Identity Crises in North American Sport Psychology: Academics in Professional Issues

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Rod K. DishmanSouthwest Missouri State University

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Recent views of professional concerns facing sport psychology have not addressed academic dimensions of service delivery. The perspective developed in this paper suggests that defining sport psychology by what sport psychologists do or by who offers services may permit, but cannot ensure, professional competence. The assumption is made that in order for a field of study to sanction applied services it must possess an applied body of knowledge and a reliable technology. The current availability of these for sport is not clear. It is proposed that an acceleration is needed in development of applied technology and theory through creation of sport psychology models rather than exclusive reliance on applying clinical or educational models borrowed from general psychology. It is also proposed that errors associated with available techniques be better defined. Scientific cautions are re-emphasized in the hope that issues over professional services not overshadow the need for a reciprocity between applied questions and theoretical attempts at answering them.

The author wishes to thank David Brown, Steven Heyman, William P. Morgan, and Robert M. Nideffer for providing reactions to the first draft of this paper.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Rod K. Dishman, Department of Health & Physical Education, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO 65804.

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