The abuse within élite sport

Giffin, C.E., Schinke, R.J., Wagstaff, C., Quartiroli, A., Larivière, M., Coholic, D., Li, Y. (2024). Advancing Safe Sport Through Occupational Health and Safety a Thematic Meta-Synthesis Exploring Abuse within Elite Adult Sport Contexts. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 55(1), 1-31.

Occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) promote healthy workplace environments through regulating hazards and health promotion activities. Abuse within elite sports is one hazard that threatens the health and safety of elite adult athletes.

Despite the widespread existence of evidence-informed guidelines to safeguard youth athletes, few safeguards have been developed for elite adult athletes, despite sport being their primary occupation.

Through a critical realist lens, we used a thematic meta-synthesis to search, appraise and synthesize 20 articles conducted with elite adult athletes who have experienced abuse. We present three themes to highlight: (a) how abuse types (sexual, psychology, physical, and financial) are fluid and expand over time, (b) the contextual factors that influence abuse (individual, relational, structural, cultural), and (c) temporal impacts of abuse throughout athletes’ early, late, and post-sport careers.

The present work is discussed in relation to perceived advancement of OHSMS and safe sport through protecting athletes from the hazards present within their occupational environments.

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