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.
Edward F. Etzel and Jack C. Watson II
Brandonn S. Harris and Jack C. Watson II
The utility of Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory (1985) and Coakley’s unidimensional identity model (1992) has yet to be adequately assessed in understanding youth athlete burnout. This may be due to a lack of measures available to assess these relevant constructs in a youth athlete sample. Having such inventories would likely enhance practitioners’ ability to identify, prevent, and treat this phenomenon more effectively in young children. Therefore, the current study assessed the psychometric properties for modified burnout, motivation, and athletic identity inventories for a youth athlete sample. Participants included 88 youth swimmers ranging in age from 7 to 12 years, who completed measures assessing burnout, motivation, and athletic identity. Internal consistencies and exploratory factor analyses provided preliminary psychometric support for the use and continued evaluation of these revised measures with young athletes.
Brandonn S. Harris and Jack C. Watson II
Recent research has used self-determination theory to examine athlete burnout among adults. However, there is a dearth of theory-driven research investigating burnout among young athletes, particularly as it pertains to its sociological influences. With research suggesting that motives for sport (dis)continuation vary among athletes of different ages, this study assessed the utility of self-determination theory (SDT) and Coakley’s model for youth burnout while examining developmental differences. Participants included swimmers of ages 7–17. Analyses revealed a model that approached adequate ft indices and accounted for 70% of the burnout variance. Results supported utilizing these theories to understand youth burnout while accounting for developmental differences.
Robert C. Hilliard, Lorenzo A. Redmond, and Jack C. Watson II
Although factors involved with help-seeking have been widely studied in the general college population, college student-athletes have received less attention. The purpose of this study was to examine the moderating role of self-compassion on the relationship between public and self-stigma, and how self-stigma was associated with attitudes toward seeking counseling. A sample of 243 student-athletes from NCAA Divisions I and III participated in the study. Using structural equation modeling, self-compassion was not found to moderate the relationship between public and self-stigma. However, public stigma was positively associated with self-stigma, and self-stigma was negatively associated with attitudes toward counseling. A multigroup analysis did not find differences between males and females for the model. The results of this study have implications for professionals who work with college student-athletes and suggest that efforts should aim to reduce stigma and examine alternative factors that might improve attitudes toward mental health help-seeking.
Jana L. Fogaca, Jack C. Watson II, and Sam J. Zizzi
A fundamental issue in applied sport psychology is the development of competent professionals who can provide effective and ethical services to clients. The current study uses a qualitative longitudinal design to track the development of five novice sport psychology practitioners in their first year of practice. The research team analyzed and integrated data from surveys, interviews, and journals to understand the participants’ experiences and compare them to previous literature on practitioner development. Participants reported increased confidence and flexibility over time, and reduced their perceived anxiety and dependence on supervision. These changes were similar in nature to what has been reported for counseling trainees, but seemed to happen more quickly. These findings highlight important developmental characteristics of first year sport psychology practitioners, which can help graduate programs to tailor their supervision and training to their students’ needs.
William C. Way, Ashley M. Coker-Cranney, and Jack C. Watson II
Using the framework of multidisciplinary best practice recommendations promoted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, this study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate Division I student-athletes’ perceived access to and satisfaction with mental health service availability. Participants were asked about their satisfaction with direct (e.g., counseling, psychiatry, assessment) and indirect (e.g., mental health outreach, educational workshops) service availability, both on campus and within athletics. Results from a researcher-generated survey indicated that participants were moderately satisfied with service availability in each of the four contexts. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that student-athletes’ satisfaction was predicted by different factors for each service type-location combination. Qualitative data contained requests for more athlete-centered mental health services as well as more preventative outreach in general. These data provide a foundation for understanding factors that influence student-athletes’ satisfaction with mental health service availability and offer practical implications for current best practice recommendations.