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Practicing What We Preach by Hannah McCormack


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Hannah McCormack Msc. University Limerick, Psychology Matters Day.

Sport psychologists work to ensure that an athlete is mentally prepared for performance and safeguarding their well-being. Sport psychologists are increasingly employed to assist athletes, coaches and support staff in high-performance sport systems (e.g. Munster Rugby). Mental health disorder and psychological distress are commonplace within athletic settings. The causes are complex but athletes are often denied autonomy, train excessively and lack knowledge around self-care, well-being and mental health. Sport, by its nature, has competitive stress and occurs within a culture (organizational stress). The question is whether practitioner sport psychologists are immune to these stressors and are armed with the appropriate skills and social support. If they lack the coping skills and their well-being is under threat this could have a major impact on the athletes’ welfare too. Research suggests that they are highly engaged workers often working 12 hour days. Those who used peer support in their work setting fared better than those whose relied upon the external social support. Lack of training in self-care was evident but exercise and mindfulness were used to de-stress. Lessons learned are that formal training in self-care and well-being are required even for those whose primary role is to promote it.

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Practicing What We Preach by Hannah McCormack

  1. 1. Practicing What We Preach Hannah McCormack MSc. @HmbvMc Hannah_Mccormack3
  2. 2. Who’s in your circle?
  3. 3. Protecting your well-being • What is well-being? • Hedonic well-being relates to pleasure attainment and pain avoidance. • Eudaimonic well-being relates to the degree to which you are fully functioning as a person.
  4. 4. Resources Hobfoll, S. E. (2001). The influence of culture, community, and the nested‐self in the stress process: advancing conservation of resources theory. Applied psychology, 50(3), 337-421.
  5. 5. Resources Personal • Self-efficacy • Mindfulness • Resilience • Savouring • Recovery Job Based • Social Support • Opportunities for development • Leader – member exchange • Job Crafting Halbesleben, J. R., Neveu, J. P., Paustian-Underdahl, S. C., & Westman, M. (2014). Getting to the “COR” understanding the role of resources in conservation of resources theory. Journal of Management, 0149206314527130.
  6. 6. Burning Out “People Work” Exhaustion Depersonalization Personal Competence Maslach, C. (2003). Job burnout new directions in research and intervention. Current directions in psychological science, 12(5), 189-192.
  7. 7. Work Engagement Energy Involvement Efficacy Vigour Dedication Absorption Bakker, A. B., Schaufeli, W. B., Leiter, M. P., & Taris, T. W. (2008). Work engagement: An emerging concept in occupational health psychology. Work & Stress, 22(3), 187-200.
  8. 8. Work Engagement & Burnout
  9. 9. Workaholism Negative effects of Workaholism: ▪ Decreased physical and psychological health. ▪ Lower Job satisfaction. ▪ Greater work-life conflict. ▪ Poorer work-life fit. ▪ Decrease in relationship quality. Sussman, S. (2012). Workaholism: A review. Journal of addiction research & therapy, (1).
  10. 10. Optimism
  11. 11. Tips for work based well-being from Sport Psychologists • Self Care • Resources • Detaching from work • Walsh’s (2011) Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLCs) Walsh, R. (2011). Lifestyle and mental health. American Psychologist, 66(7), 579.
  12. 12. Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes TLCs Exercise Nutrition &Diet Relationships Recreation & Enjoyable Activities Relaxation & Stress Management Religious & Spiritual Involvement Contribution & Service Walsh, R. (2011). Lifestyle and mental health. American Psychologist, 66(7), 579.
  13. 13. Tips for work based well-being from Sport Psychologists McCormack, H. M., MacIntyre, T. E., O’Shea, D., Campbell, M. J., & Igou, E. R. (2015). Practicing what we preach: Investigating the role of social support in sport psychologists’ well-being. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 1854.
  14. 14. Thank You for Listening