A research synthesis and taxonomic classification of the organizational stressors encountered by sport performers

J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2012 Jun;34(3):397-429. doi: 10.1123/jsep.34.3.397.


The purpose of this study was to synthesize the research that has identified the organizational stressors encountered by sport performers and develop a taxonomic classification of these environmental demands. This study used a meta-interpretation, which is an interpretive form of synthesis that is suited to topic areas employing primarily qualitative methods. Thirty-four studies (with a combined sample of 1809 participants) were analyzed using concurrent thematic and context analysis. The organizational stressors that emerged from the analysis numbered 1287, of which 640 were distinct stressors. The demands were abstracted into 31 subcategories, which were subsequently organized to form four categories: leadership and personnel, cultural and team, logistical and environmental, and performance and personal issues. This meta-interpretation with taxonomy provides the most accurate, comprehensive, and parsimonious classification of organizational stressors to date. The findings are valid, generalizable, and applicable to a large number of sport performers of various ages, genders, nationalities, sports, and standards.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Athletic Performance / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Organizational Culture
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / classification
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Young Adult