Research Topic

Wellbeing and Quality of Life in Elite Sports: Towards Evidence-Based Approaches for Psychological Health Promotion and Proactive Support

About this Research Topic

Elite athletes and coaches are exposed to various sport-related stressors that in combination with normal life-stressors may impact on their mental health. Mental health research with elite athletes and coaches has been primarily focused on the investigation of mental ill-being and mental health disorders. However, as scholars of athlete wellbeing, we believe that focusing on proactive strategies targeted at promoting wellbeing among elite athletes and coaches is preferable to treating already developed concerns. Proactive strategies involve support in developing psychosocial resources to stay functional and flourishing over time in the elite sports environment. In the scientific literature, there is a lack of empirically-based knowledge about protective factors and wellbeing promotion interventions in elite sports settings, as well as valid assessment approaches for use in elite sports. Moreover, little is known of elite athletes’ idiosyncratic experiences of flourishing and quality of life (QOL), which is essential information that is needed to increase the holistic understanding of elite athletes’ mental health in the elite sport environment.

Despite a dramatic increase over recent years in the number of studies investigating mental health among elite athletes, such studies have (to a large extent) been cross-sectional and have primarily focused on estimating the prevalence of mental health concerns. Elite athletes and coaches operate in a performance-oriented environment with unique lifestyles where various (and sometimes competing) goals and values may be present both at an individual and organizational level. This Research Topic therefore aims to shed light on functional strategies and solutions for psychologically supporting athletes and coaches to obtain sustainable elite sports careers with a goal of maintained or increased wellbeing, QOL, and performance over time. Important research questions include the following:

• Essential factors in elite sports that act to promote and protect elite athletes’ and coaches’ well-being and QOL;
• The development and evaluation of tailored and evidence-based well-being and QOL-promoting interventions;
• Various methodological (e.g., assessments) and theoretical developments that could extend the knowledge within this research field.

Specific examples of research themes that this Research Topic aims to cover include:

• Evidence-based proactive interventions to promote wellbeing/QOL and performance among elite athletes at various ages and career or transition phases;
• Wellbeing supportive strategies for coaches and support staff in elite sports contexts;
• Theoretical developments around the constructs of well-being and QOL in the elite sport environment;
• Assessment approaches for measuring well-being and mental health in elite sports.

We welcome a wide variety of articles within this Research Topic, for example, systematic and narrative reviews, case reports, brief research reports, empirical studies with quantitative or qualitative research approaches, and articles which focus on theoretical discussions and assessment approaches related to wellbeing/QOL promotion. Empirical studies with longitudinal designs and interventions studies are especially welcomed, as well as studies targeting topics related to assessment of wellbeing/QOL in elite sports settings.





Topic Editor Dr. Nick Galli is employed by Headstrong Consulting. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.

Photo credit: Pixabay


Keywords: elite athlete, sustainable elite sports careers, sports performance, mental health, proactive support


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Elite athletes and coaches are exposed to various sport-related stressors that in combination with normal life-stressors may impact on their mental health. Mental health research with elite athletes and coaches has been primarily focused on the investigation of mental ill-being and mental health disorders. However, as scholars of athlete wellbeing, we believe that focusing on proactive strategies targeted at promoting wellbeing among elite athletes and coaches is preferable to treating already developed concerns. Proactive strategies involve support in developing psychosocial resources to stay functional and flourishing over time in the elite sports environment. In the scientific literature, there is a lack of empirically-based knowledge about protective factors and wellbeing promotion interventions in elite sports settings, as well as valid assessment approaches for use in elite sports. Moreover, little is known of elite athletes’ idiosyncratic experiences of flourishing and quality of life (QOL), which is essential information that is needed to increase the holistic understanding of elite athletes’ mental health in the elite sport environment.

Despite a dramatic increase over recent years in the number of studies investigating mental health among elite athletes, such studies have (to a large extent) been cross-sectional and have primarily focused on estimating the prevalence of mental health concerns. Elite athletes and coaches operate in a performance-oriented environment with unique lifestyles where various (and sometimes competing) goals and values may be present both at an individual and organizational level. This Research Topic therefore aims to shed light on functional strategies and solutions for psychologically supporting athletes and coaches to obtain sustainable elite sports careers with a goal of maintained or increased wellbeing, QOL, and performance over time. Important research questions include the following:

• Essential factors in elite sports that act to promote and protect elite athletes’ and coaches’ well-being and QOL;
• The development and evaluation of tailored and evidence-based well-being and QOL-promoting interventions;
• Various methodological (e.g., assessments) and theoretical developments that could extend the knowledge within this research field.

Specific examples of research themes that this Research Topic aims to cover include:

• Evidence-based proactive interventions to promote wellbeing/QOL and performance among elite athletes at various ages and career or transition phases;
• Wellbeing supportive strategies for coaches and support staff in elite sports contexts;
• Theoretical developments around the constructs of well-being and QOL in the elite sport environment;
• Assessment approaches for measuring well-being and mental health in elite sports.

We welcome a wide variety of articles within this Research Topic, for example, systematic and narrative reviews, case reports, brief research reports, empirical studies with quantitative or qualitative research approaches, and articles which focus on theoretical discussions and assessment approaches related to wellbeing/QOL promotion. Empirical studies with longitudinal designs and interventions studies are especially welcomed, as well as studies targeting topics related to assessment of wellbeing/QOL in elite sports settings.





Topic Editor Dr. Nick Galli is employed by Headstrong Consulting. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.

Photo credit: Pixabay


Keywords: elite athlete, sustainable elite sports careers, sports performance, mental health, proactive support


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

08 January 2021 Abstract
31 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

08 January 2021 Abstract
31 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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