Exploring the myths of self-compassion in high performance coaching with emphasis on sustainability

Exploring the myths of self-compassion in high performance coaching with emphasis on sustainability


  • Göran Kenttä


  • Institutionen för fysiologi, nutrition och biomekanik, FNB


  • Centrum för Idrottsforskning


Nedan kan du läsa sammanfattningar om projektet på engelska och/eller svenska. Informationen hämtas från publikationsdatabasen DiVA.

In Sweden, depression, anxiety and stress related disorders together represent 90% of sick leave due to poor mental health. Sport science and practice has consistently highlighted the importance of safe, sound and solid leadership to success in sport. Nevertheless, coaches in elite sports face increasingly high demands which are both prevalent and problematic (Olusoga, Bentzen, & Kentta, 2019). Consequently, prevention of poor mental health and promotion of well-being has received growing attention in sport (Schinke, Stambulova, Si, & Moore, 2018).

Unfortunately, mental health problems are often tarnished with stigma and are poorly understood within society and limited mental health intervention research exists. This stigma is greater in high-performance sports, and mental health problems are typically seen as a vulnerability and a sign of weakness, and consequently there are high thresholds for help-seeking within this population (Gulliver et al, 2012). Thus, the overall purpose with this project is to advance theoretical and applied knowledge of sustainable leadership and mental health among high-performance coaches based on self-compassion theory. More specifically, the goal is to further develop and evaluate a method to increase sustainability and mental health that is applicable in the demanding life of high-performance coaches by refining and implementing a user-friendly method based on a Short-Message-Service (SMS) diary.

This project will consist of a rigorous study using a mixed method design in order to carefully test and evaluate the SMS-diary intervention with a limited number of coaches and their athletes. In addition, staff members in the selected coaching teams will serve as a control-group in order to conduct a quasi-experimental design. Quantitative data will be used to explore the correlations and meaning of daily self-ratings of energy, mood and compassionate behavior ( i.e., self-care behavior) data. Moreover, standardized and validated measures of selfcompassion and mental health will be collected at baseline, end of intervention and at both 3- and 6-months followup. Qualitative data will be collected at the end of the interventions and at 3- and 6-months post by conducting focusgroup-interviews to evaluate the perceived effectiveness of the intervention. The novelty of this research project is to explore sustainable leadership including the coach-athlete relationship based on self-compassion theory.



  • 2021 - 2022


  • Projektbidrag

Nationell ämneskategori

  • Psykologi