Burnout in elite athletes: a systematic review

Camila Cristina Fonseca Bicalho, Varley Teoldo da Costa


This systematic review analyzes studies on burnout in elite athletes and assesses the association between burnout and other psychological constructs for this group. The analysis of the studies is a descriptive semiquantitative review. The following databases were searched for studies published up to march 2016: DialNet, Lilacs, Portal CAPES, PsycNet, PubMed/Medline, Redalyc, SciELO, Scopus, SportDiscus, and Web of Science. The following descriptors were used: burnout, athletes, and elite (languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish). Seventy-two articles were included in this review. The results indicate a negative correlation between burnout and the self-determined motivation index, intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, autonomy, competence, relatedness, self-oriented perfectionism, parental expectations, personal standards, and harmonious passion. In addition, positive correlations were indicated between burnout and amotivation, socially prescribed perfectionism, and concern over mistakes. In conclusion, burnout in elite athletes is a variable different associated with various psychological constructs that are protective or catalyzing of burnout in this population.

Palabras clave

burnout syndrome; semi-quantitative review; sports; high performance

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Sociedad Iberoamericana de Psicología del Deporte (SIPD) División de Psicología de la Actividad Física y el Deporte (PACFD)Sociedad Iberoamericana de Psicología del Deporte