Burnout Dimensions Among College-Age Individuals Training for Their First Marathon

Thursday, March 15, 2012
Poster Area 1 (Foyer Outside Exhibit Hall C) (Convention Center)
Christopher R. Hill, Russell L. Carson III and Laura K. Stewart, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Background/Purpose: Burnout has been studied in a variety of sport domains; however, little attention has been given to first-time endurance athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine the three dimensions of burnout (i.e., reduced sense of accomplishment, emotional/physical exhaustion, and devaluation) among beginning marathoners.

Method: Undergraduate students (N= 38, M age= 20.89 years; 71% female) enrolled in a 17- week “physiology of endurance training” course that involved training for a marathon. The Athlete Burnout Questionnaire was administered once a week. Weekly responses were averaged to represent the five distinct phases in the training program: Phase 1 – foundation, Phase 2 - build, Phase 3 – peak, Phase 4 - taper, Phase 5 - recovery.

Analysis/Results: A two-way (gender X phase) mixed ANOVA was conducted for each burnout dimension. A statistically significant phase effect was found on only the dimension of emotional/physical exhaustion, F(4,116) = 2.98, p < .05, partial η2 = .10. Follow-up polynomial contrasts indicated a significant quadratic effect, F(1,29) = 5.09, p < .05, partial η2 = .15, and Tukey post hoc tests showed that Phase 3 and 4 levels were significantly higher than Phase 5 levels. The effects of gender or gender X phase were not significant for any of the burnout dimensions.

Conclusions: College-aged, first time marathon participants across both genders experienced significant alterations in emotional/physical exhaustion during a supervised training program. As a result, future beginning marathon programs may want to utilize burnout prevention strategies focused on the emotional/physical exhaustion. -->