Sport and exercise psychology has been somewhat behind other fields of psychology in the study of meaning and meaningfulness. Fortunately, Dr Matteo Luzzeri has taken up the challenge and his research has focused on studying meaning in sport. I met Matteo in the FEPSAC conference in Munster (July 2019), where we presented in the same session on meaning in sport. It was the first time in a sport and exercise psychology conference that a title of the session included “meaning in sport”. This was very exciting and we’re optimistic that it was not the last time.
In this second part of our discussion with Matteo, we delve deeper into his research which is certainly foundational for future studies in the field.
Together with his supervisor Dr Graig Chow, Matteo developed the first quantitative instrument to study domain-specific meaning in sport. In this episode, which is the second part of our discussion, Matteo shares the story behind the Meaning in Sport Questionnaire (MSQ) and the findings on how presence and search for meaning in sport relate to other psychological attributes. The full details of their work can be found in the article Presence and search for meaning in sport: Initial construct validation published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise. As they reflected, “One path to a meaningful life for athletes might be characterized by committing to the sacrifices and rules inherent to the sport experience, and, importantly, by how participants make sense of it all” (Luzzeri & Chow, 2020, p. 9).
In addition to the questionnaire development, we also explore how Matteo used writing interventions in his PhD research with the assumption that they will support athletes in discovering meaning. You will need to listen to the episode to hear about the somewhat surprising findings of the research.
Dr Matteo Luzzeri defended his doctoral dissertation titled “The effects of a meaning-oriented online writing intervention on commitment, stress, and burnout in collegiate athletes” at Florida State University in early 2020. Matteo is also a professional waterskier and a coach, and hosts a highly popular waterskiing podcast which is available at http://www.thewaterskipodcast.com/