Coping With the Demands of Professional Practice: Sport Psychology Consultants’ Perspectives

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • | 2 University of Portsmouth
  • | 3 St. Mary’s University
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This study aimed to gain an insight into the general coping strategies used by sport psychology consultants (SPCs) based in the UK, and an in-depth understanding of their development and impact. To achieve these aims a mixed-method approach was adopted by means of two linked studies. In study one, BASES accredited and/or BPS chartered SPCs (n = 29) completed the modified COPE inventory (Crocker & Graham, 1995) to gain a better understanding of the general coping strategies used by practitioners. In study two, follow-up interviews (n = 6) with participants sampled from study one were conducted to explore how the reported strategies were developed, the perceived impact of coping/not coping with stressors, and how future SPCs may be better prepared for the stressful nature of consultancy. Findings suggested that the participants had a statistically significant preference to using problem-focused coping strategies. Further, the interviews suggested that coping strategies were primarily developed through reflection on experiences in different contexts. The impacts of coping/not coping and the practical development implications raised are discussed.

Cropley, Baldock, Mellalieu, and Neil are with the School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK. Wagstaff is with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK. Wadey is with the School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St. Mary’s University, London, UK.

Address author correspondence to Brendan Cropley at