Lemyre, P. M., & Gustafsson, H. (2009). Motivation and burnout in elite athletes. A paper presented at the 14th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway, June 24-27.

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This study investigated parallel shifts in self-determined motivation and changes in burnout scores during a season of competition. National ski academy students (M = 31, F = 42) competing in cross-country skiing (N = 44) and ski orienteering (N = 29) were assessed weekly for 13 weeks. Ss answered a translated version of the Athlete Burnout Questionnaires (ABQ; Raedeke & Smith, 2001) and the Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS; Guay, Vallerand, & Blanchard, 2000).

There was a significant negative relationship between shifts in quality of motivation and changes in burnout scores over the 13-week period. Decrease in quality of motivation throughout the season was directly linked to an athlete’s susceptibility to experiencing feeling burned out. Furthermore, shifts in amotivation (an inability or unwillingness to participate in normal social situation ) throughout the season, were a very potent predictor of burn out.

Implication. Monitoring the quality of motivation of competitive athletes throughout the season should serve as a warning mechanism for participation outcomes such as exhaustion and burnout.

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