The purpose of this article is to describe a sport psychology position housed within a sports medicine department at a Division I University. The conditions that brought about the creation of the position will be examined. These will include the relevant history of sport psychology services and the relationship between the athletic department, sports medicine department, and the counseling center. Other issues to be examined include the logistical and administrative hurdles in the development of the position as well as the scope of practice, service delivery model, and the types of presenting problems that are typically assessed and treated. The spirit of this article is to assist practitioners and administrators seeking to bring sport psychology services to their institutions. This model is by no means intended to be comprehensive or authoritative, but rather is to be understood as dynamic and malleable to the particular characteristics and history of other institutions.
Edward F. Etzel and Jack C. Watson II
Clinical sport psychology consultation in the fast-paced and high-stakes world of intercollegiate athletics provides the clinician with a challenging set of experiences. The culture of intercollegiate athletics and the demands of academics and intensive training create an undercurrent that psychologists must factor into their work with student-athlete clients. One must be well trained so as to best meet the complex, growing, mental health needs of older adolescents and young adult college students whose lives are also impacted by the normal developmental tasks of people of this age. Accordingly, to be effective, clinicians working in this setting must be well aware of the numerous unique ethical challenges that have the potential to impact their practice. Such ethical challenges may stem from issues dealing with the athlete, coach, athletic department personnel, compliance with NCAA rules and regulations, or legal issues surrounding this setting. It is the purpose of this paper to clarify several of these possible ethical challenges.
Christopher M. Carr
This paper describes one psychologist’s professional journey providing clinical sport psychological services to student athletes, from training to first position, and on to current roles and responsibilities. Obstacles in providing psychological care to student-athletes in the intercollegiate setting are highlighted and an approach to overcoming these obstacles is articulated. Most importantly, this paper highlights the consequences of both interdisciplinary conflict within sport psychology and poorly trained professionals. The importance of ongoing professional development for both the individual practitioner and the field of sport psychology as a whole is thoroughly presented and discussed.
Acting as a liaison between a university’s counseling and psychological services and intercollegiate athletics department is an emerging alternative career path in professional psychology. This article details how a psychologist-sport psychologist liaison role can provide both psychological counseling and sport psychology consulting in a university setting. In addition, the author outlines the mission and goals of such a position, the departments within which this work is carried out, how psychology and applied sport psychology services are conceptualized and integrated, and the responsibilities and service duties of a counseling psychologist and sport psychologist to university student-athletes, coaches, and staff. It is hoped that illustrating this relationship between university counseling and psychological services and athletic departments will demonstrate how campus resources can be employed to assist student-athletes with performance enhancement, personal enrichment, and life skills development. In addition, the author offers examples of ways that athletic coaching, administration, and program development can be enhanced through cultivation of positive relationships between university counseling and psychological services, and intercollegiate athletic departments.
In recent years, Division I athletics programs have hired counseling or clinical psychologists as a resource for student-athletes who need assistance with clinical issues, personal difficulties, and performance issues. This article documents the evolution of this type of position at Virginia Tech and includes a discussion of the goals of the clinical sport psychologist position, an overview of the daily activities the position entails, and a discussion of the issues that comprise the assessment, conceptualization, and treatment of student-athlete concerns. Models for conceptualizing and delivering sport psychology interventions are also discussed. Evidence indicates that having access to a mental health professional familiar with the issues facing college athletes can be instrumental in helping many of these student-athletes achieve success in the university setting.
Ronald B. Chamberlain
The author shares his experiences as a sport psychologist working for the Athletic Department at Brigham Young University. He describes both his educational background and the training experiences that prepared him for a career as a psychologist in a collegiate athletics department. The development and evolution of the sport psychologist role at Brigham Young University is also described, and a model for conceptualizing sport psychology with student-athletes is provided. The methods for delivering psychological services to student-athletes are detailed, and a typical daily, weekly, and semester schedule for a sport psychologist is presented. The author concludes by sharing what he finds challenging about working as a sport psychologist in a collegiate environment and what he has found most enjoyable about this career alternative for professional psychologists.
Patricia Marten DiBartolo, Linda Lin, Simone Montoya, Heather Neal, and Carey Shaffer
This study reports the psychometric development of a measure to assess individual differences in exercise motivations using a functionalist strategy (Snyder & Cantor, 1997). Factor analyses revealed two subscales for the newly developed Function of Exercise Scale (FES): Weight and Appearance (WA), and Health and Enjoyment (HE). FES-HE scores correlated with better psychological well-being and predicted prospectively monitored as well as concurrently and longitudinally assessed exercise behavior. FES-HE scores also correlated with lower pulse, systolic blood pressure, and salivary cortisol readings, indicating its association with better physical health. In contrast, FES-WA scores correlated with greater depressive and eating disorder symptoms, as well as lower self-esteem, and predicted the later emergence of eating disorder, but not depressive, symptoms. FES-WA scores failed to show a relationship with measures of physical well-being, including exercise engagement and vital sign data. Overall, the FES appears to hold promise as a succinct and psychometrically sound heuristic for meaningfully relating exercise motivations to important indices of both physical and psychological well-being.