Personality resource mobilizing in psychological support service to athletes

Dr. Psych., Professor E.A. Petrova1
PhD, Associate Professor L.V. Senkevich1
PhD D.A. Jafar-Zade1
PhD, associate professor A.V. Romanova1
1Russian State Social University, Moscow

Keywords: sport psychology, counseling, personality resource, activity, coping strategies, purpose-in-life orientation, satisfaction, psychological support.

Introduction. The analysis of the recent research findings in the field of sport psychology shows that the psychological structure of sports activity and the best known effects of the psychological mechanisms are associated with the level of engagement, optimism, coping strategies, overall level of meaning in life, which significance is determined by the use of the internal psychological potential and is defined as personal resources [5, 8].

Actualization of personal resources in terms of sports counseling is aimed to master productive ways of coping, increasing vitality, optimizing life purposes and developing an optimistic attributive style, activating and reframing qualities realized in sports activities, which contributes to full involvement, activity in difficult life situations, internal harmony and satisfaction of athletes [2].

 For the purpose of regular and intensive development of personal resources of young academic athletes, psychologists need to implement psychological support programs and even join in the organization of training sessions, contributing to both improvement of their physical abilities and personal self-improvement, which will make it possible to determine individual trajectories of professional and personal development .

Objective of the study was to substantiate actualization of behavioral activity, coping strategies, purpose-in-life orientation, satisfaction as personal resources in sports counseling.

Methods and structure of the study. The study was conducted in 2017-2018 in three stages. At the first stage, we examined the 17-23 year-old students of faculties of physical education from a few Moscow universities, professionally involved in various sports (n=100, including 53 young males and 47 females). The study was carried out on the basis of the Psychological Support Center of Russian State Social University and Institute of Physical Education, Sport and Health of Moscow State Pedagogical University. In the course of the psychodiagnostic studies, the following methods were used: Optimism and Activity Scale developed by I.S. Schuller and A.L. Kommuniani and adapted by N.E. Vodopyanova and M.V. Stein (the method is aimed to identify the levels of activity and optimism [1]), “Satisfaction With Life Scale" developed by A. Diener and adapted by D.A. Leontiev and E.N. Osin, designed to rate global cognitive judgments about satisfaction with one’s life (neither positive nor negative), as well as evaluate the level of man’s satisfaction as a systemic quality and a behavioral factor directed towards the future [7, 4], Purpose-in-Life Test developed by D. Crambo and L. Maholick and adapted by D.A. Leontiev, which helps determine the components and overall level of meaning in life [3], Ways of coping questionnaire by R. Lasarus and S. Folkman and adapted by T.L. Kryukova and E.V. Kuftyak, aimed to study various strategies of coping with stresses [2].

Based on the research findings, the sample was split up into two groups: Group 1 (73 subjects, including 40 young males and 33 females) with relatively high satisfaction rates, life values, optimism, activity and productive coping strategies; and Group 2 (27 subjects, including 11 young males and 16 females) with relatively low satisfaction rates, life values, optimism, activity and coping strategies efficiency rates. At the second stage of the study, Group 2 was given individual and group psychological support service (two meetings per week) for 3 months.

At the final, third stage of the study, upon completion of the psychological support program, both of the groups were tested again to rate their progress. We used the same methods as at the first stage, plus a comparative analysis of the indicators obtained in Group 2 at the first and second stages to determine the quantitative and qualitative changes occurring after work with the psychologists, as well as the success of counseling.

Results and discussion. Based on the results of the initial diagnostics conducted at the first stage, Group 2 athletes were involved in the psychological support program using various consultative, psycho-correctional and psychotherapeutic tools.

At the final, third stage of the study, we conducted the comparative analysis of the indicators obtained in Group 2 before and after working with the psychologists, and thus assessed the positivity and effectiveness of counseling.

As a result, we received the promising data on further success of this kind of psychological support.

Thus, the definition of the ways to overcome difficulties (coping mechanisms, coping strategies) after counseling shows that the situation had changed significantly: now, the athletes of the experimental group (Group 2) were more prone to positive revaluation, i.e. productive coping strategy, when their behavior was aimed at the personal growth, and they made efforts to create a positive meaning of the situation (group mean: 45.3 before and 55.0 after counseling). The data on the coping strategy “decision-making” changed significantly as well (group mean: 46.9 before and 65.3 after counseling).

The study on the purpose-in-life orientation upon completion of the psychological support program revealed changes in all the indicators of locus of control and purpose-in-life orientation: pronounced differences in the overall level of meaning in life (average values - 77.3 before and 98.1 after counseling), data on the Life locus of control (22.6 before and 30 after counseling), the “Life values and priorities” scale (20.3 before and 29.8 after counseling), which indicated the presence of future expectations that give life meaning and perspective.

We also conducted a repeated psychodiagnostics of a certain personal activity of the athletes, regulating their life activity, responsibility, stress tolerance, decision-making, which determine optimism: the data obtained indicate the differences in the activity indicators before and after the psychological support service: the mean group values ​​equaled to 20.1 and 29.7 points, respectively, the differences in the optimism levels were at the level of trend (p<0.01).

The total life satisfaction was also tested to improve (group mean: 14.8 before and 22.5 after counseling). As a result, 32% of athletes of Group 2 were found to have high satisfaction with life, which may indicate the presence of the properties, qualities and important determinants of behavior directed towards the future.

In light of the above, the overall picture of progress in the personality resource related aspects demonstrates that the regular and targeted psychological support affected (significant differences at p<0.05) the athletes’ coping strategies and their purpose-in-life orientation, and, as a result, their activity and optimism, and overall satisfaction with life.

Therefore, we proved the success, effectiveness and significance of the counseling service model. At the same time, it should be noted that some indicators changed at the level of trend, which, is probably associated with the psychological support service duration (3 months only) and requires further research. And, of course, counseling should be used as both means of prompt psychological assistance and regular support aimed to form, correct and develop he athletes’ personal resources, affecting their sports activities, success and mental health [6].

Conclusion. The problem of improving modern psychological support service and system of athletic training is an independent subject of research, which includes optimization of various psychological factors; however, despite the existing solutions for most aspects of mental conditioning of athletes, the specifics of sports counseling and determination of the models for diagnosing and developing personal resources of athletes are still understudied.

The empirical study, as well as the scheduled studies, provide the basis for further implementation of psychological programs, actualization of personal resources as a direction sports counseling.


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Objective of the study was to rate benefits of the personality resource mobilizing and activation driven by productive coping strategies and life values and priorities to attain mental comfort in the psychological service to athletes. Sampled for the study were the 17-23 year old (n=100) academic athletes from a few Moscow universities. At the first stage of the study the sample was split up into Group 1 with high reported satisfaction rates, life values, optimism, activity and productive coping strategies; and Group 2 with relatively low satisfaction rates, life values, optimism, activity and coping strategies efficiency rates. At the second stage of the study, Group 2 was given individual and group psychological support service (two meetings per week) for 3 months. At the third and final stage, both of the groups were tested again to rate their progress. The pre- versus post-experimental tests showed significant (р<0.05) progress in many personality resource related aspects – both in the coping strategies productivity (alienation, decision-making) and life values and priorities (life goals, process, result, Self locus of control, Life locus of control, and overall satisfaction with life). The group activity and optimism and the total life satisfaction was tested to improve and, therefore, such counseling service model may be recommended to mobilize the personality resource, albeit further studies are needed to analyze the potential personality resource mobilization issues in the context of the modern sport psychology.