What could explain the psychological well-being and performance of young athletes? The role of social safeness and self-criticism

Sara Oliveira, Marina Cunha, António Rosado, Beatriz Gomes, Cláudia Ferreira


Literature has highlighted that it is important to explore factors that may contribute to athletes’ well-being and also to sports performance, especially in young athletes. This study aimed to test a model that hypothesized that athlete-related social safeness (feelings of belonging to the team) has an effect on the psychological well-being and performance through self-criticism.
This study sample comprised 164 Portuguese adolescent athletes of both genders, who practiced different sports.
The path analysis results confirmed the proposed model’s adequacy, which explained 52% and 28% of the variance of the psychological well-being and performance, respectively. Results demonstrated that athletes who presented higher social safeness levels tend to reveal higher levels of psychological well-being and perceived performance through lower levels of self-criticism.
These novel findings suggest the importance of adopting supportive and safe relationships between teammates due to their positive association with athletes’ mental health and performance.


Psychological well-being, Sports performance, Self-criticism, Social safeness, Young athletes.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14417/ap.1913


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