An exploration of the lived experience of collegiate student-athletes in an 8-week mindfulness intervention
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The purpose of the current study was to identify and explore a group of collegiate student-athletes lived experience of participating in a formal mindfulness intervention with intention to uncover how resulting findings may relate to well-being. The sample for this study consisted of 9 student-athletes representing multiple sports as recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, all of whom were enrolled in a large public university located in the Midwestern region of the United States. The 8-week intervention included both didactic and experiential opportunities for student-athletes to engage with mindfulness concepts and practices. Data was collected throughout the duration of the intervention and consisted of participant's written reflections/journal entries as well as two in depth semi-structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed. The primary themes and corresponding clusters were organized into three chronological phases and included: Incongruence between perceived expectations and reality (perceptions of readiness, perceptions of purpose and objectives); Challenges (preoccupation for meeting objectives, restlessness during practice, difficulty practicing outside of practice); Sense of self (heightened selfawareness, increased self-compassion); and, New perspective (greater sense of appreciation, altered relationship with ambiguity). Additional experiential components facilitating transition between the phases were identified; these included: sense of openness, elite athlete testimonies, relationship formed with others, confidence developed over time, and variety of practices available. Further interpretation of these themes revealed two primary interpretations: Participants' perceptions of the mindfulness intervention evolved and self-awareness matters. These interpretations are further discussed in relation to well-being theories. Future research should continue to seek understanding with how student-athletes tailor their mindfulness practice to various domains of their lives including, but not limited to: sport, academics, relationships with others, and personal life.
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