more calculated risks and set more challenging goals, which may offer the opportunity to increase personal mastery through developed interpersonal relations, emotional expression, problem solving skills and coping resources.
Fountain, H., Martindale, R., Moira, L., & Westbury, T. (2016, November). Exploring the nature of resilience in junior athletes. Poster presented at BASES- British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Annual Conference