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An Insight Into the Use of Personality Assessment by U.K. Sport Psychology Consultants

Stephen Rowles and Tim Holder

Personality has a long, if somewhat checkered history in the sport psychology literature, but insight into its use in contemporary applied practice is more limited. This study investigated contemporary sport psychology consultants’ perceptions of using personality assessment. Ten participants (four female and six male; mean 14 years’ applied experience), all Health and Care Professions Council–registered and accredited by either the British Psychological Society or British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, were purposefully sampled and interviewed. An inductive thematic analysis was then performed. Five themes were identified: effective practice, perceived impact, societal movements, organizational experience, and innovation. Findings deliver an original insight into the perceptions of practitioners around personality assessment in sport, illustrating a movement from prediction to development in the field and providing novel examples of bespoke, individualized tool application. Broad training and career experiences will help practitioners fully appreciate these potential opportunities.

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How Psychologists in Men’s English Football Academies Evaluate Their Working Context and Adopt an Appropriate Professional Practice Framework

Niels Boysen Feddersen, Francesca Champ, Stig Arve Sæther, and Martin Littlewood

This study examined how psychologists working in men’s English football academies evaluate their working context when choosing a professional practice framework for guiding applied psychology provisions. Sixteen psychologists—six women and 10 men—participated in two semistructured interviews. A stepwise inductive–deductive approach in the analysis was used. The authors found that 13 of the psychologists adopted humanistic psychology as their guiding framework. In exploring the reasoning, three categories were developed: (a) motives for choosing a humanistic approach, (b) challenges when applying a humanistic approach, and (c) perpetuating stigma and restrictive assumptions regarding sport psychology. The study shows that humanistic psychology might be an effective approach to countering some dehumanizing features in the current English academy context (e.g., an overreliance on metrics). However, the Premier League, the Football Association, and other governing football organizations should notice the drawbacks of how psychologists sometimes must collude with the current system to establish psychology in the academy before later expanding provisions.

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 2 (Jun 2023)

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Exploring the Athletic Identity, Anxiety, and Mental Health of Division II Collegiate Athletes in the COVID-19 Era

Justin A. Hebert and Aubrey Newland

The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious implications on the health and well-being of student-athletes. The present study explored the athletic experiences of NCAA Division II college athletes during the competitive hiatus caused by the pandemic, as well as in their return to sport participation. Twenty male and female student-athletes from a variety of sports (freshman = 2, sophomores = 4, seniors = 9, and graduate = 5) participated in semistructured interviews to explore how the pandemic affected their athletic identity, anxiety, and mental health. Through the use of thematic content analysis, the following major themes were identified: (a) influence of COVID on athletic identity, (b) increased anxiety during COVID, (c) social aspects of sport participation, and (d) factors that influence mental health. Findings indicated a combination of positive and negative effects on the athletic identity, anxiety, and mental health and well-being of student-athletes.

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Mental Health Literacy Intervention to Reduce Stigma Toward Mental Health Symptoms and Disorders in Women Rugby Players: A Feasibility Study

Shakiba Oftadeh-Moghadam, Neil Weston, and Paul Gorczynski

This feasibility study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational intervention on stigma toward mental health symptoms and disorders, mental health literacy, and help-seeking intentions among U.K. semielite women rugby players. Seven semielite women rugby players participated. An A-B-A single-case experimental research design was used to assess stigma toward mental health symptoms and disorders, mental health literacy, and help-seeking intentions at baseline, intervention, and follow-up phases. The intervention was successful in enhancing the players’ mental health literacy and reducing stigmatizing attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help. Acknowledging the study’s small sample size, the findings revealed that there is a need for scaffolding to support future developments, advancements, and maintenance of mental health support in women’s rugby. Practical implications of future findings from a larger-scale study may lead to policy reformation across the game to inform and improve systemic mental health support for women rugby players.

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A Novel Exploration of Occupational Recovery in Certified Mental Performance Consultants

Anthony Magdaleno and Barbara B. Meyer

Researchers have provided evidence that workplace demands impair professionals’ health and performance, while occupational recovery facilitates them. Sport psychology professionals experience workplace demands (e.g., organizational stressors) and must manage their health and performance to consistently deliver competent, ethical, and effective services. Therefore, the purpose of this novel study was to explore the prevalence of, and relationship between, perceived stress and psychological aspects of occupational recovery (i.e., recovery experiences, off-job activities) in certified mental performance consultants (CMPCs). A sample of 140 CMPCs completed measures of perceived stress and psychological aspects of occupational recovery. Results indicated that psychological aspects of occupational recovery significantly predicted perceived stress. Practical implications to reduce CMPCs’ perceived stress include the promotion of occupational recovery through prioritization of activities positively related to recovery experiences.

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Understanding the Leadership and Environmental Mechanisms in a Super League Netball Club

Don Vinson, Anita Navin, Alison Lamont, Jennifer Turnnidge, and Jean Côté

The personal assets framework offers a lens to better understand the relationship between leadership in sport environments and the resultant (athlete) developmental outcomes. This investigation aimed to explore how leadership behaviors and the broader environment of a Super League netball club represented an effective context for athletes to flourish by exploring the interrelations between the personal assets framework’s dynamic elements, namely (a) quality social dynamics, (b) appropriate settings, and (c) personal engagement in activities. Twenty-eight stakeholders were interviewed either individually or in small groups. The results revealed that the environment constructed was shaped by many interrelated mechanisms, and all stakeholders influenced how the dynamic elements intersected with one another. Key leadership behaviors driving the positive environment of the club were related to individualization and generating perceptions of value. The stakeholders’ desire to understand the relationship between their individual contribution and Super League netball was also crucial.

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Self-Expectations, Socially Prescribed Expectations, and Wellness in 14- to 15-Year-Old Athletes, Ballet, and Music Students in Norwegian Talent Schools—An Interview Study

Annett Victoria Stornæs, Jorunn Sundgot-Borgen, Gunn Pettersen, Jan H. Rosenvinge, and Sanna M. Nordin-Bates

Talent-school settings may generate stress via demanding expectations. To investigate students representing Norway’s growing phenomenon of early adolescent talent schools, we interviewed twenty-seven 14- to15-year-old boys and girls about their experiences with self- and socially imposed expectations. Students were recruited from two sports schools (n = 14) and one school each with talent classes for ballet (n = 7) and music (n = 6). Using reflexive thematic analysis, we found four main themes representing the performers’ accounts of (a) self-oriented expectations of persistent hard work, evoking self-doubts, and never-give-up attitudes; (b) coaches’/teachers’ socially prescribed expectations, stimulating hard work, and pursuit of approval and opportunities; (c) parental expectations, reflected as helpful support, concerns of letting parents down, and negotiating independence; and (d) struggles with balancing expectations, reflected by demanding workloads, difficulties with prioritizing recovery, and ill-being. Early interventions targeting unhealthy self- and socially imposed expectations in high-expectation settings may be required to safeguard youth performers’ healthy development.

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 1 (Mar 2023)