Athletes’ Psychological Adaptation to Confinement Due to COVID-19: A Longitudinal Study
EntityUAM. Departamento de Psicología Biológica y de la Salud
PublisherFrontiers Media SA
10.3389/fpsyg.2020.613495Frontiers In Psychology 11 (2021): 613495
Subjectsconfinement; COVID-19; mental health; physical activity; psychological adaptation; sport; Psicología
Rights© 2021 The Authors
Esta obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución 4.0 Internacional.
Studies of individuals under conditions of confinement or severe social and physical restrictions have consistently shown deleterious mental health effects but also high levels of adaptability when dealing with such conditions. Considering the role of physical activity and sport in psychological adaptation, this paper describes a longitudinal study to explore to what extent the imposed restrictions due to the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 may have affected athletes’ mental health outcomes and how far the process of adaptation to confinement conditions is differentially affected depending on whether the sports activity was practiced individually or in a group, and outdoors, indoors, or both. Two hundred and seventy-four athletes were assessed over 7 weeks using the GHQ-28 and an ad hoc survey exploring the practice of physical activity. A mixed-model fixed effects ANCOVA was used to analyze the effects of time, place, and company in which the sport was practiced, with an index of the amount of physical activity expended as a covariate. Results show a significant effect of time in three out of four of the GHQ-28 subscales, in all cases showing a consistent adaptation to conditions over time. Results also show that playing sport indoors, outdoors, or both, and practicing alone vs. with others differentially affect the somatic symptoms exhibited during confinement: Athletes who practiced sport with others showed higher levels of somatic symptoms at the beginning of the set of data but a quicker rate of adaptation. Differences arising from practicing sport alone or with others were more pronounced in the case of indoor sports, which could be related to the fact that physical activity that can be practiced during confinement is more similar to that practiced indoors alone. Implications relating to what sport psychologists and other health professionals may offer to athletes in stressful situations are discussed
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