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Facebook use and its relationship with sport anxiety



Social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) use has increased considerably since its inception; however, research examining the relationship between social media use and sport has not progressed as rapidly. The purpose of the current study was to explore the prevalence rates of Facebook use among athletes around and during sport competitions and to investigate the relationships between sport anxiety and Facebook use. Two hundred and ninety-eight athletes of varying levels completed measures for sport anxiety and Facebook use, which included descriptive information about Facebook use prior to, during and following competitions. Results indicated that 31.9% of athletes had used Facebook during a competition and 68.1% had accessed Facebook within 2 h prior to competition. Time spent on Facebook prior to competition was significantly (and positively) correlated with the concentration disruption component of sport anxiety. Furthermore, regression analyses revealed that having push notifications enabled on an athletes’ phone predicted 4.4% of the variability in sport anxiety. The percentage of athletes who accessed Facebook within 2 h of, or during, a competition is somewhat alarming considering the importance of psychological preparation in sport, which may compromise optimal psychological readiness and may lead to increased sport anxiety.
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Facebook use and its relationship with sport
Kim Encel, Christopher Mesagno & Helen Brown
To cite this article: Kim Encel, Christopher Mesagno & Helen Brown (2017) Facebook use
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Facebook use and its relationship with sport anxiety
Kim Encel
, Christopher Mesagno
and Helen Brown
Faculty of Health, Federation University, Ballarat, Australia;
Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
Social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) use has increased considerably since its inception; however,
research examining the relationship between social media use and sport has not progressed as rapidly.
The purpose of the current study was to explore the prevalence rates of Facebook use among athletes
around and during sport competitions and to investigate the relationships between sport anxiety and
Facebook use. Two hundred and ninety-eight athletes of varying levels completed measures for sport
anxiety and Facebook use, which included descriptive information about Facebook use prior to, during
and following competitions. Results indicated that 31.9% of athletes had used Facebook during a
competition and 68.1% had accessed Facebook within 2 h prior to competition. Time spent on
Facebook prior to competition was significantly (and positively) correlated with the concentration
disruption component of sport anxiety. Furthermore, regression analyses revealed that having push
notifications enabled on an athletesphone predicted 4.4% of the variability in sport anxiety. The
percentage of athletes who accessed Facebook within 2 h of, or during, a competition is somewhat
alarming considering the importance of psychological preparation in sport, which may compromise
optimal psychological readiness and may lead to increased sport anxiety.
Accepted 3 May 2016
Social media; pressure; sport
anxiety; predictors
The 2012 London Olympics was dubbed the social media
Olympics(Kwek, 2012). This unique title may be due to the
growing popularity of social networking sites (SNS) among
athletes interacting with their fans and allowing the public
some insight into their lives during the Olympics. Social media
use in general can have positive social benefits such as keeping
in contact with friends or family (e.g., maintaining relationships
offline; Ellison, Vitak, Gray, & Lampe, 2014); however, many
British coaches and officials believe that SNS may have dis-
tracted some athletes, which may have led to substandard
performances (Miah, 2012). Emily Seebohm, an Australian
swimmer, was expected to win the 100 m backstroke final but
achieved a silver medal. After the race, Seebohm was deva-
stated with the silver medal and attributed her placing to social
media stating, I dont know, I just felt like I didnt really get off
social media and get into my own head(Ottesen, 2012). The
reasons for the negative performances are yet to be deter-
mined, but the use of social media may contribute to an
increase in sport anxiety especially considering the intrinsic
relationship between social anxiety and sport anxiety (a sub-
class of social anxiety) (Leary, 1992). Elevated sport anxiety has
been linked, and contributes, to decrements in sport perfor-
mance (Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990; Masters, 1992).
Facebook is currently one of the most popular SNS
(Cotterill & Symes, 2014; Nadkarni & Hofmann, 2012) with
over 1 billion users worldwide (Facebook, 2015). As
Facebook use has expanded, researchers (e.g., Nadkarni &
Hofmann, 2012; Seidman, 2013) have begun to investigate
the reasons for Facebook use. For example, Nadkarni and
Hofmann reviewed 42 studies on psychological factors of
Facebook use and explained that using Facebook was moti-
vated by a dual-factor model of basic social needs (i.e., the
need for belonging and self-presentation), with the two social
factors acting independently of one another. The need to
belong is a strong desire to form and maintain enduring
interpersonal attachments (Nichols & Webster, 2013), which
can be facilitated through SNS because it enables users to
connect with more people (Seidman, 2013). Self-presentation
is the process by which people attempt to control and moni-
tor how they are perceived and evaluated by others
(Schlenker, 1980). When people believe they have not
achieved a desired self-presentation goal, they experience
social anxiety (Schlenker & Leary, 1982). Self-presentation is
driven by the need to create the best possible impression to
others, which can be manipulated through Facebook by dis-
closure of positive, or omission of negative, facts about oneself
(Nadkarni & Hofmann, 2012). If an individual is a frequent
Facebook user, their offline social interaction may reflect
their online social interaction unless they are trying to com-
pensate for any perceived or actual differences they experi-
ence in daily life (Nadkarni & Hofmann, 2012).
Researchers have also investigated the relationship
between Facebook use and social anxiety. For example,
Anderson, Woodnut, Fagan, and Chamorro-Premuzic (2012)
found that individuals who have high social anxiety use
Facebook more than lower socially anxious individuals
because they seek connections with others. Individuals who
are more socially anxious also post more information on their
Facebook profiles than less socially anxious individuals
(Fernandez, Levinson, & Rodebaugh, 2012). Increased time
CONTACT Christopher Mesagno Faculty of Health, Federation University, P.O. Box 663, Ballarat, Victoria 3353, Australia
VOL. 35, NO. 8, 756761
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
spent on Facebook (Anderson et al., 2012) and increased
Facebook posts (Fernandez et al., 2012) are associated with
higher social anxiety, and Facebook use is also related to need
to belong and self-presentation (Nadkarni & Hofmann, 2012).
From this we could infer that athletes increased Facebook use
could correlate with concepts related to self-presentation (e.g.,
sport anxiety) because they are associated with social anxiety.
The use of social media has also extended into the sport
domain (Pronschinske, Groza, & Walker, 2012), which may
allow researchers to investigate and apply the underlying
motivating principles in mainstream psychology, such as
belongingness and self-presentation (Nadkarni & Hofmann,
2012), to onlinesport anxiety research. Competitive anxiety,
which is a sport-specific class of social anxiety (Leary, 1992), is
defined as an individuals tendency to perceive competitive
situations as threatening and respond with an increase in state
(situational) anxiety (Martens et al., 1990). Leary (1992) stated
that athletes risk conveying a variety of negative images of
themselves during competition to an array of evaluative
others. Sporting events provide a social situation where real
and imagined self-presentation concerns are abundant and
perceptions of threat increase competitive anxiety. Anxiety
that an athlete experiences in sport competitions may result
from fear of negative social evaluation (Martens et al., 1990;
Mesagno, Harvey, & Janelle, 2012; Norton, Burns, Hope, &
Bauer, 2000). This fear of negative social evaluation is under-
standable considering that Leary also suggested that sport
anxiety may be linked to self-presentation concerns, related
to the inability to handle pressure, current athletic form, or
being incompetent (Williams, Hudson, & Lawson, 1999; Wilson
& Eklund, 1998).
Proposed theoretical relationship
It is proposed that sport anxiety and Facebook use can be
related through the idealised virtual-identity hypothesis (IVIH;
Manago, Graham, Greenfield, & Salimkhan, 2008), which is
founded within self-presentation theory (Schlenker & Leary,
1982). Researchers who advocate the IVIH explain that users
of SNS attempt to create and communicate to their public
audience an idealised, rather than actual, self-image when
interacting online and they may use Facebook for self-presen-
tation reasons.
Linking IVIH, social anxiety, and sport, athletes may use
Facebook more often to promote an ideal selfto their online
social network to make positive impressions on others. In their
self-presentation model of social anxiety, Schlenker and Leary
(1982) explained that social anxiety is elevated when people
are motivated to make a desired impression on others but
doubt they will be successful. When athletes are concerned
about what others think of them and reveal doubts about the
creation of those desired impressions, they behave in ways
that might influence othersimpressions especially if they are
a part of an important ego-relevant community like sport.
Increased time spent on Facebook (Anderson et al., 2012)
and increased Facebook posts (Fernandez et al., 2012) are
correlated with higher social anxiety. Based on these general
social anxiety results and considering the intrinsic relationship
between sport anxiety and social anxiety (Leary, 1992),
athletes with higher sport anxiety may attempt to present
idealised selvesto online friends through more frequent
online communications compared to those with lower sport
anxiety, which may be a direct reflection of self-presentation
behaviours. Thus, from this framework, we believe that higher
sport (or social) anxiety may lead to increased frequency of
Facebook use in order to present the ideal self to their social
Purpose and hypotheses
Thus, the aims of the study were to explore the prevalence
and timing of Facebook use prior to, during and after compe-
tition and determine the relationship between sport anxiety
and Facebook use. It was hypothesised that the number of
times Facebook was accessed and the number of minutes
spent on Facebook per day would be positively associated
with total sport anxiety and sport anxiety subscales. Whether
push notifications was enabled was also hypothesised to be
positively associated with total sport anxiety and its subscales
because, based on self-presentation theory, participants that
are more concerned about other impressions will be more
interested about what is being said on Facebook and push
notifications enabled will allow athletes to respond quickly to
others Facebook comments.
Participants included 298 (135 females and 163 males) English-
speaking adults aged 18 and over (M= 28.09, SD = 11.35) from
13 countries, six different ethnicities and 30 different sports.
Participants from local (n=147), regional (n=56), state
(n=32), national (n=49) and international (n=14) sport
levels were recruited with 60.7% competing in team sports for
1 to over 15 years.
A self-report questionnaire was developed to determine the
age, gender, ethnic background and country of residence of
Sport participation
The researchers created a sport characteristics questionnaire
for the purposes of this study. The questionnaire contained
four questions, which included: What is the main sport you
play? What level of sporting competition do you compete in?
How many competitive years of experience do you have in
playing this sport? and What is the main sporting club or
organisation that you are affiliated with?
Facebook use
For the purposes of this study, Facebook use was considered
in terms of both the number of minutes spent on Facebook
and the number of times that Facebook was checked per day.
These Facebook use items were developed through analysis of
salient components of related Facebook use questionnaires
(e.g., McCord, Rodebaugh, & Levinson, 2014; Ross et al.,
2009) and each question was answered based on minutes
and number of times per day Facebook was accessed for
each participant. It contained 28 self-report questions, which
included 19 multiple option questions about participants
general Facebook use behaviours (e.g., How many minutes do
you spend on Facebook per day?). Items assessing the number
of daily Facebook checks, Facebook friends and minutes spent
per day on Facebook by athletes were assessed by selecting a
number range (e.g., 2030) corresponding to the number of
times athletes accessed Facebook on average per day,
Facebook friends that they had and average minutes spent
on Facebook per day. The item assessing whether athletes had
push notifications enabled (i.e., a sound or vibration alert
when activity occurs in an individuals Facebook account)
involved selecting a response (i.e., yes, no or unsure) relating
to their mobile phones settings. The other nine Facebook
questions (developed by us) were devoted to assessing parti-
cipantsFacebook use related to sport (e.g., What was the
amount of time before competition that you accessed
Facebook?). The items relating to the average time before
and after competition Facebook was accessed required a
number range (e.g., 6090 min) to be selected, reflecting the
athletesFacebook activity.
Sport anxiety
The Sport Anxiety Scale-2 (SAS-2; Smith, Smoll, Cumming, &
Grossbard, 2006) assessed participantstrait levels of sport
anxiety whereby participants are asked to describe how they
generally feel before or during a sport competition. The SAS-
scale ranging from 1 (not at all)to4(very much). Five items
are included in each of the following subscales: worry (e.g., I
worry that I will not play well), somatic (e.g., my body feels
tense) and concentration disruption (e.g., it is hard to con-
centrate). Composite scores could range from 15 to 60, with
each subscale score ranging from 5 to 20, with higher values
on total sport anxiety and its subscales corresponding to
higher levels of sport anxiety (Smith et al., 2006). The SAS-2
demonstrates strong factorial and construct validity (Smith
et al., 2006). Cronbachsαreliability coefficients are accep-
table, with all subscales exceeding 0.80 (Smith et al., 2006).
In the present study, the Cronbachsαreliability coefficients
were α=0.92forworry,α= 0.91 for somatic anxiety,
α= 0.91 for concentration disruption and α= 0.95 for SAS-
Individuals known to the researchers who participated in
organised sport at least once a week were invited to partici-
pate. Prior to data collection the study was approved through
the Human Research Ethics committee and participants were
then recruited through various sport organisations, personal
contacts, the universitys undergraduate participant pool and
convenience sampling of friends and acquaintances via adver-
tisement on Facebook (including sport and psychology
Facebook groups).
Three methods of recruitment were employed. Initially,
individuals known to the researchers within sporting organisa-
tions were contacted by phone or email. These individuals
were sent an email outlining the purpose of the study and
appointments were made to approach the athletes with the
sporting organisations consent. These participants then com-
pleted the hard copy battery of written questionnaires, which
were given to participants and completed at the same training
Online recruitment was conducted by inviting Facebook
friends of the research team to participate via a Facebook
advertisement. To increase sample size, public Facebook
groups relating to sport, psychology and sport psychology
were searched for in a Facebook Graph Searchand the
advertisements were posted in these groups. Participants
recruited via online methods (e.g., Facebook) were provided
with a link to the questionnaire to complete once online.
Online data collection was open and completed during a 5-
month period with only athlete data collected.
Additionally, students enrolled in first-year psychology
were registered with the universitys undergraduate partici-
pant pool. Students who selected to participate were sent a
link to the questionnaire and, once completed, received
course credit for their participation.
The prevalence rates of Facebook use among athletes and
between level of competition prior to, during and following
competition were analysed. Descriptive information indicated
that almost one-third of (31.9%; n= 95) athletes had used
Facebook during a competition, with one-half (50.0%; n= 149)
of the total athletes competing in individual, compared to
team, sports. Furthermore, more than two-thirds (68.1%;
n= 203) of athletes used Facebook at least 2 h prior to
competition. The Facebook use after competition mirrored
the Facebook use prior to competition with nearly three-quar-
ters (71.9%; n= 214) of athletes accessing Facebook within 2 h
of the competition finishing.
Linear regression analyses were performed to assess the
association between Facebook use and sport anxiety (see
Table 1). These analyses were conducted for each of the SAS
subscales and the SAS summed total score, and all models
were adjusted for covariates determined a priori (sex, age,
individual/team sport, level of competition). Where more
than one Facebook predictor was associated with a given
outcome, an additional model was tested including all signifi-
cant predictors.
Push notifications being enabled were significantly asso-
ciated with SAS-2 concentration disruption, SAS-2 worry and
SAS-2 sum predicting 4.4% of the variability in sport anxiety
(see Table 1). Additionally, Facebook use before a competition
was significantly associated with SAS-2 concentration disrup-
tion and SAS-2 worry was significantly associated with
Facebook friends (see Table 1).
When both the time before a competition that Facebook
was accessed and whether push notifications were enabled
were entered as simultaneous predictors of SAS concentration
disruption, push notifications being enabled remained
significantly associated but time accessed before completion
was not (see Table 2).
To date, minimal research has investigated the relationship
between Facebook use and sport anxiety. Thus, the purpose of
the current study was to explore the prevalence rates of
Facebook use within sport and determine whether relation-
ships exist between sport anxiety and Facebook use.
Two pertinent descriptive findings were that 68.1% of the
athletes accessed their Facebook account within 2 h of sport
competition commencing and 31% used Facebook during
competitions. This result should be concerning for coaches
and sport psychologists because Facebook could act as a
distraction from optimal psychological preparation and con-
centration on the task during the game.
Facebook use near competitions and sport anxiety
The length of time before a sport competition that Facebook
was accessed was related to concentration disruption
reported, with the closer to the beginning of the competition
an athlete accessed Facebook, the more concentration disrup-
tion they may experience. The current study focused on sport
anxiety from a trait anxiety measurement perspective where
researchers have found that concentration disruption may
cause interfering thoughts within sport performance, which
may be a result of increased state anxiety (McCarthy, Allen, &
Jones, 2013). When concentration disruption occurs prior to,
or during, a competition, the effectiveness of an athletes
mental preparation may decrease (Baker, Cote, & Hawes,
2000). Poor mental preparation may increase the state anxiety
an athlete experiences before competition. Due to using a trait
anxiety measure, conclusions drawn from these results should
be interpreted with caution. Furthermore, due to the explora-
tory nature of this study, caution should be used when inter-
preting the direction of the relationship between sport anxiety
and Facebook use because if higher levels of concentration
disruption are reported before a competition, these athletes
may use Facebook to distract themselves. Ultimately, future
research should be undertaken to draw firm conclusions about
these results.
Facebook use and sport anxiety correlates
We also expected a relationship between Facebook use and
sport anxiety, yet, there was no relationship found between
Facebook use and athlete sport anxiety. The results of the
current study have not supported a relationship between
sport anxiety and Facebook use for the numbers of times
checked, the minutes spent or the number of posts made on
Facebook on a daily basis.
The results of the current study could illustrate that the
relationship between Facebook use and social anxiety may not
be applicable to athletes despite sport anxiety being subclass
of social anxiety (Leary, 1992). Although limited research has
focused on the relationship between Facebook use and social
anxiety, Fernandez et al. (2012) and Anderson et al. (2012)
found that individuals who exhibit high social anxiety post
more content on Facebook and spend more time on Facebook
compared to those with low social anxiety in order to seek
connections with others. This could have occurred due to the
different ways in which Facebook use was measured com-
pared to Anderson et al. and Fernandez et al. The current
study measured athletesFacebook use through self-report
both through minutes spent and the number of posts made
per day, whereas the Anderson et al. and Fernandez et al.
studies gained access to individualsFacebook pages, which
is an objective measure. The current study relied on more
subjective, self-report data that could be affected by social
desirability bias rather than obtaining objective measures by
monitoring participants via their Facebook accounts and could
possibly explain the differences between these sport anxiety
and social anxiety studies.
Regression analyses were conducted to further reinforce
the proposed relationship between sport anxiety and
Facebook use predictors. While the majority of these
Facebook related variables did not predict sport anxiety,
push notifications being enabled on an athletes mobile
phone predicted total sport anxiety, worry and concentration
disruption. Further multiple regression analyses concluded
that push notifications predicted the concentration disruption
that an athlete may experience.
The relationship between having push notifications
enabled on an athletes mobile phone and their sport anxiety
Table 2. Significant results for SAS concentration disruption placed into a
multiple regression model.
SAS concentration disruption β(CI)
Time before competition 0.013 (0.042 to 0.002)
No. of push notifications 0.211* (0.162 to 0.372)
Adjusted for sex, age, individual/team sport, and level of competition.
*Significance P< 0.05.
Table 1. Linear regression analyses examining relationships between Facebook variables and sport anxiety scales.
SAS-2 sum SAS-2 somatic anxiety SAS-2 worry SAS-2 concentration disruption
Facebook variables Β(95% CI)
Time before competition 0.015 (0.033 to 0.004) 0.000 (0.022 to 0.022) 0.021 (0.044 to 0.003) 0.160* (0.091 to 0.038)
Time after competition 0.016 (0.033 to 0.001) 0.005 (0.026 to 0.016) 0.021 (0.043 to 0.002) 0.129 (0.080 to 0.040)
Minutes/day 0.011 (0.016 to 0.038) 0.010 (0.022 to 0.041) 0.009 (0.025 to 0.043) 0.010 (0.101 to 0.096)
Push notifications enabled 0.092* (0.150 to 0.034) 0.067 (0.137 to 0.003) 0.115* (0.188 to 0.041) 0.515* (0.522 to 0.019)
Facebook friends 0.004 (0.005 to 0.001) 0.008 (0.001 to 0.016) 0.101* (0.001 to 0.124) 0.032 (0.007 to 0.001)
Facebook daily checks 0.001 (0.024 to 0.025) 0.001 (0.027 to 0.029) 0.002 (0.029 to 0.033) 0.173 (0.125 to 0.047)
Adjusted for sex, age, individual/team sport, level of competition.
*Significance P< 0.05.
levels has not previously been researched. Although Facebook
use (as defined and measured in this study by the number of
minutes spent on Facebook or the number of times that
Facebook was checked per day) was not associated with
total sport anxiety, worry and concentration disruption,
when push notifications are enabled it predicted total sport
anxiety, worry and concentration disruption. It could be pur-
ported that push notifications are enabled to cater for an
athletes need to belong and self-presentational requirements.
Individuals predisposed to worry may use Facebook as a
means of self-presentation behaviour, and enabling the push
notifications allows them to monitor other Facebook friends
activity and respond immediately to friendsposts in order to
promote a positive impression and decrease anxiety. Because
of the possible increased concern for others impressions, an
athlete with push notifications enabled will be more inclined
to have their concentration disrupted during competitions.
Although it is difficult to determine why push notifications
and concentration disruption are linked, if basing these results
on self-presentation theory (Schlenker & Leary, 1982), perhaps
having push notifications enabled is linked with worry about
other perceptions and possible fears of negative evaluation
may also be somehow connected to an athletes general
limited concentration levels. An alternative explanation
might be that push notifications, fear of missing out (i.e., the
desire to stay connected with other individuals continually;
Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan, & Gladwell, 2013) and concen-
tration disruption are all linked. This correlational and predic-
tive study does not provide strong and direct links to this
explanation, but provides somewhat weak, indirect links to
these possible explanations. Considering this initial investiga-
tion, future research could provide more robust links to these
speculative ideas.
Methodological issues
Due to the current research being of a correlational nature,
claims cannot be made regarding causality links between the
relevant constructs in the current study. The correlational
relationships suggested were all of a weak to moderate
strength (Pallant, 2011). To determine whether causal relation-
ships exist between the variables of Facebook use and sport
anxiety, further analysis and research are needed.
For the purposes of this study, a respondent was consid-
ered an athlete if s/he participated in organised sport at least
once a week. The sample in this study was skewed towards
lower-level athletes; however, if a similar proportion of skill
level was represented, then the results could have potentially
been different. This skill-level representation may have led to a
greater relationship exhibited between Facebook use and
sport anxiety levels. Thus, further research is needed with
more elite and experienced athletes.
The sport anxiety measure used for this study was a trait-
based sport anxiety scale. Thus, when athletes completed the
questionnaire, they reported their sport anxiety on a general
trait-based level. Using this as a measure gives appropriate
results for the purposes of this study; however, in relation to
Facebook use and its impact on sport anxiety, a state-based
measure may be more appropriate to determine the
relationship between Facebook use and state-based sport
anxiety. By not measuring state sport anxiety, direct links
cannot be made between Facebook use before a particular
sport competition and the degree of sport anxiety felt by the
athlete during that competition. Future research should show
the links between state anxiety and Facebook use.
Future research and conclusion
The current study was the first known study to investigate the
relationship between Facebook use and sport anxiety. Further
research should focus on examining whether causal relation-
ships exist between Facebook use and sport anxiety in a more
heterogeneous sample of level of competition (e.g., club
through elite levels). Facebook use could be assessed both
before and after a sport competition to determine the effect
that Facebook use has on an athletes state sport anxiety
around sport competition times especially considering concen-
tration disruption was linked to Facebook use. Alternatively,
research could be conducted to determine whether having no
access to Facebook before, during or after a competition could
increase an athletes sport anxiety levels.
Two concerning descriptive findings were that 68.1% of
athletes access their Facebook account within 2 h of sport
competition commencing and that 31% used Facebook during
competitions. This percentage is alarming because mental
preparation for sport may be compromised by using social
media during or too close to competition, as was evident from
Emily Seebohms quote, I just felt like I didnt really get off
social media and get into my own head(Ottesen, 2012).
Finally, even though sport anxiety as defined in this study
did not correlate with Facebook use, push notifications being
enabled correlated with sport anxiety. This initial investigation
sets up future investigations on social media use in sport to
develop an understanding of how social media may influence
state anxiety and sport performance.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
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... More recently, the use of the Internet amongst professional athletes has become a topic of growing interest, as it is widely used, with both positive and negative consequences (Encel et al., 2017). Athletes generally use the Internet to communicate with relatives, friends and fans, but also to entertain and for shopping or business purposes (Pronschinske et al., 2012). ...
Objective: Next to its well-known benefits, Internet may trigger harmful consequences due to its abuse, thus delineating clinical pictures that are similar to abuse disorders, such as Problematic Internet Use (PIU). The matter becomes more elusive for sportsmen, as data regarding PIU in this specific group are scarce, particularly for tennis players. Therefore, our aim was to assess the prevalence and the features of PIU in a sample of either in current activity or retired professional tennis players, as compared with healthy controls. Method: Twenty-five professional tennis players were evaluated during two events held in two different European countries and were matched to an equal number of healthy subjects who were not performing any agonistic sport. The characteristics of Internet use were assessed by a specific instrument we developed (QUNT). Statistical analyses were carried out to evaluate both demographic and QUNT features and the possible intergroup differences. Results: Retired athletes presented statistically significant lower scores compared to both athletes in current activity and control subjects in the “Time spent online” and in the “Addiction to pornography” domains. Athletes in current activity presented statistically significant higher scores compared to retired athletes in the “Ludopathy” and Total score domains. Male athletes had a statistically significant lower score in the “Addiction to pornography” domain compared to both female and male healthy controls. Conclusions: Tennis players frequently indulge in the use of Internet facilities, particularly those in current activity, thus potentially being more vulnerable to PIU. Men and women seem to use Internet for different activities. The lifestyle that professional tennis players are obliged to follow might provide an explanation of our findings.
... Although empirical studies regarding social media tend to focus specifically on the platform itself (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Tinder), without explicitly referring to where or how the social media was accessed (i.e., via smartphone), results show that young people are increasingly using smartphones for social media purposes [30]. Notably, a recent study [40] showed that Facebook use was significantly correlated with concentration disruption in athletes. Thus, the literature also points to the importance of understanding the particular impact of social media usage via smartphones. ...
In the original version of the book, the following updates have been made: In Chapter 84, citations of Figures 2, 3 and 4 have been correctly placed under the section heading 3. The book and the chapter have been updated with the changes.
Based on the understanding that social media can distract athletes and impact performance during major sport events, this research sought to understand how sport organizations help athletes address social media distractions. Underpinned by social cognitive theory, the research adopted a phenomenological qualitative research design to two studies. Study One analyzed sport organizations’ social media policies while Study Two used interviews with 15 current Olympians to uncover the effectiveness of their approaches. Three themes emerged including best practices education, insufficient social media policies and frameworks, and personalized support. The research identified proactive and reactive measures used to manage social media distractions. The findings contribute to social cognitive theory by revealing athletes’ openness to learning new ways to manage social media use during events and draw from the experiences of peers. The findings can inform event management practice through real-time support of athletes on event grounds as well as through active promotion of healthy social media use in and around an event.
While the topic of athlete welfare has gained significant attention in academic literature, to date there has been a primacy placed on physical settings and their ability to augment or thwart the welfare of athletes. The discourse has, therefore, neglected the advent of social media spaces and their potential to have a significant impact on athlete welfare. Social media platforms are now a vital component in the lives of athletes who are increasingly reliant on maintaining an online presence and following. In this commentary, we consider the scope of social media and its potential impact on the welfare of athletes, particularly female athletes. In doing so, we identify and discuss some of the positive health and well-being outcomes associated with increased online communication and self-representation in social media spaces. We examine the scholarship concerning the threats posed by social media spaces, consider power in virtual environments and its impact on welfare, and finally suggest some future directions for scholarship in this field.
Self-regulation is essential for optimal development, performance, and well-being in sport, and smartphones may support and hinder this self-regulation. The relationship between smartphones and self-regulation has seldom been investigated in sport. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine self-regulatory processes, conditions, and outcomes related to athletes’ smartphone usage. Twenty-four competitive and high-performance athletes from eight sports participated in individual interviews informed by the models of self-regulated learning and self-regulatory strength. Themes created from a directed content analysis aligned with components of both models and were integrated with new themes to form the “Self-regulation and Smartphone Usage Model” (SSUM). The SSUM illustrates a cyclical model of self-regulation and smartphone usage across five components: self-regulation capacity, processes, conditions, outcomes, and competencies. While self-regulation demands can be increased because of smartphones and lead to depletion, smartphones can be powerful vehicles to strengthen self-regulation competencies.
The current mental health crisis is affecting athletes in significant and concerning ways. Several contemporary or newly-appreciated factors may be interacting to contribute to this crisis and to its impact in sport. Those factors include: emerging adulthood as a particularly challenging phase of life; discrimination and racism; increasing professionalization of sports at younger ages; lack of mental health literacy and resources; the impact of technology and the 24/7 world; and the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, at the same time, mental health stigma is showing signs of lessening. To further decrease stigma and enhance help-seeking, all stakeholders should appreciate mental health as inseparable from other aspects of physical health in athletes. Simultaneous with working to decrease risk factors in sport, we should work to optimize protective factors. Specifically, we should work toward a culture of mental health literacy, cultural competency, and positive supports in the sporting environment.
While sport psychologists have recently been encouraged to embrace digital technology and social media use in their practice, little is currently known about the associated benefits and challenges of adopting these recommendations. Published studies in other professions have suggested that engaging in social media use can be a double-edged sword, offering great communication benefits, but at the same time having the potential to impact upon work-life balance and general wellbeing. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore practitioner social media use and perceptions, and to explore participant use of the Twitter social media platform. Participants were initially 44 sport psychology practitioners who complete an online questionnaire, of which 28 also consented to their Twitter posts from the previous 30-days being analyzed using a reflexive thematic analysis approach. Analysis produced two main categories: tweets and retweets. The tweets were composed of seven first order themes (media comments, advice and opinion, thoughts on events, self-promotion, knowledge dissemination, recommendations and activity), with the retweets composed of eight first order themes (media programming, events, sports fixtures, promotion, sport-specific content, news stories, opinions, and dissemination). Of particular importance was the perceived link between social media use and mental health, and lack of training and development.
Anxiety is an almost ubiquitous experience in high-performance sport. Managing competitive performance anxiety has been a focus of sport psychology for many decades, but more recently, attention has turned to the experience of clinical forms of anxiety in elite athletes. Research demonstrates that athletes report experiencing anxiety symptoms and disorders at rates similar to those observed in the general population, with a range of both sport-related factors and general risk factors associated with anxiety in this population. Anxiety symptoms and disorders can compromise the affected athlete’s mental well-being and psychosocial functioning, and potentially their performance. Assessment and treatment of anxiety and related conditions (such as obsessive-compulsive disorder) need to consider the individual athlete’s physiology and wider psychosocial contexts. This chapter examines the current knowledge on anxiety disorders in athletes, including how specific types of anxiety (such as generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder) may manifest in elite athletes, and how treatment options may be impacted by sport-related considerations.KeywordsAnxietyAthletesSportGeneralized anxietyPanic disorderObsessive compulsive disorder
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This study compares and validates measures of the "fear of missing out" (FoMO). We administered two measures of the fear of missing out (FoMO Abel & FoMOPrzy), the Positive and Negative Affect Scales (PANAS), the Need to Belong Scale (NBS), the Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (RSQ), the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II), and the Entertainment-Social subscale of the Celebrity Attitude Scale (CAS ES) to 286 university students to determine how well scores on each scale would correlate with scores on the two measures of FoMO. We found that scores on all but the CAS ES correlated significantly with scores on both FoMO scales. Results support construct validity for both FoMO scales, although one measure appears to provide a more specific assessment of the fear of missing out.
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The past 15 years has seen a significant acceleration in the availability of technological solutions for both business and social interactions. The use of social media as a way to communicate has had a significant impact upon education and the way that individuals share information, particularly in the under 25s age group. These developments are presenting new challenges and new opportunities to sport psychology consultants across the world. The aim of this article is to explore the benefits and pitfalls associated with a range of social media, hardware and software, and to consider how the technological solutions might be integrated into applied practice.
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This study explores the relationship between perceived bridging social capital and specific Facebook-enabled communication behaviors using survey data from a sample of U.S. adults (N=614). We explore the role of a specific set of Facebook behaviors that support relationship maintenance and assess the extent to which demographic variables, time on site, total and “actual” Facebook Friends, and this new measure (Facebook Relationship Maintenance Behaviors) predict bridging social capital. Drawing upon scholarship on social capital and relationship maintenance, we discuss the role of social grooming and attention-signaling activities in shaping perceived access to resources in one's network as measured by bridging social capital.
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The present study examined the relationship between the Big Five and the use of Facebook to fulfill belonging and self-presentational needs. One hundred and eighty four undergraduates completed a survey assessing personality and Facebook behaviors and motivations. High agreeableness and neuroticism were the best predictors of belongingness-related behaviors and motivations. Extraversion was associated with more frequent use of Facebook to communicate with others. Self-presentational behaviors and motivations were best predicted by low conscientiousness and high neuroticism. Results suggest that conscientious individuals are cautious in their online self-presentation. Neuroticism, agreeableness, and extraversion were positively associated with the tendency to express one’s actual self. Neuroticism was positively associated with the expression of ideal and hidden self-aspects. The motivation to express these self-aspects mediated the relationship between neuroticism and self-disclosure.
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The need to belong is one of the most fundamental and well-researched human motives. Although a valid 10-item need to belong scale (NTB) is now readily available, many research settings may not afford researchers the luxury of including it, despite its potential relevance to a variety of research questions. The current research constructed and validated a single-item measure that could overcome this limitation. Three studies examined the psychometric properties of a single-item need to belong scale (SIN-B). We examined the concurrent validity of the SIN-B with the NTB in a student sample (Studies 1 & 2), the test¬–retest reliability of the SIN-B across four months (Study 2), and the construct validity of the SIN-B in a diverse international sample (Study 3). Across all studies, the SIN-B showed good reliability and validity, supporting its use and utility in future research.
The purpose of this investigation was to examine Leary’s (1992) contention that competitive anxiety revolves around the self-presentational implications of sport competition. Intercollegiate athletes (N = 199) completed inventories assessing competitive trait anxiety and self-presentational concerns. Principal-axis factor analysis with direct oblim rotation of self-presentational concern items produced an interpretable four-factor solution accounting for 62% of the variance. These factors were interpreted to represent self-presentational concerns about Performance/Composure Inadequacies, Appearing Fatigued/Lacking Energy, Physical Appearance, and Appearing Athletically Untalented. Correlational and structural equation modeling analyses revealed that self-presentational concern was more strongly associated with cognitive rather than somatic anxiety, and that substantial portions of variance in competitive anxiety could be accounted for by self-presentational concern variables. The results of this investigation provide support for Leary’s (1992) assertion regarding the relationship between self-presentational concern and competitive anxiety.
Research on Facebook has suggested that individuals’ profiles are an accurate portrayal of the self and that it may be possible to identify traits such as narcissism and extraversion by viewing a Facebook profile. It has been suggested, however, that largely internal experiences, such as anxiety, should be less detectable in such contexts. In the current study, the authors tested if objective criteria (e.g., number of interests) on users’ profiles (N = 62) could discriminate between individuals who were higher and lower in social anxiety. The authors asked six coders to view each participant’s Facebook profile and rate the participant’s level of social anxiety and then tested whether these ratings correlated with the participant’s own self-reported social anxiety level. Our results suggest that social anxiety is recognizable both in objective criteria on the Facebook profile page and from raters’ impressions of the Facebook profile. Clinical and research implications are discussed.