Mental Health and Work in Elite Sport: A Study of Sports Workers in the Gaelic Athletics Association.

Description

The aim of this proposed project is to explore the relationship between work, sport and mental health in the Gaelic Athletic Association [GAA]. It will make a timely, original and significant contribution to knowledge in the field, which until recently, has largely ignored how mental health can be impacted by the work and non-work experiences of those who are employed in elite sport. The project will provide the first qualitative study to focus on sports workers from a range of occupational roles in the GAA. It does so because, following a review of current literature, there are four dominant themes identifiable in the existing research: (1) Prevalence Studies in Sport, (2) Perspectives and Models of Mental Health, (3) Stigma in Sport and (4) Sport and Work. The review also revealed that research in mental health and sport has so far focused disproportionately on the mental health of athletes. Quantitative studies also dominate the literature, with the biomedical and psychological perspectives of mental health greatly influencing the prevailing research approaches. In comparison, very little attention has been given to the wider social issues that affect individuals inside and outside sports work. Factors, like stigma, that prevent the disclosure of mental health issues or mental illnesses are largely framed around the context of sport. However, research from sociology suggests that experiences of work and workplaces can help explain the wider impacts on the mental health of sports workers. By combining psychological and sociological approaches, this project will use narrative inquiry to explore the various work and non-work impacts on mental health among elite sports workers. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with participants who currently work in support staff roles within the GAA. Using the storyanalyst approach of thematic narrative analysis, the results will be communicated in the form of a realist tale. It is anticipated that the findings from this psychosocial approach will reveal how research in sport and mental health should adopt more adequate perspectives and models of mental health that appreciate humans as biopsychosocial beings.

Layman's description

To explore the various work and non-work impacts on mental health among elite sports workers. This project aims to discover more about non-sporting issues and concerns in wider society that have often been ignore in research on mental health and sport.

Key findings

It is anticipated that the findings from this psychosocial approach will reveal how research in sport and mental health should adopt more adequate perspectives and models of mental health that appreciate humans as biopsychosocial beings.
Short titlemental health & elite sports work
StatusActive
Effective start/end date7/02/2030/09/21