Burnout: A Darker Side to Performance

Kate I. Goodger and Martin I. Jones

in The Oxford Handbook of Sport and Performance Psychology

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199731763
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Burnout: A Darker Side to Performance

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The struggle of the human spirit to fulfil potential and accomplish excellence in the competitive and challenging environments of high performance is at the heart of sport and performance psychology. However, a lurking negative consequence of an individual's effortful striving is the possibility of burnout. The concept originated in the health care domain as a syndrome that scholars and practitioners believe results from chronic exposure to stress. It is characterized by three key dimensions: exhaustion, inefficacy, and cynicism. Since its inception, the concept of burnout has been transposed across a range of social contexts, with a growing literature that has examined burnout specifically among athletes and coaches. This chapter seeks to compare the sport psychology and professional burnout literatures to provide an overview of how to recognize, avoid, and reduce and remove burnout. Burnout intervention approaches have shifted from mitigating burnout to enhancing “engagement,” which is its conceptual opposite (i.e., energy, efficacy, and involvement). Consequently, the concept of engagement is explored and proposed as an important intervention strategy to consider for those working with performers across domains. The chapter concludes with a summary and look at future directions in this field.

Keywords: Burnout; overtraining; stress; job stress; depression; fatigue; exhaustion; health; performance; motivation; commitment; engagement; disengagement; positive psychology; identity

Article.  14463 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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