Resilience, psychological skills, and well-being in youth athletes


Resilience is an important characteristic for athlete development and well-being (Rees et al., 2016). This study examined cross-sectional relations between psychological skills, resilience, and well-being in youth athletes. Athletes (N = 204; 101 boys; 103 girls; age M = 15.36 years, SD = 1.86) participating in an ongoing study on athlete development completed the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale. Bivariate correlations and simple mediation models were used to examine relations between psychological skills, resilience, and well-being. The composite score for psychological skills was related (p<.001) to resilience (r = .65) and well-being (r = .27). At a subscale level, psychological skills of coping with adversity, concentration, confidence/achievement motivation, and peaking under pressure were significantly related to resilience (r = .32-.46, ps<.001) and well-being (r = .22-.39, ps<.01). Goal setting / mental preparation was related to resilience (r=.32, p<.001) and coachability was related to well-being (r=.32, p=.001). Psychological skills (composite), coping with adversity, confidence / achievement motivation, concentration, goal-setting / mental preparation, and peaking under pressure were indirectly related to well-being through resilience. Within these models, psychological skills (composite), coping with adversity, and confidence/achievement motivation also had significant direct effects with well-being. These data were cross-sectional and cannot imply causation. Nonetheless, given there is evidence that psychological skills and characteristics are modifiable and can be targeted through intervention and promotion efforts (Dohme et al., 2019), these findings suggest that targeting psychological skills to promote resilience may directly and indirectly support well-being among young athletes.

Acknowledgments: Supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada