Assessing Mental Skill and Technique Use in Applied Interventions: Recognizing and Minimizing Threats to the Psychometric Properties of the TOPS

in The Sport Psychologist

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Charlotte WoodcockUniversity of Birmingham

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Joan L. DudaUniversity of Birmingham

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Jennifer CummingUniversity of Birmingham

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Lee-Ann SharpUniversity College Plymouth St. Mark & St. John

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Mark J.G. HollandUniversity of Birmingham

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Drawing from the experiences of the authors in developing, conducting, and evaluating sport psychology interventions, several considerations are highlighted and recommendations offered for effective psychometric assessment. Using the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS; Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999) as a working example, opportunities for bias to undermine a measure’s validity and reliability are discussed with reference to a respondent’s four cognitive processes: (a) comprehension, (b) retrieval, (c) decision-making, and (d) response generation. Further threats to an instrument’s psychometric properties are highlighted in the form of demand characteristics athletes perceive in the environment. With these concerns in mind, several recommendations are made relating to the process of questionnaire administration and how possible compromises to the psychometric soundness of measures used in applied interventions can be minimized.

Woodcock, Duda, Cumming, and Holland are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK. Sharp is with the University College Plymouth St. Mark & St. John, Plymouth, UK.

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