“I Love What I Do; That’s The Bottom Line”: Theory of Women’s Career Attraction and Retention in Sport Psychology

in The Sport Psychologist

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Rena M.G. CurveyDepartment of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

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Shannon C. WhiteDepartment of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

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Myles T. EnglisDepartment of Education, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA

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Katherine C. JensenDepartment of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

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Marissa K. BoscoDepartment of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

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Mikaela E. ThompsonDepartment of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

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Candice N. HargonsDepartment of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

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Samantha N. LeavensDepartment of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

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Emily A. MurphyDepartment of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

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The increasing representation of women in the field of sport psychology in recent years is the direct result of pioneering female practitioners and scholars. Although the contributions of these women are often relegated to the pages of textbooks, the exploration of women’s professional experiences is essential to understanding what sources lead women to engaging in sport psychology. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to generate a theory that explored the factors that influence women’s attraction and retention to sport psychology. An interpretivist–constructivist paradigm and constructivist grounded theory methodology was used to guide semistructured interviews with 17 cisgender female sport psychology practitioners. The findings of this study were used to develop the theory of women’s career attraction and retention in sport psychology. The theory comprised three categories including (a) sources of attraction, (b) training and professional development, and (c) sources of retention. Study findings and professional implications are discussed throughout.

Curvey (rmgo228@uky.edu) is corresponding author.

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