Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Former Olympic Athletes Can Battle Anxiety, Depression

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Part of the 2012 O...
2012 Olympic Games 'Games time' uniform (Photo credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
by Justin Norrie, Editor, The Conversation: http://theconversation.edu.au

The perfectionism and combative mindset essential to success for Olympic athletes can also disrupt the transition to life beyond elite sport and cause depression, according to an international study.

While many former Olympians make the adjustment smoothly and eventually excel at new projects, others struggle to cope with life away from intense training and competition.

Based on anonymous interviews with eight former summer and winter Olympians, Steven Rynne, from the University of Queensland’s School of Human Movement Studies, and colleagues from Switzerland and Britain said the process of changing social networks and re-entering the workforce could be overwhelming for competitors who require certain qualities to succeed in their sports.

“Given that Olympians require an exceptional range of characteristics such as determination and patience, one would assume that such characteristics would guarantee success in life after their sporting careers,“ Dr Rynne said. "Our research suggests that this is not always the case.

“Some characteristics have proved to be useful beyond sport such as organisation and persistence while others proved less useful. Submissiveness, perfectionism, and competitiveness were identified as the most problematic.”

One former athlete who participated in a “combat sport” said that the “egocentrism” crucial for success in competition was an impediment in later life. “Sport is like this: when you do competition sport, you think about you, what I’m going to do to beat my opponent,” he told the researchers.

To read further, go to: http://theconversation.edu.au/former-olympic-athletes-can-battle-anxiety-depression-8140?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+10+July+2012&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+10+July+2012+CID_3e4eaed16dd57c9dc7917f5ea1defd3d&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Former+Olympic+athletes+can+battle+anxiety+depression
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