Committed to Burnout: An investigation into the relationship between sport commitment and athlete burnout in Gaelic games players

Siobhán Woods1, Simon Dunne1, Siobhain McArdle2 and Pamela Gallagher1

1 School of Psychology, Dublin City University, Ireland
2 School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Ireland

This study examined the relationship between sports commitment, outlined in the hierarchical Sport Commitment Model, and athlete burnout in men and women playing Gaelic games, for the first time. These athletes experience a number of unique challenges, including playing with numerous teams simultaneously, significant personal commitment despite their amateur status, and the societal and cultural importance of their sports. This study also involved piloting a novel commitment measure of ‘team importance’ for team-sport athletes.
Two-hundred-and-one male and female Gaelic games players completed the Sports Commitment Questionnaire, team importance measure and Athlete Burnout Questionnaire.
Hierarchical Multiple Regression analyses revealed a negative relationship between sport enjoyment, social support (emotional) and desire to excel and particular burnout components; a positive relationship between other priorities and personal investments and particular burnout components; and enthusiastic commitment was associated with lower burnout, while constrained commitment was linked to higher burnout. The team importance measure was also found to be a reliable and valid measure of sports commitment. These findings provide important insight into how sports commitment can contribute to, or guard against, burnout in male and female athletes.

KEYWORDS: burnout, sport psychology, sport commitment model, Gaelic games