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Abstract

Interpersonal violence in sport occurs in different forms, from emotional abuse, overtraining, bullying, physical aggression and pressuring to punishment and sexual abuse. Due to the use of different definitions, a comparison of prevalence estimates between studies in different countries has not been possible to date. The aim of the current study was thus to present the prevalence estimates of interpersonal violence in elite sport for the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), and Germany and to examine the overlap of three types of interpersonal violence. Data from two different surveys (one in the Netherlands and Flanders and another in Germany) of a total of 1,665 elite athletes (n = 533 from the Netherlands and Flanders, n = 1,132 from Germany) were used. Athletes were asked to answer questions about their experiences of psychological, physical, and sexual violence in the context of organized sport. In general, lifetime prevalence estimates for all three types of interpersonal violence are more than 24% in elite athletes, with the highest numbers for psychological violence. Compared to representative population samples the prevalence rate of psychological violence seems to be particularly high. Gender differences were only evident for sexual violence, with female athletes showing higher prevalence estimates than male athletes. Furthermore, a high overlap of experiences of the three different forms of interpersonal violence was found for all three countries. The differences in prevalence estimates between the three countries are discussed.

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... High-profile cases of sexual abuse in sports, for instance in US gymnastics, have recently attracted considerable public attention. Although the mediatization also sparked research activities across several countries, reliable data on the prevalence of sexual abuse in sports (especially among elite athletes) are still scarce [1]. Moreover, research has so far mainly focused on sexual abuse (for a review, see [2]) and partly neglected other forms of interpersonal violence, such as physical and emotional abuse, that may also entail serious sequelae for athlete health [1]. ...
... Although the mediatization also sparked research activities across several countries, reliable data on the prevalence of sexual abuse in sports (especially among elite athletes) are still scarce [1]. Moreover, research has so far mainly focused on sexual abuse (for a review, see [2]) and partly neglected other forms of interpersonal violence, such as physical and emotional abuse, that may also entail serious sequelae for athlete health [1]. ...
... Early investigations into the prevalence of interpersonal violence in sports mainly focused on sexual abuse of female athletes by male coaches [1]. Due to differences in methodology (e.g., age groups; incidence or life-time prevalence; definitions of sexual violence; response rates), estimates of sexual violence and abuse varied widely between 2 and 50% [ 5]. ...
Article
The mediatization of several high-profile cases of sexual abuse in sports has sensitized a larger public for the problem of interpersonal violence against athletes. This article provides an overview of what is already known on the prevalence of different forms of interpersonal violence in sports, associated personal, organizational and cultural risk factors, and the psychopathological consequences of interpersonal violence. Throughout the article, areas where more research is needed are highlighted. It is concluded that evidence-based psychiatric and psychotherapeutic prevention, intervention and care programs that are tailored to the specific needs of athletes are needed to safeguard mental health in sports.
... Depending on the form, intensity, and measures of sexual violence, the prevalence rates vary and might not be comparable. A comprehensive study revealed that more than one-third of 1665 elite athletes (31%) from Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium (Flanders) had experienced some form of sexual violence in organizational sport (Ohlert et al. 2020). A recent European project reported similar findings. ...
... Finally, it is worth studying whether an empowering climate also counteracts other forms of interpersonal violence, namely psychological and physical violence. As there is empirical evidence for the fact that the three forms of interpersonal violence overlap significantly (e.g., Ohlert et al. 2020;Vertommen et al. 2016), it can be assumed that an empowering climate would also work as a protective factor against other forms of interpersonal violence. ...
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Background: From qualitative studies with survivors of sexual violence, it is known that two important risk factors for sexual violence are unequal power relations and strong hierarchies; the concept of an empowering climate works against these risk factors and might thus serve as a factor in preventing experiences of sexual violence among athletes. The aim of the current study was to examine the relationship between an empowering climate within a sport group and experiences of sexual violence. Methods: In total, 644 athletes took part in an online survey measuring their perceptions of the empowering climate within their training group and their observations and experiences of sexual violence within the same group. MANOVAs were used to examine differences in perception of the empowering climate between those athletes who had observed or experienced sexual violence and those who had not. Results: The results reveal that athletes who had experienced or observed sexual violence rated the empowering climate subfactors within their training group as lower and the disempowering climate subfactors as higher. Conclusions: This study supports findings from prior qualitative studies and hints that a climate high in empowerment and low in disempowerment might be a protective factor against sexual violence in sport groups.
... Among young nonathletes, the prevalence of peer SH is reported to be between 40% and 85% (4). The large ranges in prevalence rates may be accounted for by methodological differences like, for instance, instrumentations, definitions, sample size, and characteristics, as well as research designs (10,12,13,25). To our knowledge, only one study among athletes is published where researchers examined 12-month prevalence of SH and reported a prevalence rate of 0.4% (8). ...
... Gender differences. Without considering which setting the harassment took place, our finding that a higher percentage of girls reported SHA compared with boys supports hypothesis 1 and is comparable to other studies in young athletes (7,25) and young nonathletes (31,33,34). Despite the historical point of view that girls report more SHA than boys, researchers have recently questioned if this gender difference mirrors the true situation, or whether it may be due to underreport and taboo of disclosure among boys (10), or different FIGURE 4-A-C, Gender of perpetrators of SHA in the school setting (A), sport setting (B), and free time setting (C) at T1. ...
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Purpose: To examine the 12-months prevalence and 12-months prospective change in reported sexual harassment and abuse (SHA)-victimization among young elite athletes, recreational athletes, and reference students in three different social settings and identify the perpetrators. Methods: In total, 919 adolescents responded to an online questionnaire in 12th grade (T1) and 13th grade (T2). The sample consisted of elite athletes (n = 482) and recreational athletes (n = 233) attending Norwegian elite sport high schools (n = 26), and reference students (n = 200) attending ordinary high schools with no sport specialization (n = 6). Data were analyzed using Independent sample t-test, Pearson Chi-Square for independence/Fisher's Exact test, McNemar test and logistic regression analysis. Results: The total 12-months prevalence of SHA was 38.6% at T1 and 35.1% at T2. Most of the participants (74.6-85.0%) reported no change in SHA from T1 to T2. The prevalence of SHA was higher for girls compared to boys, and elite athletes reported less SHA than recreational athletes and reference students, respectively. SHA occurred most often in a free time setting. Verbal SH, non-verbal SH, and physical SHA were reported by 24.6%, 27.0%, and 14.0%, respectively. Peers were reported as perpetrators by 83.1%, trainer/teacher/health personnel by 20.1%, and "other" perpetrators by 56.4%. Conclusions: As one in three elite athletes and nearly one in two recreational athletes and reference students, respectively, reported SHA-victimization within a 12-months period, well-targeted preventive measures are needed for both young athletes and non-athletes.
... Studies related to gender are inconclusive and vary depending on the sample and methodology used. Some found differences, showing that female athletes reported more sexual violence (Vertommen et al., 2016;Ohlert et al., 2021), and others did not, showing that female and male athletes reported the same level of sexual victimization (Fasting et al., 2008;Parent et al., 2016;Parent and Vaillancourt-Morel, 2021). Age, level of performance, disability status, and type of sport are characteristics that are also still inconclusively associated with an increased risk of sexual violence against athletes across studies (e.g., see Vertommen et al., 2016;Ohlert et al., 2021;Parent and Vaillancourt-Morel, 2021). ...
... Some found differences, showing that female athletes reported more sexual violence (Vertommen et al., 2016;Ohlert et al., 2021), and others did not, showing that female and male athletes reported the same level of sexual victimization (Fasting et al., 2008;Parent et al., 2016;Parent and Vaillancourt-Morel, 2021). Age, level of performance, disability status, and type of sport are characteristics that are also still inconclusively associated with an increased risk of sexual violence against athletes across studies (e.g., see Vertommen et al., 2016;Ohlert et al., 2021;Parent and Vaillancourt-Morel, 2021). One risk factor has frequently been reported in the literature on sexual violence against athletes: the power imbalance (formal and informal) between individuals and the potential it creates for situations of abuse of power, such as in coach-athlete and rookie-veteran relationships (Parent and Fortier, 2018;Roberts et al., 2020). ...
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Some studies report that the sport context increases the risk of exposure to sexual violence for athletes. In contrast, others indicate a protective effect of sport participation against sexual violence, particularly among varsity athletes. Studies of sexual violence towards varsity athletes are limited by their failure to include control groups and various known risk factors such as age, graduate level, gender and sexual identity, disability status, international and Indigenous student status, and childhood sexual abuse. The purpose of the present study is to fill in these gaps to determine whether varsity athletes are at greater risk than non-athletes of sexual violence towards them or whether, on the contrary, involvement in a varsity sport is coherent with the Sport Protection Hypothesis. Data for this article come from the ESSIMU study (Enquête sur la Sexualité, la Sécurité et les Interactions en Milieu Universitaire), a broad survey of students, professors, and other employees at six francophone universities regarding sexual violence on university campuses. A total of 6,485 students with complete data on sexual violence, athlete status, and gender were included in the study. From this total, 267 participants identified themselves as varsity athletes. Data were analyzed using a series of logistic regressions on each form of violence using athlete status as a predictor and characteristics associated with sexual violence victimization or distinguishing between varsity athletes and non-athletes as confounding variables. When considering all confounding variables in the regression analyses on four yearly incidence rates of sexual violence, the results revealed that being a varsity athlete did not significantly increase the risk of exposure to sexual violence at university. All considered other variables were more significant predictors of the past year’s risk of sexual violence victimization than athlete status was.
... Studies in other countries, like the UK, Germany, and Canada, led to similar, or even higher prevalence estimates (Alexander et al., 2011;Ohlert et al., 2020;Parent & Vaillancourt-Morel, 2020). With exception of the Canadian study (Parent & Vaillancourt-Morel, 2020), all studies retrospectively survey adults about their experiences with IV in sport before the age of 18. ...
... Later, sexual abuse of children became the major point of focus (e.g., Brackenridge, 2001;Parent & Bannon, 2012). Only recently, studies started considering other types of violence, such as physical violence, bullying, and other types of psychological maltreatment (e.g., Ohlert et al., 2020). Currently, there is no internationally validated questionnaire available that measures a broad spectrum of IV behaviors towards athletes. ...
Article
While the issue of violence against children in sport reached the concern of researchers, policy makers and practitioners worldwide, solid estimations of its prevalence are lacking. This study aims to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Dutch translation of the Violence Towards Athletes Questionnaire (VTAQ; Parent et al., 2019), a self-report instrument, surveying experiences with violence perpetrated by a peer athletes, coaches and parents, and the world’s first validated tool. A total of 769 Belgian young athletes were recruited for this study. In order to test the construct and criterion validity, a mental health screening tool (YSR), a quality of life questionnaire (PedsQL), and the International Child Abuse Screening Tool (ICAST) were added. Exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) showed excellent model fits and yielded the same latent factors in the athlete and parent subscales as in the original study. However, compared to the original Canadian validation, our analysis revealed an additional factor in the coach subscale, next to psychological-neglect, physical, and sexual violence. This factor, consisting of both physical and psychological harmful behaviors relating to performance-enhancing purposes, was named ‘instrumental’ violence. We discuss The emergence of an extra dimension of sport specific interpersonal violence redirects us towards a more extensive study of instrumental types of violence in relation to sports culture, competition level and training load in young athletes. Future research recommendations for expanding the validation process of this questionnaire and its application in monitoring studies are presented. Keywords: violence, young athletes, sport, self-report, questionnaire, validation
... The first phase of data involved sampling high-performance athletes and coaches. High-performance athletes were chosen, as researchers have indicated that unsafe sport experiences, such as physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect are most prevalent at highly competitive levels where 'win-at-all-costs' mentalities are most prevalent (Ohlert et al., 2020;Roberts et al., 2020;Willson et al., 2021). Coaches were also identified as critical figures for providing safe environments and promoting values of safety in sport (Guskiewicz et al., 2014). ...
Article
In response to numerous highly publicized cases of athlete maltreatment, sport organizations have developed prevention and intervention strategies under the umbrella term of Safe Sport; however, confusion exists about what it does and does not encompass. To better understand what Safe Sport encompasses, this study sought to develop a conceptual framework of Safe Sport, informed by the perspectives of various stakeholders in sport. Using a social constructivist grounded theory approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with forty-one participants, including athletes, coaches, sport administrators, and researchers. The results are interpreted to suggest that participants’ understanding of Safe Sport are informed by three overarching themes: environmental and physical safety, relational safety, and optimising sport, all of which are viewed as continuously evolving relative to the ever-changing context of sport and broader society. Recommendations are made to optimise sport experiences and thus prevent physical and psychological harms through a safeguarding approach that prioritizes the promotion of human rights.
... The first concern, scanty literature, refers to self-harm (self-abuse), eating habit disorders and suicidal cases (Lang, 2020). The second phenomenon has occurred in different forms, such as emotional abuse, bullying, overtraining, physical aggression, sexual abuse and extreme forcing to punishment (Ohlert et al., 2020). The third option is related to perpetrators, such as coaches and sports club officials (Mountjoy et al., 2015). ...
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Research background Twisties symptoms have attracted the world's attention in the sports field since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Aim However, studies on the symptoms and causes, inducing mechanisms, and relationships between DP/DR (Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder) and anxiety and depression for athletes have been sparse for both the general population and athletes. The literature on the twisties issue of athletes is quite scarce in the past. Research method Adopting the criteria appealing to PRISMA Items to review the subject twisties in a broader mode and combing with the IPO (Input-Process-Output) model for triangulation testing purpose, this study categorized the literature to explore input variables causing athletes’ twisties and identified process variables in psychological mechanisms bridging suppression and finally discussed the existing possible ways in helping athletes to solve problems caused by twisties. Results The authors formed 6 propositions in summarizing twisties' influential factors and mechanisms and tried to propose solutions to reduce the stress and the relevant twisties symptom of athletes. (1) Promotion of Athletes' Mental Toughness to Resist Stressors. (2) Interventions that correct for cognitive misinterpretations and appropriate relaxation and mindfulness practice in correcting a range of attention might reduce DP/DR. (3) Monitoring the athlete's HRV test results to ensure the Athlete's ability to resist pressure. (4) Avoid organizational stressors. (5) Written Emotional Disclosure method. (6) Improve various support systems for athletes: dual career paths. (7) Athletes' Stressful Awareness about the impact of gender, seniority, and environment. Conclusion Through the theoretical dialogue on the symptom of twisties, this study helps promote the development of the research of “twisties” and depersonalization-derealization symptoms (DDS); both have been under-researched.
... A recent paper using some previously published prevalence data from athletes from the Netherlands and Belgium (Vertommen et al., 2016) and new data from a German sample of elite athletes (Ohlert et al., 2021) revealed that 72% of the respondents to a survey reportedly had experienced psychological violence in their sport. Additionally, 18% of the sample reported severe psychological violence. ...
... Only a few of the existing studies to date have disaggregated the data results by social identity. Women athletes have consistently reported significantly more experiences of sexual violence than their male counterparts (Ohlert et al., 2021;U.S. Center for Safe Sport, 2021;Vertommen et al., 2016;Willson et al., 2021). Those athletes identifying as members of the LGBTQ2I+ community have also reported more experiences of sexual violence (Vertommen et al., 2016;Willson et al., 2021) as have those with a disability, those who identify as an ethnic minority, and those of immigrant status (Vertommen et al., 2016). ...
... Since this early work, researchers have expanded their focus to include boys and men as survivors of sexual abuse (Hartill 2009). Prevalence studies across several countries indicate that between 40 and 79% of athletes reportedly experienced psychological violence (Alexander et al. 2011;Ohlert et al. 2021;Parent and Vaillancourt-Morel 2021; US Center for SafeSport 2021; Vertommen et al. 2016;Willson et al. 2021). Across these same studies, physical violence prevalence rates ranged between 11 and 56% and sexual violence prevalence rates ranged from 9 to 29%. ...
Article
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Despite sport being a vehicle through which youth may achieve positive developmental outcomes, maltreatment in the youth sport context remains a significant concern. With increased athlete advocacy and research demonstrating the high prevalence of maltreatment in sport, and the urgent need to address it, many international organisations have created child protection in sport initiatives. Of particular focus to athletes and researchers is the provision of evidence-based comprehensive education and independent reporting mechanisms for athletes who experience harm. The current study examined the extent to which the publicly accessible information provided by three sport-specific child protection organisations regarding education and reporting is aligned with recommendations provided by researchers and athletes. With regard to education, the findings highlight accessibility, programming for various stakeholders, and coverage of topics of interest (e.g., forms of harm and reporting processes). However, educational information about equity, diversity, and inclusion and information on how to foster positive environments in sport was lacking. For reporting mechanisms, results showed that each organisation’s approach to receiving reports of maltreatment varied, including their ability to directly intake, investigate, and sanction instances of maltreatment. The findings are interpreted and critiqued considering previous literature and recommendations for future research and practice are suggested.
... In the context of sport, a growing body of research has reported the prevalence of violence against athletes, including sexual, physical and psychological violence and neglect, experienced by both women and men in sport (Parent and Vaillancourt-Morel, 2020;Ohlert et al., 2021;Willson et al., 2021). Preliminary research by Vertommen et al. (2016) aimed to capture the experiences of equity deserving populations, and reported that gender-diverse individuals, specifically transgender athletes, may have a greater vulnerability to experiences of violence in sport, but this remains an underresearched population. ...
Article
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In the context of sport, a growing body of research has reported the prevalence of violence against athletes, including sexual, physical, and psychological violence and neglect, experienced by both women and men in sport. Preliminary research has reported that gender-diverse individuals, specifically transgender athletes, may have a greater vulnerability to experiences of violence in sport, but this remains an under-researched population. In addition to limited research specifically on violence experienced by transgender athletes in sport, there is also only emerging research on virtual violence against athletes, with previous research on virtual violence in sporting spaces highlighting how online spaces are sites that can foster widespread hostility and violence. This study builds on previous research by examining discourses of virtual violence faced by transgender powerlifter, Mary Gregory, following her expulsion from the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation. This research used a netnographic approach—an online ethnographic case study design. Data were collected from online news sources, as well as social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube and were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis. The data provided an insight into the cyberculture of powerlifting, and the negotiation of space, or lack thereof, for Mary Gregory within this physical culture. Five themes of were generated, including invalidation of gender identity, dehumanization, infliction of derogatory and crude language, accusations of cheating, and being compared to cisgender athletes without nuance. The study highlights the presence of significant vitriol across virtual platforms directed at Mary Gregory and the underlying presence of negative gender-based violence again trans* (GBV-T*) discourse. This case provides examples of virtual gender-based violence and transphobia in sport, a lack of readiness to accept trans* athletes, and concerns for the safety of trans* athletes in sporting spaces.
... In addition, previous research has documented external pressure from parents, coaches, and teammates that can be detrimental to psychological development and self-esteem (Tofler and Butterbaugh, 2005;Gerbelli-Gauthier, 2019). Those elements can lead to the cessation of sports practice, described as sport drop-out by Leblanc (2016), or some forms of violence against the athlete (Parent and Fortier, 2018;Ohlert et al., 2021). Additionally, other research reported increased rates of delinquency and aggression (Faulkner et al., 2007;Gardner et al., 2009), as well as behavioral and functional problems (Endresen and Olweus, 2005). ...
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This study focused on lessons learned from the Physical Education Curriculum under the reign of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We conducted an unprecedented analysis of ISIS primary school physical education curriculum. The research objective focused on describing and analyzing the context and intentions of the document as well as its content (didactic, pedagogy, learning assessment, among others). We also analyzed the general scientific quality of the curriculum of physical education targeting fitness preparation by the instructor in charge of the education of the youth. In addition, our analysis focused on the philosophical and contextual issues of the manual. Findings revealed an incomplete and a rapidly developed textbook where several essential elements related to pedagogy, didactics, learning, and assessment were missing or inconsistent. The logic of military preparation under the guise of preparing the student’s physical condition was an important finding without being explicitly mentioned. Integration of religious content was present without being affirmed in the content of the lessons. We argue that the ISIS physical education curriculum appears to be committed to an absolutist/theocratic ideological or propaganda program that, among other things, promotes the preparation of the future soldiers of the ISIS army. Recommendations about secularization and the reconstruction of post-ISIS education systems are formulated.
... 22 Despite the many positive physical and psychological benefits from sport participation, prevalence studies indicate that youth athletes are subject to harassment and abuse from coaches, peer athletes, and members of the entourage. In a comparative study with a German and a Belgian-Dutch sample of elite athletes, Ohlert et al 23 found that all types of interpersonal violence are prevalent in elite sport. ...
Article
Objective: To analyze the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) 2020 athletes' understanding and perceptions of harassment and abuse in sport and their knowledge of reporting mechanisms. Design: A cohort study. Setting: The Winter YOG2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Participants: Accredited athletes at the YOG2020. Intervention: An athlete safeguarding educational program was delivered at the YOG2020. Participating athletes were encouraged to answer a survey embedded in the safeguarding educational materials during the YOG. Main outcome measures: Perception of occurrence of harassment and abuse as well as knowledge of the term "safe sport" and reporting mechanisms. Results: The survey response rate of athletes attending the Safe Sport Booth was 69%. When asked to define Safe Sport, 10% of athletes at the YOG2020 correctly identified a sport environment free from harassment and abuse, 20% identified fair play/antidoping, and 19% safety. When presented with the definition of harassment and abuse, 30.4% expressed surprise, in contrast to 46% in the summer YOG2018. A third (32%) reported that harassment and abuse was either "likely" or "very likely" present in their sport, which was similar to the YOG2018 (34%). The group of athletes not knowing where to go to report harassment and abuse was greater than in the YOG2018 (26% vs 11%). There were no differences in responses between competitive sex (boys' vs girls' events) or type of sport (team vs individual). Conclusions: Outcomes of this study, such as the development of youth-friendly terminology and emphasizing mechanisms for reporting of harassment and abuse, should inform the development of safeguarding educational materials for youth athletes.
... 28 A study of German and Belgian-Dutch elite athletes found a prevalence of psychological (72%), physical (25%), and sexual harassment/abuse (31%) with significant overlap of types. 29 A cross-sectional study of 197 elite Swedish athletics athletes reported a sexual abuse prevalence of 11% (females 16% and males 4%) and physical abuse of 18% (females 14% and males 23%). 30 A survey of 1001 elite Canadian athletes from 64 sports reported a prevalence of 59% for emotional harm, 67% for neglect, 20% for sexual harm, and 12% for physical harm. ...
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Objective: To assess the mental health and experience of sport-related harassment and abuse of elite aquatic athletes and to analyze it in relation to gender and discipline. Design: Cross-sectional study using an anonymous survey. Setting: The FINA World Championships 2019. Participants: Registered athletes in the disciplines of swimming, diving, high diving, water polo, artistic swimming, and open water swimming. Interventions: Athletes completed an online or paper-based questionnaire. Main outcome measures: The main outcome measures included screening for depression (10-item version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale revised), eating disorders (Brief Eating Disorders in Athletes Questionnaire), the subjective need for psychotherapeutic support, and the experience of sport-related harassment and/or abuse. Results: A quarter (24.6%) of the 377 responding athletes were classified as depressed and 2.5% as having an eating disorder. More than 40% of the athletes stated that they wanted or needed psychotherapeutic support. Fifty-one athletes (14.9%) had experienced harassment/abuse in sport themselves, and 31 (9%) had witnessed it in another athlete. The experiences of harassment and abuse ranged from unwanted comments about body or appearance (40.2%) to rewards in sport for sexual favors (2.5%) and rape (0.3%). Athletes who had experienced harassment/abuse in sport themselves had higher average scores for depression and eating disorders, and more of them felt they needed psychotherapeutic support. Up to a third would not talk or report to anybody if they saw or experienced harassment/abuse, and less than 20% would talk to an official for help. Conclusion: Targeted initiatives are required to address mental health issues and harassment and abuse in sport in the FINA aquatic disciplines.
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Research has shown that athletes are divided in their assessment of possibly sexualising behaviours from coaches towards athletes. How they arrive at their conclusions has received less attention—yet it is crucial to understand as a basis for safeguarding measures. Using video-elicitation focus group interviews with sport students, we zoomed in on different types of ‘grey area’ situations involving coaches and athletes. We drew on social script theory to highlight the cultural tools sport students use to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable coaching behaviours. Our analyses showed that the students drew on two types of scripts in their interpretative work: (1) sport scripts, denoting templates for ‘normal’ coach–athlete interactions (typically with a performance and/or caring rationale), and (2) sexual harassment scripts, encompassing beliefs and expectations of how sexual transgressions play out and among whom. We discuss how the students evaluated concrete grey area situations by comparing and contrasting them with both scripts. In these assessments, the students relied on cues and clues from the portrayed interactions, including the gender of the coach and athlete and knowledge about the specific sport setting. Our analyses demonstrate how views about sexual harassment in sport relate to the specificities of the sport setting and the gendered social dynamics in the situation.
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Abuse and interpersonal violence threaten participant safety and trust in sport. Many political and project activities have sought to promote safeguarding policies within national sporting structures. Despite this, implementation of safe sport policy measures has been lacklustre, and policy guidance is often disparate and sometimes contradictory. Against this background, the Council of Europe initiated the development of a safeguarding in sport self-assessment tool to assist national sport authorities in this crucial area. This tool addresses some of the gaps within safe sport policy guidance by summarising current good practices and offering policy guidance and legitimation. In the following Innovations article, we present our work developing the safeguarding self-assessment tool for national sport organisations in collaboration with the Council of Europe.
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Behavioral aspects of organized sports activity for pediatric athletes are considered in a world consumed with winning at all costs. In the first part of this treatise, we deal with a number of themes faced by our children in their sports play. These concepts include the lure of sports, sports attrition, the mental health of pediatric athletes (i.e., effects of stress, anxiety, depression, suicide in athletes, ADHD and stimulants, coping with injuries, drug use, and eating disorders), violence in sports (i.e., concepts of the abused athlete including sexual abuse), dealing with supervisors (i.e., coaches, parents), peers, the talented athlete, early sports specialization and sports clubs. In the second part of this discussion, we cover ergolytic agents consumed by young athletes in attempts to win at all costs. Sports doping agents covered include anabolic steroids (anabolic-androgenic steroids or AAS), androstenedione, dehydroepiandrostenedione (DHEA), human growth hormone (hGH; also its human recombinant homologue: rhGH), clenbuterol, creatine, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), amphetamines, caffeine and ephedrine. Also considered are blood doping that includes erythropoietin (EPO) and concepts of gene doping. In the last section of this discussion, we look at disabled pediatric athletes that include such concepts as athletes with spinal cord injuries (SCIs), myelomeningocele, cerebral palsy, wheelchair athletes, and amputee athletes; also covered are pediatric athletes with visual impairment, deafness, and those with intellectual disability including Down syndrome. In addition, concepts of autonomic dysreflexia, boosting and atlantoaxial instability are emphasized. We conclude that clinicians and society should protect our precious pediatric athletes who face many challenges in their involvement with organized sports in a world obsessed with winning. There is much we can do to help our young athletes find benefit from sports play while avoiding or blunting negative consequences of organized sport activities.
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FUTBOL’DA SEYİRCİ SALDIRGANLIĞI VE STADYUM GÜVENLİĞİ
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Background Despite widespread reference to protecting ‘clean sport’ and the rights of ‘clean athletes’ in anti-doping, to date very little attention has been paid to athletes who are, in majority, committed to clean sport. Understanding elite athletes’ conceptions of ‘clean sport’ and integrity, the psychosocial factors related specifically to athletes’ commitment to personal integrity and clean sport behaviour (as opposed to factors influencing anti-doping rule-breaking) provides a crucial, but currently missing, piece for anti-doping education. Methods Drawing upon two complimentary theories (the Incremental Model of Doping Behaviour, and Personal Integrity) for coding frame, we employed a qualitative secondary analysis (QSA) approach to re-analyse in-depth life-story interviews of 14 elite athletes (9 males/5 females) from Germany, Italy, and the UK, representing 11 sports across high (n = 8), medium (n = 3) and low risk (n = 3) categories for doping. Interview data were originally collected for the SAFE YOU+ project to underpin illustrative case studies produced as educational material. QSA was conducted on this evidence within the constructivist research paradigm using thematic analysis through adductive reasoning. Results Elite athletes' conceptions of clean sport and commitment to personal integrity presented on a continuum from a strict position to use no substances at all through to the carefully calibrated use of non-prohibited substances/methods for the purpose of enhancing performance. There was a clear distinction between commitment to clean sport and anti-doping. Factors that threaten elite athletes’ personal commitment to clean sport, and thus could push them towards doping included intrinsic concerns (medical, financial, performance), perceptions of legitimacy in the anti-doping system, descriptive doping norms and identity. Factors that may help athletes build and maintain personal commitment to clean sport, and their personal commitment to a clean sport environment, involved acceptance, anti-doping environment, motivation, permitted means to enhance performance and multi-dimensional identity. Doping was seen as the consequence of lapse in, or a lack of, personal commitment to clean sport. Conclusion For the first time, empirical evidence has differentiated between commitment to clean sport, and anti-doping. Results from this investigation highlighted that the process by which abstract values are operationalized into personal value-systems and priorities, and enacted, are complex and fluid. Values-based, anti-doping education therefore should adopt a holistic and broad approach to reach beyond the values of sport within the context of anti-doping and consider the complex role of personal integrity and commitment to clean sport. Emphasis on the impact of anti-doping rule breaking on peers, society and culture is recommended in addition to greater awareness of one's responsibility for performance-enhancement related actions, and a clean sport mindset among athletes which extends beyond the sporting environment.
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Elit sporcuların yaşları spor branşlarına göre farklılık göstermektedir. Burada en önemli faktör, farklı yaşlardaki beceri ve yeteneklerin sporun gerekliliklerini nasıl karşıladığıdır. Hız ve güç gerektiren branşlardaki sporcular 20'li yaşların ortalarında, dayanıklılık gerektiren branşlardaki sporcular 40'lı yaşlarında zirveye ulaşırken, taktiksel ve daha düşük etkili branşlardaki sporcular 50'li yaşlarında hala elit düzeyde rekabet edebilmektedirler (Gillan, 2018; Longo ve ark., 2016). Yüzme gibi hız, esneklik ve maksimum oksijen tüketimine dayanan sporlardaki sporcular en düşük yaş ortalamalarına sahipken (ortalama erkekler için 23 ve kadınlar için 22). Yelken, atıcılık ve binicilik gibi fiziksel yükleri daha düşük olan taktiksel ve hassas sporlar büyük yaştaki sporculara sahiptir. Örneğin binicilik için ortalama yaş kadınlar için 39 ve erkekler için 36’dır (Chomik ve Jacinto 2021). Bir müsabaka için başka bir şehre giderken bile ailelerinden muvafakatname alınan bu sporcuların bu kadar üst düzey yarışmalara kendi istekleriyle katıldıkları varsayılır. Ancak ya durum sanıldığı gibi değilse? Bu kitap bölümünde özellikle elit çocuk sporcuların yaşadıkları olumsuz durumlar ile istismarlar incelenecek ayrıca bunlarla karşılaşmamaları için sporda çocuk koruma kapsamında neler yapılabileceğinden bahsedilecektir.
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With increased media scrutiny, public awareness, and research on the prevalence of maltreatment experiences in sport, sport organizations have faced increased pressures to combat unsafe practices in sport. A consequence has been the emergence of the Safe Sport movement whereby organizations including the International Olympic Committee, Safe Sport International, US Center for SafeSport, Sport Canada, and others, have developed policies, initiatives, and education intended to create safer sport environments for all participants. Most of these policies have been implemented using a top-down approach, driven by government officials and sport leaders. However, if safe sport initiatives are to benefit athletes, consideration and incorporation of athletes' perspectives in the development and implementation of initiatives are imperative. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to examine athletes' perspectives on the challenges and recommendations to advancing safe sport. As part of a large-scale survey of current and retired Canadian National Team Athletes' experiences of maltreatment, open-ended questions were asked about athletes' recommendations and considerations for safe sport. Responses to these questions (n = 386) were analyzed using thematic analysis. According to the participants, barriers and challenges to safe sport included emphasizing performance excellence at-all-costs, normalization and complicity of harm, lack of attention to equity, diversity and inclusion, a culture of fear and silence, and a lack of trust in organizations to handle cases of harm. In an effort to advance safe sport, participants recommended prioritizing holistic athlete development, improving and strengthening accountability measures, implementing an independent 3rd party for disclosure, reporting and support, increased attention to equity, diversity and inclusion, stakeholder education, prohibition of sexual relations between athletes and those in positions of power and authority, and adoption of a broader perspective of harms and perpetrators. Findings are interpreted and critiqued in light of previous literature and recommendations for future research and practice are suggested.
Chapter
Der Beitrag analysiert die sozialen Strukturen und Bedingungen des Sports, die die Ausübung von Machtmissbrauch und sexualisierte Gewalt gegen Kinder und Jugendliche begünstigen können. Dazu werden zunächst aus einer theoretischen Perspektive und auf Basis des Forschungsstandes relevante Strukturen des Sports beschrieben und diese durch Einblicke aus Interviews mit Betroffenen sexualisierter Gewalt vertiefend erläutert. Im Ergebnis werden insbesondere Nähe und Vertrauen, ungleiche Geschlechterverhältnisse und Heteronormativität, Selektionsprozesse und Elitebildung sowie Disziplinierung und Fremdbestimmung als soziale Strukturen des Sports identifiziert, die für die Ausübung von sexualisierter Gewalt im Sport begünstigend sind und es den Betroffenen erschweren, über ihre Gewalterfahrungen im Sport zu sprechen.
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Facing the important methodological limitations of the instruments used for assessing the prevalence of interpersonal violence faced by young athletes, the aim of the present study was to propose and describe the use of a research instrument adapted to young and French-speaking athletes. In addition, by collecting preliminary data with a Swiss sample, we aimed to measure the different forms of interpersonal violence young athletes have experienced at least once during their sport practice. Our questionnaire was based on three existing questionnaires and adapted for a young audience. Regarding prevalence, results showed that among the 210 respondents, 75% declared psychological violence, 53% physical violence, 28% sexual violence and 21% reported no violence. The other results showed that this instrument appears to be well-structured to measure interpersonal violence and understandable for young athletes. Based on the strengths and limits of our instrument, the methodological need of standardization of research instruments is discussed in line with a need of more studies to fully understand the phenomenon.
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Sexual violence against athletes in elite and leisure sport has become of growing interest in recent years. In line with social media initiatives such as #SportToo and #CoachDontTouchMe and a rise in general media coverage, research in this field indicates an urgent need for action. These recent developments occasionally have led to no-touch policies, which may result in moral panic, uncertainty, and fear of unjustified suspicion among coaches. However, the role of closeness and distance in the development of sexual violence within the coach–athlete relationship has not yet been researched systematically. In this scoping review, the authors focus on the coach–athlete relationship, particularly its predispositions to sexual violence and how to prevent abusive relationships. Some characteristics typical of elite sport may predispose coaches to commit abuse, such as gender and power relations, the need for physical touch, hierarchical structures in sport, and trust and closeness between coaches and athletes. This scoping review follows an interdisciplinary approach combining sociological and psychological perspectives. It comprises 25 publications in English and German published from 2000 to 2019. The literature review highlights that closeness, power, blurred boundaries, and ambiguous roles are areas that seem to be crucial to the analysis of the coach–athlete relationship from both sociological and psychological perspectives.
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Background Research on the prevalence of sexual violence in sport mostly focuses on incidents of sexual violence that happen in the context of sport, but few studies are available that systematically target the lifetime prevalence of sexual violence in the athletes (as persons), combining experiences in sport and outside the sport system. The aim of the current study was thus to compare sexual violence experiences of elite athletes in Germany in sport with those outside sport. Methods The study was carried out in cooperation with the German Olympic and Paralympic Committee who contacted their registered elite athletes. In total, 1529 elite athletes took part in an online survey and answered questions regarding their sexual violence experiences first in the context of sport and afterwards outside the sport context. Results Results show that 54.2% of the athletes had experienced some form of sexual violence during their lifetime, 20.6% even a severe incident of sexual violence. Incidents happened more often outside sport than in sport, but 48% of the victims were affected in both areas of life, indicating a high overlap of victimization experiences. Conclusion One recommendation from our results is therefore to make even stronger efforts to protect young athletes from becoming a victim of sexual violence. In case a sport club has a person of trust in the club, it can be an important place for athletes with sexual violence experiences (no matter whether experienced inside or outside sport), so that they are being heard and helped.
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Child maltreatment in sport is an undeniable problem. High-profile cases of sexual abuse of child athletes are obvious examples of child maltreatment in this context. Young athletes also face physical and psychological maltreatment, as well as neglect, although these types of child maltreatment are understudied in sport and receive less public attention. Little is known as to how to define physical and psychological maltreatment and neglect in sport and their diverse manifestations. The aim of this paper is to propose concrete manifestations of each type of child maltreatment in sport. We aim to help practitioners better understand and researchers better measure this problem.
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Sexual violence against children in sports receives little research attention. The aim of this Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses-based systematic literature review was to synthesize the up-to-date knowledge and identify the already known and the still unknown information in this area. The literature search yielded seven eligible studies for inclusion. Their key outcomes suggest that sexual violence against children in sports is prevalent. Girls are more often the victims than boys, but gender appears to mediate the disclosure. Minority groups are at higher risk for sexual violence, and athletes at higher levels of competition seem to be more vulnerable for grooming. While the coach is often seen as the perpetrator, new research suggests that peer-athletes may precede the coach. Disclosure is a problem, due to personal and interpersonal concerns, which deters scholastic research in this area. In the final section of the review, a “what we know” and “what we need to know” list of highlights is offered as the concluding summary of the review. These factual points could raise the awareness of parents and/or guardians about the vulnerability of their children to sexual abuse if they are involved in sports. They could also attract the attention of the policy makers to the urgent need of developing and implementing preventive measures to make sports and exercise environments pleasurable and safe for children.
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In a recent large-scale prevalence study of interpersonal violence (IV) against child athletes in the Netherlands and Belgium we found that 9% of adult respondents who participated in organized sports before the age of 18 had experienced severe psychological violence, 8% severe physical violence, and 6% severe sexual violence in various sport settings. While the general literature has repeatedly shown that exposure to IV during childhood is associated with mental health problems in adulthood and to a lesser extent with reduced quality of life (QOL), these relationships have not been demonstrated in (former) athletes. Thus, the current study aims to assess the association of severe childhood IV in sport and adult wellbeing. Depression, anxiety, and somatization were assessed in the same general population sample (N = 4043) using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18) and QOL with the World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire (WHOQOL-Brèf). The association between severe IV in sport and adult wellbeing was investigated using multiple linear regression while controlling for demographics, recent life events, and relatives’ psychological problems. We found severe sexual, physical, and psychological childhood IV in sport to be associated with more adult psychological distress and reduced QOL. Polyvictimization shows the strongest correlation with poorer wellbeing and QOL. Recent life events, relatives’ psychological problems, marital status, and level of education were significant covariates in the psychological symptoms and QOL assessed. We hope that these new insights prompt sport administrators to implement broad spectrum child protection measures and raise the awareness of mental health professionals about the necessity to also screen for adverse childhood experiences in the sport context.
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The purpose of this paper is to develop a working definition of positive deviance and use the definition in an analysis of behavior among athletes. It is argued that much deviance among athletes involves excessive overconformity to the norms and values embodied in sport itself. When athletes use the “sport ethic”—which emphasizes sacrifice for The Game, seeking distinction, taking risks, and challenging limits—as an exclusive guide for their behavior, sport and sport participation become especially vulnerable to corruption. Although the sport ethic emphasizes positive norms, the ethic itself becomes the vehicle for transforming behaviors that conform to these positive norms into deviant behaviors that are prohibited and negatively sanctioned within society and within sport organizations themselves. Living in conformity to the sport ethic is likely to set one apart as a “real athlete,” but it creates a clear-cut vulnerability to several kinds of deviant behavior. This presents unique problems of social control within sport. The use of performance enhancing drugs in sport is identified as a case in point, and an approach to controlling this form of positive deviance is discussed.
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Despite the well-recognised benefits of sport, there are also negative influences on athlete health, well-being and integrity caused by non-accidental violence through harassment and abuse. All athletes have a right to engage in 'safe sport', defined as an athletic environment that is respectful, equitable and free from all forms of non-accidental violence to athletes. Yet, these issues represent a blind spot for many sport organisations through fear of reputational damage, ignorance, silence or collusion. This Consensus Statement extends the 2007 IOC Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport, presenting additional evidence of several other types of harassment and abuse-psychological, physical and neglect. All ages and types of athletes are susceptible to these problems but science confirms that elite, disabled, child and lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans-sexual (LGBT) athletes are at highest risk, that psychological abuse is at the core of all other forms and that athletes can also be perpetrators. Harassment and abuse arise from prejudices expressed through power differences. Perpetrators use a range of interpersonal mechanisms including contact, non-contact/verbal, cyber-based, negligence, bullying and hazing. Attention is paid to the particular risks facing child athletes, athletes with a disability and LGBT athletes. Impacts on the individual athlete and the organisation are discussed. Sport stakeholders are encouraged to consider the wider social parameters of these issues, including cultures of secrecy and deference that too often facilitate abuse, rather than focusing simply on psychopathological causes. The promotion of safe sport is an urgent task and part of the broader international imperative for good governance in sport. A systematic multiagency approach to prevention is most effective, involving athletes, entourage members, sport managers, medical and therapeutic practitioners, educators and criminal justice agencies. Structural and cultural remedies, as well as practical recommendations, are suggested for sport organisations, athletes, sports medicine and allied disciplines, sport scientists and researchers. The successful prevention and eradication of abuse and harassment against athletes rests on the effectiveness of leadership by the major international and national sport organisations.
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This is the first study to report the prevalence of sexual violence perpetrated by a sport coach within a representative sample of the general population of adolescents aged between 14 and 17 years (N = 6,450). The questionnaire administered in high schools includes self-reported measures on a variety of dimensions relevant to the study of victimization, including sexual abuse, sexual contacts perceived as consensual, sexual harassment, and involvement in an organized sport context. Descriptive and chi-square analyses were performed. The results show that 0.5% of adolescents experienced sexual abuse involving a coach. When considering all adolescents who experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime (10.2%), it appears that 5.3% of them were victims of sexual abuse by a coach. Participants also reported experiencing sexual harassment from a coach (0.4%) and consensual sexual contacts (1.2%) with a coach in the 12 months preceding the study. Questions are raised on the overrepresentation of boys in situations of sexual victimization experiences in an organized sport context. © The Author(s) 2015.
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This is the report of a major three year study of children and young people’s experiences of participating in organised sport in the UK.
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The major aims of this study were to quantify the reported prevalence of unwanted sexual experiences involving male coaches among a sample of Flemish female student‐athletes and to investigate the latter's perceptions of the acceptability of related coaching behaviors. A questionnaire based on the research of Volkwein, Schnell, Sherwood, and Livezy (1997), Brackenridge (1997), Toftegaard‐Nielsen (2001), and Fejgen and Hanegby (2001), probing the reported prevalence and perceptions of unacceptable, sexual coach behaviors, was completed by 435 student‐athletes at a Catholic university (N = 291) and at a liberal, non‐religiously affiliated university (N = 144). Despite significant differences in perceptions between the students at the two universities, no differences were found between the reported prevalence of unacceptable and serious sexual coach behaviors. The reported prevalence was comparable to prevalence data reported in the USA, the UK, Australia, and the Scandinavian countries
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This article presents data from a cross-cultural study titled ‘Gender Relations in Sport — The Experiences of Czech, Greek, and Norwegian Female Sport Students’. The main research question asked is: what are the amounts and the forms of male and female sexual harassment experienced in a sport setting by female sport students in Czech Republic, Greece, and Norway? Women (N = 616) who were studying in sport departments of academic institutions in the three countries participated in the study. The results show that 34 percent of the students had experienced sexually harassing behavior from a man and 12 percent from a woman. Experiences of sexually harassing behaviors from both men and women were reported more often in the Czech Republic and Greece than in Norway.The form of sexual harassment the participants reported experiencing the most was ‘repeated unwanted sexual glances, etc.’ (22%). The difference between female and male harassment is discussed in relation to patriarchal power. The overall differences between countries are discussed in relation to the three countries’ gender orders, gender equality laws as well as the anti-sexual harassment laws inside and outside sport organizations.
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Elite-level athletes are placed upon heightened pedestals in societies world-wide. At the same time, there is dark side to these glorified competitors that remains hidden from those outside of exclusive athletic circles. Dr. Nick Pappas' unique background as a former collegiate and professional hockey player and coach in combination with his experience as a researcher, professional counselor, and adjunct professor have provided him with knowledge and inside access to a variety of athlete cultures. This has enabled Dr. Pappas to uncover an array of disturbing sexual behaviors which have silently thrived for decades in many athlete cultures beginning in high school. These practices, expressed through the athletes own words along with their frequencies, motives and consequences, are the result of over 10 years of cutting-edge research involving in depth interviews with 142 collegiate and professional athletes from five major U.S. sports. While these findings are certain to shock, raise awareness, and provide a wake-up call for those in and outside of the sports world, they also highlight a sense of urgency for taking action against these harmful behaviors. Nick Pappas, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, is a former collegiate and professional ice hockey player and coach who holds a doctorate degree in Human Development and Family Science with a minor in Sociology of Sport from The Ohio State University. This unique background in combination with his experience as a researcher, professional counselor, and adjunct professor have given Dr. Pappas a distinct vantage point into both human and athletic developmental issues that are highlighted in this one-of-a-kind book. As a dynamic speaker, Dr. Pappas provides presentations on athlete-related topics including out-of-sport athlete deviancy and aggression in an effort to address these issues. Visit www.DrNickPappas.com to hear interviews, view a presentation clip, or to read a study on out-of-sport athlete aggression.
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Objectives: Systematic reviews on prevalence estimates of child sexual abuse (CSA) worldwide included studies with adult participants referring on a period of abuse of about 50 years. Therefore we aimed to describe the current prevalence of CSA, taking into account geographical region, type of abuse, level of country development and research methods. Methods: We included studies published between 2002 and 2009 that reported CSA in children below 18 years. We performed a random effects meta-analysis and analyzed moderator variables by meta-regression. Results: Fifty-five studies from 24 countries were included. According to four predefined types of sexual abuse, prevalence estimates ranged from 8 to 31 % for girls and 3 to 17 % for boys. Nine girls and 3 boys out of 100 are victims of forced intercourse. Heterogeneity between primary studies was high in all analyses. Conclusions: Our results based on most recent data confirm results from previous reviews with adults. Surveys in children offer most recent estimates of CSA. Reducing heterogeneity between studies might be possible by standardized measures to make data more meaningful in international comparisons.
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Despite the relevance of cognitive and non-cognitive skills for professional success, their formation is not yet fully understood. This study fills part of this gap by analyzing the effect of sports club participation, one of the most popular extra-curricular activities, on children's skill development. Our results indicate positive effects: both cognitive skills, measured by school performance, and overall non-cognitive skills improve by 0.13 standard deviations. The results are robust when using alternative datasets as well as alternative estimation and identification strategies. The effects can be partially explained by increased physical activities replacing passive leisure activities.
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A systematic review to determine if exercise alone or as part of a comprehensive intervention can improve self esteem in children and young people is described. Twenty three randomised controlled trials were analysed. A synthesis of several small, low quality trials indicates that exercise may have short term beneficial effects on self esteem in children and adolescents. However, high quality research on defined populations with adequate follow up is needed.
Article
Context: Hazing and peer sexual abuse in sport are a critical issue, brought into public scrutiny with increasing frequency due to various forms of media, resulting in major causes of numerous avoidable mental health issues, and in some cases, even death. While the exact incidence of these activities is extremely difficult to quantify, trends indicate that the problem is very likely underreported. Evidence acquisition: PubMed, Google, various legal journals/statutes, books on hazing and peer abuse in sport, and newspaper periodicals/editorials were all searched. Sources range in date from 1968 through 2018. Study design: Clinical review. Level of evidence: Level 5. Results: Hazing and peer sexual abuse are complex issues that have the potential to lead to physical, emotional, and mental harm. The underlying causes of hazing are complex but rooted in maintaining a hierarchical structure within the team unit. By implementing various changes and strategies, coaches and team administration can mitigate the risks of these behaviors. Conclusion: Hazing and peer sexual abuse in sport are avoidable and must be eliminated to maximize the numerous physical and psychosocial benefits attainable by participating in team athletics.
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The lifetime prevalence of sexual abuse in institutional settings in Germany was examined in a sample representative of the general adult population (N = 2,437). Participants completed a survey on whether they had ever experienced such abuse, its nature (contact, noncontact, forced sexual, intercourse), the type of institution (e.g. school, club), and the relationship of perpetrator to victim (peer, caregiver, staff member). Overall, 3.1% of adult respondents (women: 4.8%, men: 0.8%) reported having experienced some type of sexual abuse in institutions. Adult women reported higher rates of all types than did men, with rates of 3.9% versus 0.8% for contact sexual abuse, 1.2% versus 0.3% for noncontact sexual abuse, and 1.7% versus 0.2% for forced sexual intercourse. We conclude that a remarkable proportion of the general population experiences sexual abuse in institutions, underscoring the need for development of protective strategies. Especially, schools seem to represent good starting points for primary prevention strategies.
Article
Although the topic of sexual violence in sport has gained considerable attention in recent years, prevalence rates of sexual violence experience in German athletes are not yet available. Therefore, the current study aimed to address this by assessing prevalence rates in a comprehensive sample of German elite athletes. Overall, 1529 German elite athletes over 16 years of age from 128 different sports took part in an online survey. Mean age was 21.6 years; 56% were female. Participants were presented with seventeen different sexual violence situations (from sexist jokes to forced penetration) and asked to indicate how often they had experienced each particular situation in the sport setting. Results revealed that 37.6% of the athletes had experienced at least one sexual violence situation in organized sport; 11.2% reported a severe form of sexual violence. Female athletes were affected significantly more often than male athletes, and persons with a sexual orientation other than heterosexual more often than heterosexuals. No significant differences could be found with regard to age, level of performance, type of sports, dis-/ability or migration background of the athletes. These results indicate that sexual violence is a problem that needs to be addressed across elite sports in Germany. Prevention concepts need to be developed and applied across sports contexts.
Article
The frequency of sexual victimization in high-risk populations like adolescents in institutional care has hardly been studied. In this study, we report lifetime prevalence and incidence from a nationwide German sample including 322 adolescents (mean age 16.69 years, 43% female) from 20 residential care facilities and 12 boarding schools. Lifetime prevalence for severe sexual victimization (in and outside of institution) was 46.7% for girls and 8.0% for boys. Moreover, 5% of all adolescents experienced severe sexual victimization for the first time after they were admitted to the current institution (mean duration of stay in the current institution 3.08 years). Offenders were mostly adolescents of the same age whereas staff members played a minor role as perpetrators. We conclude that the high rate of sexual victimization among adolescents in institutional care should be considered during decision-making processes concerning out-of-home placement and during a stay in residential care.
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Playing hurt is a widespread phenomenon in elite sports that often goes along with using painkillers, disregarding medical guidelines, and hiding pain from coaches, teammates and medical staff. This paper theoretically conceptualizes the phenomenon of playing hurt as a sport-specific sickness presenteeism problem. To empirically analyse the willingness to play hurt, we refer to survey data from 723 elite German athletes, both male and female, in the sports of handball and track and field. Factor analysis, cluster analysis and binary logistic regression analysis are applied to reveal the athletes’ cognitive representation of absence legitimacy and to identify athlete groups with varying levels of willingness to compete hurt. Our results show that subtle distinctions are made between different kinds of health problems. In particular, there is a high willingness to compete despite psychosocial complaints. Cluster analysis reveals two clusters: ‘athletes conditionally willing to rest’ and ‘rest-averse and pain-trivializing athletes’. Athletes who perceive more social pressure to compete hurt, who have a higher performance level and who participate in handball, are more likely to be in the group of rest-averse and pain-trivializing athletes. The findings enhance our understanding of presenteeism and absenteeism in a highly competitive work context, and can contribute to the development of more target-group-specific health prevention programmes for athletes.
Book
Based on life-history interviews with male and female ‘survivors’ of child sexual abuse in sport, this text offers a deeper appreciation for the experiences of those who are sexually victimized within sports and school-sport settings. Drawing on a wide range of sources, it also provides a new theoretical framework through which child sexual abuse in sport may be explored. Offering a critique spanning psychology, sociology and criminology, this book challenges existing theories of sex offending while advocating an alternative epistemology to help better understand and address this social problem. Website info: https://www.routledge.com/Sexual-Abuse-in-Youth-Sport-A-sociocultural-analysis/Hartill/p/book/9781138848504
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This paper considers the nature and implications of cultural messages about risk, pain, injury, and comebacks in sport that are mediated by a popular American sports magazine. The analysis is based on evidence from a content analysis of Sports Illustrated articles, the results of which suggest that athletes are exposed to a set of mediated beliefs about structural constraints, structural inducements, general cultural values, and processes of institutional rationalization and athletic socialization that collectively convey the message that they ought to accept the risks, pain, and injuries of sport.
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Various discourses construct youth sport as a site for pleasure and participation, for positive development, for performance and for protection/safeguarding. Elite youth sport however continues to be a site for emotionally abusive coaching behaviour. Little attention has been paid to how the institutional context may enable or sustain this behaviour. Specifically, how do coaches and directors involved in high-performance women’s gymnastics position themselves in relationship to these discourses to legitimize the ways they organize and coach it? We drew on a Foucauldian framework to analyse the technologies and rationalities used by directors and coaches of elite women’s gymnastics clubs to legitimize and challenge current coaching behaviours. The results of the 10 semi-structured interviews showed how coaches and directors legitimized coaching behaviour using discourses of pleasure, protection, performance and of coaching expertise and assigning responsibility for current coaching behaviour to athletes, parents, (other) coaches and global and national policies.
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The current article reports on the first large-scale prevalence study on interpersonal violence against children in sport in the Netherlands and Belgium. Using a dedicated online questionnaire, over 4,000 adults prescreened on having participated in organized sport before the age of 18 were surveyed with respect to their experiences with childhood psychological, physical, and sexual violence while playing sports. Being the first of its kind in the Netherlands and Belgium, our study has a sufficiently large sample taken from the general population, with a balanced gender ratio and wide variety in socio-demographic characteristics. The survey showed that 38% of all respondents reported experiences with psychological violence, 11% with physical violence, and 14% with sexual violence. Ethnic minority, lesbian/gay/bisexual (LGB) and disabled athletes, and those competing at the international level report significantly more experiences of interpersonal violence in sport.The results are consistent with rates obtained outside sport, underscoring the need for more research on interventions and systematic follow-ups, to minimize these negative experiences in youth sport. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213415003646
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On the 50th anniversary of the ISSA and IRSS, a leading sociologist of sport in Germany, Bettina Rulofs, considers scholarly inquiry into gender-based violence and child maltreatment in sport. Putting perspective on the increasing awareness of gender-based violence and child maltreatment in sport, Rulofs notes early resistance to research on these topics by a number of sport organizations in Germany. It is noted that inquiry in these areas, anchored in feminist advocacy, always had the challenge and opportunity to have research that illuminates harm and facilitates prevention policies. Continuing challenges come for research in illuminating harmful practices in a way that will overcome often entrenched apathy in sport clubs and associations. In the future, research on gender-based violence and child maltreatment in sport needs to close important gaps; foremost, evaluation research needs stimulation and there is a companion need internationally for comparative studies. Care in shaping this agenda is needed such that attention to child maltreatment does not dilute continued attention to gender power relation issues, sexual harassment and abuse.
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On the 50th anniversary of the ISSA and IRSS, a key foundational scholar on gender and sport, Kari Fasting, assesses sociological inquiry about sexual harassment in sport and its relation to the development of policy. The trajectory of this research on gender, sexual harassment and abuse (GSHA) in sport lies in feminist politics and advocacy. While sexual harassment and abuse in sport is widespread across sports, comparability in studies has been difficult due to issues of measurement and underreporting. Key challenges to doing research in this areas include difficulties in obtaining grant funding, access to and cooperation from athletes and perpetrators, and moral and ethical dilemmas in data gathering and reporting. Future work can build on recommendations by major organizations such as the IOC and UNICEF about organizational policies to curb sexual harassment and abuse; future research needs to advance systematic knowledge about the impact of policies and actions about sexual harassment and abuse in sport.
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Growing up in elite sport represents a challenging project. Young athletes must negotiate a career-defining transitional period while in the midst of adolescence. In this context, notably, the growth process can lead to health problems such as overloading and injuries. In this article, we investigate how adolescent elite athletes cope with problematic growth experiences. Taking a Bourdieusian perspective, we consider coping to be a socioculturally-located practice. Drawing on qualitative interviews and participant observation in German elite sport, our conversational analysis reveals five typical coping strategies among young athletes: (a) distancing, (b) rationalization, (c) active agency, (d) self-disciplining, and (e) responsibility transfer. We reflect on the health-compromising side effects of these strategies as well as the implications for the sporting community’s handling of growth problems.
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Sexual harassment at institutions of higher learning is not a new phenomenon, but discussions of this problem in the sporting arena and in related research are still scarce. Most studies have focused on student-instructor relationships, while few analyses have analysed coach-athlete relationships. This study examines American female college athletes' experiences with, and emotional responses to, sexual harassment in sport by coaches. The findings clearly demonstrate that the athletic world does not differ with regard to occurrences of sexual harassment compared to other social domains. Thus, in order to guarantee a safe learning environment in athletics for all participants, it is necessary to formulate clear guidelines, set up educational workshops and implement intervention programs.
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This study examined the traumatic sequelae associated with childhood sexual abuse from a contextualized perspective, taking into account childhood physical and psychological abuse experiences and adult trauma. Participants were 90 (45 men and 45 women) competitive athletes, purposefully selected to balance the distributions of sex and reported childhood sexual abuse across the sample. The study comprised a cross‐sectional, retrospective investigation using well‐established, standardized, self‐report questionnaires and a semi‐structured interviewResults revealed that, within the total sample, childhood sexual, physical, and psychological abuse were strongly correlated. Reported childhood psychological abuse was the primary unique correlate of current posttraumatic and dissociative symptomatology. Reported childhood sexual abuse and psychological abuse were uniquely correlated with posttraumatic and dissociative symptomatology in the male sample. The unique correlate in the female sample was childhood physical abuse.The study provides initial data that support recent work in the trauma field with non‐athletes, indicating that contextualized, trauma‐based assessment and intervention is an appropriate therapeutic approach when working with athlete‐survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Specifically, the long‐term traumatic sequelae associated with childhood sexual abuse need to be assessed and treated within a context that is sensitive to psychological abuse issues. Sex disaggregated analyses suggest that the social context of childhood sexual abuse may be qualitatively different for men and women. Implications for sport psychology practice, training, and research are discussed.
Article
The coach-athlete relationship is often one of the most important and influential relationships experienced by a young athlete.1 While coaches may have many positive influences on young athletes, emerging literature also indicates problems of abuse. In fact, recent research indicates that athletes are not immune from experiences of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.2 Furthermore, the power of the coach is thought to be a contributing risk factor in abusive relationships.3 The purpose of this study therefore was to investigate abused athletes' perceptions of the coach-athlete relationship. More specifically, we were interested in abused athletes' perceptions of the power held by the coach, and the influence of this power on an athlete's experience of abuse. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine previously abused athletes; four retired elite female gymnasts and five retired elite female swimmers. Consistent with previous research, the participants reflected upon the significant power held by the coach over the athlete. The findings contributed to existing literature by revealing specific ways in which the coach's power influenced the athletes' experiences of abuse and their ability to report incidences of maltreatment. These findings are discussed and recommendations are made for abuse prevention and future research.
Article
This article presents results from the first sports-specific sexual abuse study in Denmark. The aim of the study was to focus on the interpersonal relations between coaches and athletes and establish if and where boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable coach behaviour could be drawn. Furthermore it wanted to cast light on the process and types of behaviour expected to lead to sexual abuse. It should be emphasized that, in order to describe the attitudes and experiences of various kinds of coach behaviour, samples among both athletes and coaches have been used. Findings show a divergence in the way coaches and athletes respectively perceive and experience interactions of an instructional and non-instructional nature. The results of the questionnaire among athletes showed that 2 percent of athletes (N=3) were survivors of sexual abuse within sport. A considerable proportion of athletes reported that they had experienced various types of inappropriate coach behaviour during their sports careers. The second questionnaire, representing coaches at recreational through to elite sports level, revealed a widespread ignorance of legal regulations governing this area and documented that coaches had lax attitudes towards being intimate with athletes: 3 percent of coaches (N=6) openly admitted that they had been intimately involved with athletes under 18 years. The results of this study reinforce and support the grooming process theory earlier set out in social work research, and emphasize risk factors. They also raise possible strategies for prevention which could be of particular relevance to the Danish sports context.
Article
This study investigates the prevalence of emotional abuse of elite child athletes by their coaches in the UK. Previous research has focused primarily on the parent–child relationship, with little attention given to date on the sports environment. Participants were 12 former elite child athletes who competed as internationals in their respective age groups. All participants had been identified as elite athletes between the ages of 8 and 16 years (M = 13.1 yr, SD = 2.4 yr) and had competitive careers of between 6 and 10 years. Participants were from the sports of diving (N = 2), football (N = 3), gymnastics (N = 4), hockey, netball and track and field athletics (N = 1 each). The study was a retrospective analysis of their experiences as elite child athletes. (Age at interview: M = 22.9 yr, SD = 0.9 yr. male = 4, female = 8.) Thus, participants were reflecting on experiences from about 10 years previously, so their responses represented the residual impact of their experiences that had survived over this period. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and response-coding techniques. Abusive behaviours were categorized under eight headings: belittling, humiliating, shouting, scapegoating, rejecting, isolating, threatening and ignoring. Results showed that all (N = 12) of the participants reported experiencing belittling and shouting by their coach, nine athletes reported frequent threatening behaviour, nine reported frequent humiliation, seven reported scapegoating, six reported rejection or being ignored and four reported being isolated when they were elite child athletes. All participants reported that the behaviour of their coaches changed and became more negative after they were identified as elite performers. Participants reported feeling stupid, worthless, upset, less confident, humiliated, depressed, fearful and angry as a result of the behaviour of their coaches. The results provide tentative evidence that the behaviour of some coaches is a threat to the psychological well-being of elite child athletes. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
To synthesise reviews investigating physical activity and depression, anxiety, self-esteem and cognitive functioning in children and adolescents and to assess the association between sedentary behaviour and mental health by performing a brief review. Searches were performed in 2010. Inclusion criteria specified review articles reporting chronic physical activity and at least one mental health outcome that included depression, anxiety/stress, self-esteem and cognitive functioning in children or adolescents. Four review articles reported evidence concerning depression, four for anxiety, three for self-esteem and seven for cognitive functioning. Nine primary studies assessed associations between sedentary behaviour and mental health. Physical activity has potentially beneficial effects for reduced depression, but the evidence base is limited. Intervention designs are low in quality, and many reviews include cross-sectional studies. Physical activity interventions have been shown to have a small beneficial effect for reduced anxiety, but the evidence base is limited. Physical activity can lead to improvements in self-esteem, at least in the short term. However, there is a paucity of good quality research. Reviews on physical activity and cognitive functioning have provided evidence that routine physical activity can be associated with improved cognitive performance and academic achievement, but these associations are usually small and inconsistent. Primary studies showed consistent negative associations between mental health and sedentary behaviour. Association between physical activity and mental health in young people is evident, but research designs are often weak and effects are small to moderate. Evidence shows small but consistent associations between sedentary screen time and poorer mental health.
  • Buysse A.
Sexpert: Basisgegevens van de survey naar seksuele gezondheid in Vlaanderen [Sexpert: basic data on the survey on sexual health in Flanders
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Buysse, A., Enzlin, P., Lievens, J., T'Sjoen, G., van Houtte, M., Vermeersch, H., … Brants, S. (2013). Sexpert: Basisgegevens van de survey naar seksuele gezondheid in Vlaanderen [Sexpert: basic data on the survey on sexual health in Flanders]. Gent: Acadamia Press.
Child abuse in a sports setting
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Schellingerhout, R., & Ramakers, C. (2017). Scholierenonderzoek Kindermishandeling 2016 [School study Child Maltreatment 2016]. https://www.wodc.nl/binaries/2668B_Volledige_Tekst_ tcm28-257873.pdf
Interpersonal violence against children in sport in the Netherlands and Belgium
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Vertommen, T., Schipper-van Veldhoven, N., Wouters, K., Kampen, J. K., Brackenridge, C. H., Rhind, D. J. A., … Van Den Eede, F. (2016). Interpersonal violence against children in sport in the Netherlands and Belgium. Child Abuse & Neglect, 51, 223-236. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.10.006
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