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Article

“Do Elite Sport First, Get Your Period Back Later.” Are Barriers to Communication Hindering Female Athletes?

1
Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, 831 25 Östersund, Sweden
2
Swedish Ski Association, 791 31 Falun, Sweden
3
Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, Dragvoll, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ana Belén Peinado, Erica Wehrwein and Xanne Janse de Jonge
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 12075; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182212075
Received: 6 October 2021 / Revised: 6 November 2021 / Accepted: 12 November 2021 / Published: 17 November 2021
Competitive female athletes perceive their hormonal cycles to affect their training, competition performance and overall well-being. Despite this, athletes rarely discuss hormonal-cycle-related issues with others. The aim of this study was to gain an in-depth understanding of the perceptions and experiences of endurance athletes and their coaches in relation to barriers to athlete–coach communication about female hormonal cycles. Thirteen Swedish national-/international-level female cross-country skiers (age 25.8 ± 3.6 y) and eight of their coaches (two women and six men; age 47.8 ± 7.5 y) completed an online survey relating to their educational background, prior knowledge about female hormonal cycles and a coach–athlete relationship questionnaire (CART-Q). They then participated in an online education session about female hormonal cycles and athletic performance before participating in semi-structured focus-group interviews. Thematic analyses revealed three main barriers to communication: knowledge, interpersonal, and structural. In addition, the results suggested that a good coach–athlete relationship may facilitate open communication about female hormonal cycles, while low levels of knowledge may hinder communication. To overcome the perceived barriers to communication, a model is proposed to improve knowledge, develop interpersonal relationships and strengthen structural systems through educational exchanges and forums for open discussion. View Full-Text
Keywords: coach–athlete relationship; communication; focus group; interview; menstruation; sport; women coach–athlete relationship; communication; focus group; interview; menstruation; sport; women
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MDPI and ACS Style

Höök, M.; Bergström, M.; Sæther, S.A.; McGawley, K. “Do Elite Sport First, Get Your Period Back Later.” Are Barriers to Communication Hindering Female Athletes? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 12075. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182212075

AMA Style

Höök M, Bergström M, Sæther SA, McGawley K. “Do Elite Sport First, Get Your Period Back Later.” Are Barriers to Communication Hindering Female Athletes? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(22):12075. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182212075

Chicago/Turabian Style

Höök, Martina, Max Bergström, Stig A. Sæther, and Kerry McGawley. 2021. "“Do Elite Sport First, Get Your Period Back Later.” Are Barriers to Communication Hindering Female Athletes?" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 22: 12075. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182212075

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