The Relationships between Optimism and Pessimism and Burnout in Youth Soccer Players

Brandy A. Rentz, Georgia Southern University


Sport related burnout has become a concern for many athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists. Although burnout in sport is receiving more attention, the research still remains relatively limited (Capel, 1986; Dale & Weinberg, 1990; Fender, 1989; Gould, Udry, Tuffey, & Loehr, 1996). Dale and Weinberg (1990) indicated a need for future research concerning the identification of characteristics that may predispose athletes to burnout. No past research was found that investigated the relationship between optimism/pessimism and sport burnout. The primary purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationships between optimism and pessimism with burnout. A secondary purpose was to determine whether optimism, pessimism, and burnout differ between gender, race, age, aspects of soccer involvement, and participation in other sports. The Life Orientation Test-Revised (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994) and Burnout Inventory for Athletes (VanYperen, 1997) were completed by 100 youth athletes (42 boys, 58 girls) participating in premier/select (n_= 100) and high school (n = 55) soccer leagues, with 55 soccer players participating in both leagues. A Sport Questionnaire was also administered to obtain demographics information including gender, age, race, specific soccer involvement, and other sport participation. Results revealed statistically significant negative correlations between optimism and burnout (r = -.271, a < .01) as well as between optimism and intent to quit (r = -.308, a < .01). A significant positive correlation was found between age and burnout (r = .315, a < .01). No significant correlation was discovered between pessimism and burnout. Results revealed that youth soccer players classified as optimistic exhibited less burnout and showed less intent to quit soccer within one year.