Stress and recovery in athletes and their relationship to mood state disturbances and coping strategies

Olga Molinero González, Alfonos Salguero Del Valle, Sara Márquez Rosa


The aim of this study was to assess situations related to overtraining within the context of sport (RESTQ-Sport, Kellmann, and Kallus, 2001; González-Boto et al., 2008c) and identify its temporal relationship with mood state disturbances (POMS, McNair et al., 1971; Balaguer et al., 1993) and its possible influence on the appearance of imbalances between stress and recovery according to the coping strategies used to deal with stress (ISCCS, Gaudreau and Blondin, 2002; Molinero et al., 2006, 2008, 2009). A total of 167 athletes (62.5% men, and 36.9% women) ranging in age from 18 to 28 years old in 11 sport modalities participated in the study.The results showed that modifications took place during the three measurements made of the levels of general stress (p = .027*), conflict/ pressure (p = .000**), fatigue (p = .000**), general wellbeing (p = .022*), burnout/ emotional fatigue (p = .009**), physical fitness/ injuries (p = .000**), burnout/personal accomplishment (p = .000**), self-regulation (p = .000**), non-sport stress (p = .006**), sport stress (p = .001**), sport recovery (p = .000**), and total stress (p = .001**), which had changed compared with the main indices assessed by the RESTQ Sport. At the emotional level, we observed changes in the levels of depression (p = .040*), anger, (p = .006**), confusion (p = 036*) and total mood disturbance (p = .041*). We did not find any changes in the coping strategies used.

According to these results, it is necessary to pay more attention to temporal changes during recovery, because they may lead to positive adaptations after overtraining periods and their relationship to athletes’ mood states, which have usually been used as fatigue indicators (González-Boto et al., 2009; Kellmann et al., 2001; Rietjens et al., 2005). Athletes use a number of coping strategies that may lead in different ways to the balance between stress and recovery and therefore, the possible triggering of overtraining (Márquez, 2006; González Boto et al., 2006, 2008a, 2009).

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Copyright (c) 2012 Olga Molinero González, Alfonos Salguero Del Valle, Sara Márquez Rosa