Women’s Place in the History of Sport Psychology

in The Sport Psychologist

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Diane L. GillUniversity of North Carolina, Greensboro

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Women and women’s issues have a place in sport psychology today, but women have no place in most histories of the field. Some women sport psychologists, particularly Dorothy Harris, were instrumental in the development of sport psychology as a subdiscipline in the 1960s and 1970s. Re-searching the historical foundations reveals that the notable contributions of Harris and other women sport psychologists have roots in earlier work in both psychology and physical education. Pioneering women psychologists conducted research and challenged sexist assumptions and practices since psychology’s earliest days. At the same time, prominent women leaders developed women-oriented programs and contributed to the professional literature in physical education. Women and women’s issues have a place in sport psychology today, but too often that is an “other” or special interest place. By taking steps to re-place women in history and by engendering current research and practice, sport and exercise psychology will be a stronger science and profession.

Diane L. Gill is with the School of Health and Human Performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412.

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