Burnout symptoms in elite athletes: Assessing the role of effort–reward imbalance, support and emotions

Celine Hilpisch*, Karsten Krüger, Markus Raab, Lena Wiese, Karen Zentgraf, Michael Mutz

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on theories from the sociology of work and organizations, such as Leiter and Maslach's concept of burnout and Siegrist's model of effort–reward imbalance, this paper argues that burnout symptoms in elite sport are related to a mismatch of investment and gratification. Building on data from a sample of German elite athletes (N = 312), findings show that high time investments for training and competitions, the experience of time and role conflicts and negative emotions related to daily training are associated with more burnout symptoms, while sporting success, social support and training-related positive emotions are associated with lower burnout scores. Vulnerability to burnout is increased in situations that qualify as gratification crises, in which athletes perceive that high time commitment does not pay off in terms of sporting success.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
ISSN1012-6902
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 08.05.2024

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