This article discusses issues surrounding the potential violation of sexual boundaries in sport psychology consultancy and critically evaluates the current state of knowledge in the field. Limited discussion and research relating to this ethical issue exists within sport psychology; the discussion that has occurred has mainly focused on erotic transference and countertransference (Andersen, 2005). Research and knowledge from clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and psychotherapy proffers ideas for discussion and research into the factors that precipitate sexual boundary violations. The relevance of the controversial practice of touch as a therapeutic tool and a stimulus for sexual boundary violations is considered, alongside implications for the training of neophyte practitioners through role-playing, peer support, and supervision.
Guy Little and Chris Harwood
Andrew T. Wolanin and Lori A. Schwanhausser
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the impact of subclinical psychological difficulties, as assessed by the Multilevel Classification System for Sport Psychology (MCS-SP; Gardner & Moore, 2004b, 2006), on the efficacy of the Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC; Gardner & Moore, 2004a, 2007) performance enhancement intervention. Thirteen collegiate field hockey and volleyball athletes participated in a 7-week MAC protocol, and their results were compared to those of a control group of 7 same-sport athletes. Nonparametric analysis of the data offers additional support for MAC as a strategy for enhancing the athletic performance of collegiate athletes and suggests the importance of the accurate assessment of subclinical psychological difficulties to ensure the successful application of sport psychology interventions. In essence, these results suggest that the presence or absence of subclinical psychological difficulties may serve as a moderating factor in performance enhancement efforts.
Annemarie Schumacher Dimech and Roland Seiler
Social anxiety is a common psychological complaint that can have a significant and long-term negative impact on a child’s social and cognitive development. In the current study, the relationship between sport participation and social anxiety symptoms was investigated. Swiss primary school children (N =201), parents, and teachers provided information about the children’s social anxiety symptoms, classroom behavior, and sport involvement. Gender differences were observed on social anxiety scores, where girls tended to report higher social anxiety symptoms, as well as on sport activity, where boys engaged in more sport involvement. MANCOVAs with gender as covariant showed no differences in social anxiety symptoms between children involved in an extracurricular sport and those not engaged in sport participation. Nevertheless, children engaged in team sports displayed fewer physical social anxiety symptoms than children involved in individual sports.
Jane Lee Sinden
The present study examines Foucault’s (1977) concept of normalization as it applies to the emotions of female elite amateur rowers. Specifically, this study sought to understand how beliefs about emotion, developed through the normalization process, may coerce athletes to continue to train even when physically unhealthy. Interviews were conducted with 11 retired elite amateur female rowers who suffered health problems while training but continued training despite these health problems. Interpretation of the data suggests that the rowers suppressed emotions to avoid appearing mentally weak, negative, or irrational, despite needing to express their concerns about training volumes and health issues to minimize deleterious effects that continued training eventually had on their health.
Steven L. Proctor and Candace Boan-Lenzo
This study examined the athletic status differences in reported depressive symptoms between male intercollegiate team sport athletes (n= 66) and male nonathletes (n = 51) enrolled at one of two public universities in the Southeastern United States, while controlling for preferred (task-oriented and emotion-oriented) coping strategies. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed that the athletes reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms than nonathletes while controlling for coping strategy selection (p< .05). In terms of the actual prevalence rates of depressive symptoms, 29.4% of the nonathletes met the criterion for possible depression compared with only 15.6% of the athletes. Overall, athletic participation in an intercollegiate team sport appears related to lower levels of depression. The potentially distress-buffering aspects of athletic involvement and implications for future research are discussed.
Christy Greenleaf, Trent Petrie, Justine Reel, and Jennifer Carter
Petrie and Greenleaf (2007) presented a psychosocial model of disordered eating for female athletes. Based upon the 2007 model, the present study examined four key psychosocial variables: internalization, body dissatisfaction, restrained eating, and negative affect, as predictors of bulimic symptoms among NCAA Division I female athletes. Two hundred four women (N = 204) participated and were drawn from three different universities and competed in 17 different varsity sports. After controlling for the effects of body mass and social desirability, hierarchical regression analysis showed that the psychosocial variables explained 42% of the variance in bulimic symptoms. In the full model, higher levels of body dissatisfaction, more dietary restraint, and stronger feelings of guilt were associated with bulimic symptomatology. Internalization of the sociocultural ideal as well as feelings of fear, hostility, or sadness were unrelated.
Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews, and Scott Fleming
This study explores the antecedents, mechanisms, influencing variables, and consequences of choking in sport and identifies interventions that may alleviate choking. Through the use of qualitative methods, the experiences of six elite golfers who choked frequently under pressure were examined and compared with five elite golfers who excelled frequently under pressure. The perspectives of four coaches who had worked extensively with elite golfers who had choked and excelled, were also considered. The study indicated that the participants choked as a result of distraction, which was caused by various stressors. Self-confidence, preparation, and perfectionism were identified as key influencing variables of the participants’ choking episodes, and the consequence of choking was a significant drop in performance that affected negatively future performances. Process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training, and a pre/postshot routine were perceived as interventions that may possibly prevent choking.
Pia-Maria Wippert and Jens Wippert
As career termination is an incisive event in life, it is therefore important to understand the effects of different types of retirement on an athlete’s biography. Thus, the present longitudinal study is concerned with the effects of career termination of professional national team-athletes on the development of psychopathological symptoms, locus of control, self-concept, and mood, with special consideration of the mediator variable “subjective control of event-onset.” Data were collected from 42 professional athletes (17 of whom experienced an unexpected dismissal and 4 voluntarily retired) using standardized questionnaires (SCL-90-R, ASTS, FKK) 10 days before event entrance (baseline-test), 10 days after, 3 weeks after, and 5.5 months after onset of career termination. Although the baseline data did not reveal personality differences between the groups, dismissed athletes showed significantly stronger psychological distress after event onset. They displayed a stronger initial reaction, a more severe crisis, and longer transition periods than the control group. Results are discussed in connection with the combination of social evaluative threat and forced failure during event onset and their strong effects on distress after career termination.