Student-Athlete Preferences in Seeking Help When Confronted with Sport Performance Problems

in The Sport Psychologist

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Sameep D. ManiarThe University of Montana

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Lewis A. CurryThe University of Montana

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John Sommers-FlanaganThe University of Montana

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James A. WalshThe University of Montana

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This study’s purpose was to evaluate athlete willingness to seek help from various sport-titled and non sport-titled individuals when confronted with three common sport performance problem scenarios: midseason slump, return from serious injury, and desire to perform more optimally. Athlete intervention preferences were also assessed. Data were collected on a stratified (by gender) random sample of 60 NCAA Division I athletes. Using an observable one-point difference on a nine-point Likert-type scale and a corresponding moderate to large main effect (Cohen’s d < .40), results indicated that for all scenarios, athletes preferred seeking help from a coach over sport-titled professionals, whereas sport-titled professionals were preferred over counselors and clinical psychologists. Goal setting and imagery were the preferred interventions. Hypnosis and medication were less preferred. The discussion focuses on sport-related professional titles and athlete education to enhance service acceptability.

Sameep D. Maniar <smaniar@wvu.edu> is now with the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Counseling Psychology, PO Box 6122, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506-6122; Lewis A. Curry is with the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Montana, Missoula; John Sommers-Flanagan is the Director of Families First in Missoula, MT; James A. Walsh is with the Department of Psychology at the University of Montana, Missoula.

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