Stereotype Threat in Sport: Recommendations for Applied Practice and Research

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Stereotype-threat theory holds that activation of a negative stereotype has a harmful effect on performance in cognitive and motor domains. This paper provides a literature review of stereotype-threat research in the motor domain followed by recommendations for sport psychology practitioners. The review discusses the most widespread stereotypes that exist in sport, the effects of stereotype activation on performance in different sports, and mechanisms that explain why stereotype threat decreases performance. Recommendations for practitioners include individual- and organizational-level approaches, with the former subdivided into interventions aimed at prevention or coping.

Smith is with the Dept. of Physical Education and Health Education, Springfield College, Springfield, MA. Martiny is with the Dept. of Psychology, UiT—Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Smith (dsmith19@springfield.edu) is corresponding author.
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  • ZinsserN.BunkerL. & WilliamsJ.M. (2006). Cognitive techniques for building confidence and enhancing performance. In J.M. Williams (Ed.) Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (5th ed. pp. 349381). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

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