Encounter with Bullying in Sport and Its Consequences for Youth: Amateur Athletes' Approach

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Nov 25;16(23):4685. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16234685.


In recent years, the problem of bullying, existing in sport and arising in athletes' relationships, is increasingly emphasized. The aim of this research was to reveal the specificity of bullying in athletes' interrelationships by elaborating on causes of its emergence, nature of actions, and its consequences. To achieve the research aim, a qualitative research paradigm was chosen. The theoretical part of the research was prepared by applying the methods of scientific literature analysis and analogy. The empirical study involved seven organized sports athletes representing individual, duel, and team sports branches, belonging to the young adult age category. The survey was conducted using the semi-structured interview method. Data were analyzed employing the conceptual content analysis. Emic and etic perspectives were used for data processing. Research results revealed that the specificity of manifestation of bullying in sport unfolded through three generalized categories: intolerable perception of behavior, nature of bullying, and bipolarity of consequences. Every category was detailed by sub-categories, highlighting the nature, causes, and consequences of bullying accepted by athletes in the contexts of their emotional state and career. We found that the factors falling into these categories were interrelated and supplemented each other; therefore, they should be analyzed in a complex way, as bullying is determined not by some single factor but by the totality of them, functioning as a kind of well-established flawed tradition supported by the cultures of the sports organization and the sport.

Keywords: Lithuania; antisocial behavior; athletes’ behavior; bully; bullying; organized sport; victims.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Bullying*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult