A Longitudinal Examination of Stress and Mental Ill-/Well-Being in Elite Football Coaches

Lee Baldock, Brendan Cropley, Stephen Mellalieu, Rich Neil

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A novel concurrent, independent mixed-methods research design was adopted to explore elite association football coaches’ stress and mental ill/well-being experiences over the course of an entire season. Elite coaches (n = 18) completed measures of perceived stressor severity, coping effectiveness, and mental ill/well-being, with a sample (n = 8) also participating in semi-structured interviews, across four time points. Linear mixed model and retroductive analyses revealed: (a) lower mental well-being at the beginning of the season, due to negative appraisals/responses to stressors and ineffective coping attempts; (b) higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation at the end of the season; (c) stressors high in severity led to decreased mental well-being (unless coaches coped effectively), and increased symptoms associated with burnout; and (d) ineffective coping attempts led to increased emotional exhaustion. These findings offer novel insight into the specific components of elite football coaches’ stress experiences influencing their mental ill/well-being over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalThe Sport Psychologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022


  • demands
  • appraisals
  • coping
  • soccer
  • psychological ill-being
  • psychological well-being


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