Authors: Michael Amrhein1, Harald Barkhoff2, and Elaine M. Heiby3
2Department of Kinesiology & Exercise Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Hilo, HI, USA
3Department of Psychology, The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, USA
Harald Barkhoff, PhD
Dean College of Health Sciences and Human Services
California State University, Monterey Bay
100 Campus Center, Ocean Hall A, Rm. 101
Seaside, CA 93955
Michael Amrhein, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in Maryland and Hawaiʻi, and an independent researcher who graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2016. His research interests focus on the intersection of sports psychology and spirituality, and he currently works full-time as a clinical practitioner in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Harald Barkhoff, Ph.D., is a tenured Professor and current Chair for the Department of Kinesiology & Exercise Sciences at University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. His areas of research interest include the role of spirituality in sport and exercise, particularly of ocean sports in indigenous environments.
Elaine M. Heiby, Ph.D., is a Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her research areas include culturally sensitive psychological assessment, mood disorders, health and sports psychology, spirituality, and scope of practice issues.
The effects of an ocean surfing course intervention on spirituality and depression
Although there is very little research on the psychological aspects of ocean surfing, preliminary evidence suggests that engaging in this sport has mental health benefits (2, 12). The current study, using a pre-test post-test quasi-experimental design, aims to examine the effects of a surfing course intervention on the mental health indicators of spirituality and depression. Fifty-four participants (46 new surfers and 8 regular surfers) were recruited over two semesters from four sections of a one-credit surfing course at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Participants were asked to complete a pre-test assessment at the beginning of the course examining demographics, spirituality, and depression. Participants were also asked to complete a post-test assessment at the end of the course consisting of the same measures, coupled along with a scale of spiritual surfing experiences. New surfers demonstrated a significant increase in overall levels of spirituality from pre-test to post-test. Additionally, for the entire sample of both new and regular surfers, scores on the spiritual surfing experiences scale were positively and significantly correlated with overall levels of spirituality. No significant changes were observed from pre-test to post-test on measures of depression, possibly due to a restricted range of scores. The results suggest that participating in a surfing course may contribute to an individual’s development of overall spirituality. Limitations, future research directions, and applications for sport are discussed.(more…)