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Psychological inventories are ubiquitous and necessary in sport psychology for gathering data to address selected research questions, making clinical diagnoses, and as guidelines for providing effective interventions. However, the improper use of inventories can result in inaccurate or incomplete interpretations of data or diagnoses, thereby compromising the effectiveness of intervention efforts and limiting the contributions of sport psychology consulting. The purposes of this article are to (a) summarize the major terminology associated with the use of psychological inventories, (b) provide an overview of reliability and validity issues relevant to establishing psychometric evidence for psychological inventories, (c) review the most common errors associated with using sport psychology inventories, and (d) provide best practice guidelines for the proper use of psychological inventories in sport psychology. If researchers and practitioners follow these guidelines, they can be more confident in the results and proper use of their interventions and consultations.
Mark H. Anshel is with the Department of Health and Human Performance and Thomas M. Brinthaupt is with the Department of Psychology at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN.