Self-compassion and psychological skills as predictors of resilience and well-being among youth athletes


Longitudinal tracking of psychosocial factors will help to understand and support athlete development and well-being (Eime et al., 2015; Vierimaa et al., 2012). The objective of our longitudinal program of research is to examine the trajectories of change in psychosocial skills, resources, resilience, and well-being among adolescent athletes participating in sport programming guided by Canada's Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) framework. As part of this research, we used latent growth curve modeling to examine psychosocial skills and resources as predictors of well-being and resilience over time. Sixty-eight (23 boys) youth athletes (Mage = 14.80 years at Time 1, SDage = 1.78) completed measures of well-being (Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale), resilience (10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale), self-compassion (Self-Compassion Scale), motivational climate (Motivational Climate for Youth Sports Questionnaire), and psychological skills (Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28) at three time points, approximately three months apart. Baseline models indicate variability in resilience and well-being over time. Predictive models suggest self-compassion (p=.001) and psychological skills (p=.001) at Time 1 predicted a (positive) rate of change in resilience over the three time points. Self-compassion (p=.008) and psychological skill (p=.008) at Time 1 also predicted a (positive) rate of change in well-being over the same period of time. Fit indices were acceptable for all models (CFI >.95, TLI >.95, RMSEA <.10). Neither mastery-initiating nor ego-initiating motivational climate were significant predictors of well-being or resilience over time. Systematic integration of self-compassion and psychological skills training may support the promotion and maintenance of well-being and resilience in young athletes.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.