5. anxiety and burnout. Direct paths from trait

5. Gomes, A. R., Faria, S., & Vilela, C. (2017). Anxiety and burnout in young athletes: The 

mediating role of cognitive appraisal. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in 

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Sports. doi:10.1111/sms.12841


Purpose: To test the relationship between trait anxiety, cognitive appraisal, and symptoms of athlete burnout to determine if cognitive appraisal can mediate the proposed effect that trait anxiety has on burnout. 


Participants: 673 youth athletes (588 male, 85 female) ages 12-19 playing a variety of sports at either official level, second national division, or first national division. 

                  Measures and Procedure: Cognitive and somatic trait anxiety (somatic anxiety, worry, concentration disruption) was measured using the Sport Anxiety Scale. Cognitive appraisal (sport performance, threat perception, challenge perception) was measured using the cognitive appraisal scale and burnout was measured using the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire. All were measured on one questionnaire. 


Key Results: 

High trait anxiety and threat perception associated with lower challenge perception had a negative correlation with symptoms of burnout. 

Cognitive appraisal mediates the relationship between trait anxiety and burnout. 

Direct paths from trait anxiety to cognitive appraisal were significant, as were direct paths from trait anxiety to burnout 
Cognitive appraisal as a mediator disrupted the direct path between trait anxiety and burnout. 


Main Conclusions: This study shows the direct link between all three variables, and proves that cognitive appraisal can mediate the positive correlation between trait anxiety and burnout. The study reinforces the theory that chronic stress and negative emotions are the direct cause of burnout and that these negative emotions can be mediated by other factors. 


Comments: The study helps explain what internal factors can mediate variables leading to athlete burnout, which is valuable in that the previous studies only examine the mediating effect of external factors (relationships, injuries). Athletes that value their sport and believe they perform well are less likely to experience burnout, even if they are experiencing stress. This shows that the athletes perceptions of their sport are more valuable than the cognitive stresses they experience. However, the study cannot be generalized to both male and female athlete’s due to the unbalance in participants gender.