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Three studies are reported that replicate and extend previous work showing that athletes who consult a sport psychologist are derogated relative to athletes who work with their coaches on the same problem. In the first study, a multidimensional-scaling analysis was conducted to explore the psychological structure underlying perceptions of 12 sport practitioner professionals. Two dimensions, mental/physical and sport/nonsport, provided the best fit for both male and female subjects. The second and third studies, using different subject populations, were conducted to replicate previous findings and to explore the mediating processess involved. In both experiments, subjects were asked to indicate how strongly they would recommend drafting a college baseball, basketball, or football player who had worked with a coach, a sport psychologist, or a psychotherapist to improve performance. Male undergraduates and Lions Club members gave athletes who consulted sport psychologists or psychotherapists significantly lower draft ratings than athletes who consulted their coaches.
Darwyn E. Linder and Nina De Lange are with the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1104. Britton W. Brewer is now with the Center for Counseling and Student Development at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711, and Judy L. Van Raalte is now with the Department of Psychology at Springfield College in Springfield, MA 01109.