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A multidimensional scaling analysis was used to investigate the psychological structure underlying college students’ perceptions of 12 practitioners: sport psychologist, clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, coach, psychiatrist, counselor, performance consultant, nutritionist, sports medicine specialist, strength coach, hypnotist, and technical equipment advisor. For this analysis, 200 male and female undergraduates completed 66 scales rating the psychological similarity between all possible pairs of the 12 practitioners. The R2 of .84 and stress value of .17 indicated that a two-dimensional solution was the best fit for the similarity ratings. The first dimension was identified as separating practitioners specializing in the mental aspects of performance from those specializing in the physical aspects of performance. The second dimension separated sport practitioners from nonsport practitioners. Interestingly, subjects perceived sport psychologists as being concerned with mental, nonsport issues. The results are discussed in terms of the relationships among the various practitioners.
The authors are with the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287. As of Sept. 1990 Judy Van Raalte is with the Dept. of Psychology, Springfield College, Springfield, MA 01109. Request reprints from Darwyn E. Linder.