Mindfulness Disposition Moderates the Effects of Preseason and Competition Demands on Psychological Strain in Athletes

Edward O. O'Connor, Alyson Crozier, Alistair Murphy, Maarten A. Immink

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Mindfulness disposition reflects the capacity for self-regulation of attentional
and emotional processes to bring awareness to present-moment
experiences. Athletes face a range of unique stressors in training and
competition that may challenge these self-regulatory processes and thus
pre-dispose athletes to increased risk of psychological strain. As such,
mindfulness disposition may be a protective factor against psychological
strain arising from the training and competition demands that athletes
experience across preseason and in-season phases. To test this prediction,
27 male South Australian National Football League athletes (Mage = 22.3
± 3.2 years) completed the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)
and the Athlete Psychological Strain Questionnaire (APSQ) prior to season
commencement. The APSQ was again completed towards the end of the 14-
week 2020 competitive season. None of the athletes reported formal
mindfulness training. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were calculated
between MAAS scores and APSQ total and self-regulation, performance,
and external coping subscale scores. There were significant negative
correlations between mindfulness and total strain at preseason, r(25) = -
.48, p < .05, and season end, r(25) = -.56, p < .01. More specifically, MAAS
scores demonstrated a significant negative correlation with the APSQ self regulation subscale at preseason, r(25) = -.71, p < .001, while during the
season a significant negative correlation was observed between mindfulness
disposition and APSQ performance subscale, r(25) = -.59, p < .01. These
findings support the notion that higher mindfulness disposition may serve as
a protective factor against psychological strain in athletes. In preseason,
mindfulness disposition may reduce psychological strain through greater
self-regulation. During the season, mindfulness disposition may moderate
psychological strain by reducing performance-related distress including
worry about form and selection pressures. Funding source: Australian
Government Research Training Program Scholarship; Norwood Football
Club Performance Sports Collaboration Scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S81
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue numberSupplement
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Event2021 North American Society for Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Conference - Virtual Conference
Duration: 9 Jun 202111 Jun 2021


  • Mindfulness
  • Sport psychology
  • Psychological stress


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