Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Loughborough University Institutional Repository

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/21963

Title: The dark side of top level sport: an autobiographic study of depressive experiences in elite sport performers
Authors: Newman, Hannah J.H.
Howells, Karen L.
Fletcher, David
Keywords: Athletes
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Frontiers Media / © The Authors
Citation: NEWMAN, H.J.H., HOWELLS, K.L. and FLETCHER, D., 2016. The dark side of top level sport: an autobiographic study of depressive experiences in elite sport performers. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 868.
Abstract: The general and sport psychology research converge to point to a complex relationship between depressive experiences and human performance. The purpose of this study was to explore the depressive experiences of top level athletes and the relationship of such experiences with sport performance. Twelve autobiographies of elite athletes representing eight sports were analyzed. The autobiographical analysis was informed by narrative tradition, using three types of narrative analysis: categorical content, categorical form, and holistic content. The analysis revealed a temporal aspect to the depressive experiences that the athletes reported. Initially, sport represented a form of escape from the depressive symptoms which had been exacerbated by both external stressors (e.g., experiencing bereavement) and internal stressors (e.g., low self esteem). However, in time, the athletes typically reached a stage when the demands of their sport shifted from being facilitative to being debilitative in nature with an intensification of their depressive symptoms. This was accompanied by deliberations about continuing their engagement in sport and an acceptance that they could no longer escape from their symptoms, with or without sport. The findings extend the extant literature by suggesting a reciprocal relationship between depressive experiences and sport performance, and they support the general psychology literature relating to the negative impact of depression on performance. The applied implications of these findings are discussed emphasizing the importance of early identification of depressive symptoms and the adoption of a proactive approach in the prevention and management of symptoms.
Description: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Version: Published
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00868
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/21963
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00868
ISSN: 1664-1078
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

Files associated with this item:

File Description SizeFormat
Newman,_Howells,_&_Fletcher_(2016).pdfPublished version200.2 kBAdobe PDFView/Open


SFX Query

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.