Executive functions play an important role in sports since the ability to plan, organize, and regulate behavior to reach an objective or goal depends on these functions. Some of the components of executive functions, such as inhibition of impulsive behavior and cognitive flexibility, are necessary for contact sports (e.g., American football) to carry out successful plays on the sports field. Executive functions have been studied in the sporting environment, but their relationship with the athletes' basic psychological needs (BPN), such as autonomy, competence, and relatedness, remains unexplored. Due to the importance of motivational processes over cognitive functions and in the generated adaptive results in athletes, this relationship should be taken into account. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze and compare executive functioning and psychological need thwarting overimpulsivity and psychological distress, before and after the season (4 months) in 28 undergraduate football players. Neuropsychological and psychological tests were applied. The results showed that there was an improvement in inhibition and planning at the end of the season. There was also an increase in attention and motor impulsiveness, and a decrease in need thwarting at the end of the season. A positive association between executive function, impulsiveness, psychological needs, and affective symptoms were also found. Our findings reveal the dynamics of sport-related psychological variables throughout the sport season in American football players, the association of these for the achievement of sport success, and the importance of encouraging proper management of emotions.

Dynamics of executive functions, basic psychological needs, impulsivity, and depressive symptoms in american football players

Sanchez-Lopez, Javier;
2019

Abstract

Executive functions play an important role in sports since the ability to plan, organize, and regulate behavior to reach an objective or goal depends on these functions. Some of the components of executive functions, such as inhibition of impulsive behavior and cognitive flexibility, are necessary for contact sports (e.g., American football) to carry out successful plays on the sports field. Executive functions have been studied in the sporting environment, but their relationship with the athletes' basic psychological needs (BPN), such as autonomy, competence, and relatedness, remains unexplored. Due to the importance of motivational processes over cognitive functions and in the generated adaptive results in athletes, this relationship should be taken into account. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze and compare executive functioning and psychological need thwarting overimpulsivity and psychological distress, before and after the season (4 months) in 28 undergraduate football players. Neuropsychological and psychological tests were applied. The results showed that there was an improvement in inhibition and planning at the end of the season. There was also an increase in attention and motor impulsiveness, and a decrease in need thwarting at the end of the season. A positive association between executive function, impulsiveness, psychological needs, and affective symptoms were also found. Our findings reveal the dynamics of sport-related psychological variables throughout the sport season in American football players, the association of these for the achievement of sport success, and the importance of encouraging proper management of emotions.
football; frustration; impulsivity; inhibition; motivational processes
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1004368
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