The organisational stressors encountered by athletes with a disability

Rachel Arnold, Christopher R. D. Wagstaff, Lauren Steadman, Yasmin Pratt

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Abstract

Organizational stressors have been found to be prevalent and problematic for sport performers, with research identifying demographic differences in the stressors encountered. Nevertheless, extant sport psychology research on the topic of stress has generally focused on able-bodied athletes; whilst that which has been conducted on performers with a disability has typically recruited relatively small samples to explore a narrow selection of organizational stressors, or examined other components of the stress process. The purpose of the present study was to explore the various organizational stressors that athletes with a disability encounter. The sample comprised 18 elite athletes with a disability (ten male, eight female) who had a classified disability and experience of competing at a major championships in their sport (e.g., Paralympic Games, World Championships). Participants took part in a semi-structured interview which was analyzed by drawing from grounded theory procedures. A total of 316 organizational stressors were identified, which were abstracted into 31 concepts and four, previously conceptualised, exploratory schemes: leadership and personnel issues, cultural and team issues, logistical and environmental issues, and performance and personal issues. This study not only provides the first illustration of the prevalence of organizational stressors for athletes with a disability, but also significantly points to salient similarities and distinct differences between the stress experiences of performers with and without a disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1187-1196
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume35
Issue number12
Early online date29 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • demand
  • disability
  • elite
  • organisational stressors
  • Paralympic
  • performance

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