Psychosocial outcomes in sport: Context-specific rumination for adolescent girls


Despite the benefits that sport participation can provide, adolescent girls are at least 3 times more likely to stop engaging in sport than adolescent boys. Body image processes have been identified as critical factors in hindering or supporting sport experiences for adolescent girls, yet are often not compared with other sport-specific processes. This study tested sport-specific and body-specific rumination (i.e., repetitive thinking, dwelling on negative feelings and consequences) as correlates of psychosocial outcomes among girl athletes. Adolescent girl athletes (N=619; M(SD) age = 14(1.34) years, involved in sport = 7(3.5) years, 67% at a competitive level) completed surveys at baseline and one year later. Regression models controlled for age, years involved in sport, competitive status, and body mass index. In cross-sectional analyses, body- and sport-specific rumination were independent significant (p < .05) correlates of flourishing (ß=-.10 & -.18; R2=.06), self-compassion (ß=-.49 & -.19; R2=.37), physical self-esteem (ß=-.14 & -.30; R2=.24), and sport anxiety (ß=.41 & .12; R2=.22) and commitment [OR(95%CI) = .65(.55-.77) & 1.59 (1.16-2.18)]. Body-specific but not sport-rumination was a correlate for enjoyment [OR(95%CI) =.76(.65-.89)]. Generally, these findings were consistent a year later in longitudinal analyses and suggest rumination processes negatively impact sport experiences for girls. Neither body- or sport-specific rumination directly predicted dropout a year later (p=.05 & .06). These results provide valuable insight for sport professionals to identify, evaluate, and design programs to prioritize and address the needs of girls in sport.