Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Sources of Stress, Burnout, and Intention to Terminate among Basketball Referees

Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Sources of Stress, Burnout, and Intention to Terminate among Basketball Referees

Article excerpt

Questionnaires assessing sources of stress, burnout, and intention to terminate refereeing were returned by 721 of 1500 basketball referees (48%). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed five correlated sources of stress factors (Performance Concerns, Fear of Physical Harm, Lack of Recognition, Time Pressure, and Interpersonal Conflict) accounting for 50% of the variance. Referees rated four of the factors as mildly related to their stress, though Fear of Physical Harm was not related to their stress. A structural model hypothesizing that: (a) Performance Concerns, Time Pressure, and Interpersonal Conflict predict burnout, and (b) age and burnout predict intention to terminate refereeing fit the observed data, with a Goodness of Fit Index of.97. Research has consistently indicated that Interpersonal Conflict, Fear of Physical Harm, Time Pressure, and Performance Concerns are sources of stress for sport officials. Burnout in sport officials is consistently related to Performance Concerns, Time Pr essure, and Interpersonal Conflict, and burnout is a consistent predictor of intention to terminate.

In recent years, a number of investigators have examined sources of stress among sport officials. Taylor and Daniel (1987) identified five sources of Stress in a factor analysis of the responses of soccer referees to the Soccer Officials' Stress Survey (SOSS). These sources were Fear of Failure, Fear of Physical Harm, Interpersonal Conflicts, Time Pressures, and Peer Conflicts. Goldsmith and Williams (1992) also identified five sources of stress when they administered a revised SOSS to volleyball and football officials. Three of the sources (Fear of Failure, Fear of Physical Harm, and Time Pressure) were the same as those identified by Taylor and Daniel (1987), and a fourth factor, labeled Verbal Abuse, was similar to Interpersonal Conflict. Rainey (1995a) surveyed baseball and softball umpires with a modified version of the Ontario Soccer Officials' Survey (OSOS), an update of the SOSS. Factor analysis of the umpires' responses provided a four-factor solution, with four correlated factors: Fear of Failure, Fear of Physical Harm, Interpersonal Conflict, and Time Pressure. Stewart and Ellery (1998) administered the SOSS to certified high school volleyball referees and reported the same four factors as Rainey (1995a), though the factors were generated by orthogonal rather than oblique rotations. Thus, there are four sources of stress factors (Fear of Failure, Fear of Physical Harm, Interpersonal Conflict, and Time Pressure) that have emerged consistently among soccer, volleyball, football, and baseball/softball officials.

In a related effort, Anshel and Weinberg (1995) administered a 15-item measure of sources of acute stress to American and Australian basketball referees. Although they did not use factor analysis to evaluate responses, their analysis of individual items revealed some consistencies with studies using the OSOS/SOSS. For example, the three items that basketball referees rated most stressful (making a wrong call, threats of physical abuse, and verbal abuse by coaches) are almost identical to items from the OSOS/SOSS that load an the factors Fear of Failure, Fear of Physical Harm, and Interpersonal Conflict.

A second focus of this research has been to study the consequences of stress for sport officials. Taylor, Daniel, Leith, and Burke (1990) used path analysis to examine burnout as a mediator between sources of stress and intention to terminate. They reported a significant correlation between sources of stress scores and burnout scores among soccer referees. Also, their path analysis indicated that Fear of Failure, Interpersonal Conflict, Role-Culture Conflict, and age predicted burnout, and that age and burnout predicted intention to terminate among soccer officials. Rainey (1995b) examined sources of stress, burnout, and intention to terminate among baseball and softball umpires using structural equation modeling. …

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