Ibero-American Journal of Exercise and Sports Psychology

MINDFULL COMPASSION TRAINING ON ELITE SOCCER: EFFECTS, ROLES AND ASSOCIATIONS ON FLOW, PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS AND THOUGHT SUPPRESSION

Abstract

Bruno Carraça, Sidónio Serpa, António Rosado, Joan Palmi Guerrero, Catia Magalhaes

Research on mindfulness and self-compassion has suggested that these closely related constructs are also strongly related to flow, psychological distress, experiential avoidance and thought suppression. Despite the potential of this approach, literature in respect to the relation and role of these constructs in the sport context is scarce, particularly in soccer. The current study explored relations among self-compassion, mindfulness, psychological flexibility, and psychological distress (including anxiety), thought suppression and flow state, through the implementation of Mindfulness-Based Soccer Program (MBPSoccerP) for elite athletes. This study also analyzed the influence of baseline psychological flexibility, self-compassion and mindfulness facets on psychological distress, anxiety, flow and thought suppression measures at post-intervention. Methods: A quasi-experimental design was used and involved a pre-/post-pilot study and paired t-tests, pearsons correlations and hieraquical regression analyses were conducted to determine the common and unique variance in sport context predicted by these constructs and to compare their relative predictive strength in a nonclinical sample of elite soccer players -Portuguese 2º league (n=57; Mage = 25.79 years, SD = 3.3)
Results: Findings showed self-compassion, mindfulness and psychological flexibility were negative associated with psychological distress (including anxiety) and thought suppression; and positively related to flow. In support, self-compassion, mindfulness and experiential avoidance explained variance beyond psychological distress (including anxiety), thought suppression and flow.
Conclusions: Results suggest that mindfulness, self-compassion and psychological flexibility development may be beneficial in cultivating positive sport experience and flow state and less psychological distress and thought suppression.

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