Self-compassion and motivational climate as promotive factors of resilience in youth athletes


Resilience has been identified as a key psychological characteristic of successful and well-adapted athletes and is a critical component in athlete development (Rees et al., 2016). Promotive factors of resilience include assets, or skills within an individual, and resources, which is support outside the individual. The purpose of this study was to examine self-compassion and motivational climate as potential promotive factors of resilience in youth athletes. Athletes (N = 117; 87 female; M age = 14.73 years, SD = 1.89) completed the Self-Compassion Scale, Motivational Climate Scale for Youth, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Flourishing Scale, and Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale. Self-compassion (r = .57, p< .01) and a mastery motivational climate (r = .21, p< .05) were related to resilience. Self-compassion was also related to flourishing (r = .66) and mental well-being (r = .64; both p< .01). Mastery climate was related to mental well-being (r = .19, p< .05). While the present data are cross-sectional in nature and cannot imply causation, past research suggests these promotive factors are modifiable and can be targeted through intervention and promotion efforts (Mosewich et al., 2013; Smith et al., 2007). Motivational climate has been explored in previous research as a resource for promoting resilience (e.g., Vitali et al., 2015); however, self-compassion represents a potential asset that has been overlooked in the sport context in terms of resilience development. Further consideration of the role of self-compassion in fostering resilience among athletes may support management of sport demands and the development and maintenance of well-being.

Acknowledgments: Supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada