Resilience in sport: The development of a resilience program for young athletes

Varela, Sharon (2017). Resilience in sport: The development of a resilience program for young athletes PhD Thesis, School of Education, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2017.405

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Author Varela, Sharon
Thesis Title Resilience in sport: The development of a resilience program for young athletes
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2017.405
Publication date 2017-03-16
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Stephanie Hanrahan
Paula Barrett
Robyn Gillies
Total pages 186
Total colour pages 11
Total black and white pages 175
Language eng
Subjects 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
111712 Health Promotion
170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology
Formatted abstract
A focus on positive youth development (PYD) is becoming increasingly important as a way
to build young peoples’ strengths and in doing so, help prevent the incidence and prevalence of
developmental and mental health concerns which continue to rise in our youth population.
Resilience is argued to be a forerunner to PYD and is defined as a person’s positive adaption to
developmental tasks and life stressors that are based on individual factors and
environmental/contextual factors. Sport affords a unique platform to target resilience skills in young
people, because it provides young people with an opportunity to access role models and mentors
outside of a school or home environment. The benefits of being involved with sport are many;
however, there is also a negative side to sport participation. The absence of role modelling, or the
promotion of antisocial behaviours can result in negative outcomes at worst, or an absence of
positive outcomes at best. Influencing the outcomes from sport participation could mitigate these
negative effects. This thesis extends on the current body of knowledge in the areas of resilience,
positive youth development, and the train-the-trainer (TTT) model of delivery.

This thesis provides an original contribution to knowledge in the area of youth resilience and
sport-based resilience programs, through the development of a resilience program (i.e., RIS
program) for a youth competitive sport environment. The RIS program was adapted from the
FRIENDS for Life program developed by Dr. Paula Barrett. At the time of thesis commencement,
there were no sports-based resilience programs that targeted factors associated with a transactionalecological
theory of resilience, and that could be used with a youth sample in a competitive sport
environment. This thesis focused on the development of a resilience program and TTT resources;
consideration of the efficacy of applying a TTT model to program delivery; and then examined the
efficacy of the RIS program in two environments (representative sport and community sport).
Study 1 examined the RIS program delivered in a male state representative football
environment. This study was the first evaluating the RIS program, and only one of a few programs
cited in the literature that was developed to target resilience using a transactional-ecological theory
in a competitive sport environment. The aim of Study 1 was to evaluate intervention effects
immediately following delivery of the RIS program. Findings revealed significant increases for
post-intervention resilience scores at the total scale level, but at the subscale level there were only
significant increases for the relationship with caregivers subscale (the individual’s perception of the
psychological and physical care they receive from their caregiver).

Study 2A and 2B examined the efficacy of the RIS program in a male state representative
sport environment, using a TTT model. These studies were the first evaluating the RIS program
using a TTT model, and only one of a few programs cited in the literature that was developed to
target resilience in a competitive sport environment using a TTT model of delivery. Significant
increases were only reported on two subscales (context and individual) with no significant increase
on the caregivers subscale, or at the full-scale level. Feedback from the participants and the
coaching team was used to improve the RIS program and the TTT resources. These studies
highlighted the need to invest in processes and procedures that provided more support to the trainer,
and targeted confidence in teaching resilience skills and knowledge/expertise. The suitability of the
measures used in Studies 1 and 2B was also questioned, with indirect measures, such as selfefficacy
and satisfaction with life, being proposed as being more closely aligned with the
transactional-ecological theory of resilience.

Study 3A evaluated the effectiveness of the revised RIS facilitator workshop in increasing
the participants’ general knowledge, positive attitude towards teaching resilience skills, and
confidence in teaching resilience skills. This was the first study evaluating the effectiveness of the
revised RIS facilitator workshop, and only one of a few studies that assesses the effectiveness of a
TTT workshop. At the sample level, significant increases in general knowledge and confidence in
teaching resilience skills were reported; however, there was no significant change in attitude
towards teaching resilience skills, which remained stable across both time points. When the sample
was split by reported resilience levels, significant increases in confidence in teaching resilience
skills were only reported for participants who identified as having moderate-high/high levels of
resilience.

Study 3B examined the RIS program delivered in a community-rowing environment using a
TTT model. This was the first time the RIS program had been trialled in a community-sport setting
with a more ethnically diverse population, and with male and female athletes. Theoretically, this
study shifted from measuring resilience directly to measuring resilience indirectly through
secondary measures (i.e., self-efficacy, satisfaction with life, and perceived stress). These changes
were supported by the literature, and provided an opportunity to extend current knowledge. A
correlational analysis provided support for the hypothesis that perceived stress has an inverse
relationship with self-efficacy and satisfaction with life. The results from this research suggested
that elements of the RIS program influence participants differently, with rowing competition level,
gender, and ethnicity/race influencing outcomes. Overall, the RIS program was found to be
efficacious in the environments in which it was tested, with some limitations identified.
Recommendations were made for future research directions for the current researcher and more
broadly.
Keyword Positive youth development
Positive youth psychology
resilience
resilience programs
sports-based programs
train-the-trainer
coach-led resilience program
community-based sport
Representative sport
Youth sport

Document type: Thesis
Collections: UQ Theses (RHD) - Official
UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
 
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Created: Fri, 03 Mar 2017, 14:08:38 EST by Mrs Sharon Varela on behalf of University of Queensland Graduate School