Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours


School of Psychology and Social Sciences


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Craig Harms


The purpose of this review was to provide an overall view of some of the identified determinants of burnout when it occurs in elite athletes. A total of 66 published articles were used to develop an understanding of burnout, its contributors and the combined effects of the contributors. An explanation of the psychological concept of burnout is discussed, followed by a discussion of the implications of burnout in athletes. Current literature in the area is reviewed followed by an overview of three of the identified determinants of athletic burnout: 1. Stress based on theoretic concepts developed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) and Smith's (1980) cognitive-affective model; 2. Motivational factors focusing on self-determination theory as outlined by Ryan and Deci (2002): and, 3. Social support factors and the differences in team and individual sports. Resilience is discussed as a gap in the athletic burnout literature, and a possible direction for future research. The relationship between self-determined motivation, social support, stress and resilience on the development of burnout symptoms in elite athletes was investigated. The participants were 35 male Australian Rules football players from two selected teams in the Western Australian Football League located in Perth. Multiple regression analyses compared the four independent variables with burnout, and on the three determinants of burnout (sense of accomplishment, emotional exhaustion and devaluation). None of which showed any significant relationship with burnout in the athletes. Self-determined motivation, stress and social support showed a small but positive relationship on the development of burnout symptoms in the participants. The hypotheses that stress would have a positive effect on burnout, and resilience and self-determined motivation would have a negative effect on burnout were both supported. However, the hypothesis that social support would have a negative effect on burnout was not supported. Possible explanations of the results and future directions are discussed.