This study prospectively investigated the effects of life stress, psychological coping skills, competitive trait anxiety, and playing status (starter vs. non-starter) on injury in 158 NCAA Division I-A collegiate football players. Playing status moderated the influence of the psychosocial variables as predictors of athletic injury. For starters positive life stress, coping skills, and competitive trait anxiety accounted for 60% of the injury variance. In addition, competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of positive life stress such that increases in these variables were associated with increases in the number of days missed due to injury. No relationship between any of the psychosocial variables and injury emerged for nonstarters. Implications for future research are discussed with respect to the Andersen and Williams (1988) theoretical model.
Trent A. Petrie
This study extended the examination of the eating disorders continuum to the population of female athletes. Participants (215 collegiate gymnasts) were classified as normal/nondisordered eaters, exercisers, bingers, dieter/restricters, subthreshold bulimics, or bulimics and were then compared on several personality and attitudinal measures. Results revealed that (a) over 60% of the gymnasts met the criteria for one of the intermediate disordered eating categories, (b) only 22% reported eating behaviors that could be classified as normal or nondisordered, and (c) higher levels of disordered eating disturbance, particularly bulimia nervosa, were associated with a desire to weigh less, lower body satisfaction, lower self-esteem, and greater endorsement of sociocultural values regarding women's attractiveness. The findings provide partial support for the eating continuum in female athletes, and suggest that disordered eating may be the normative behavior in this population. Implications for interventions as well as directions for future research are provided.
Joey Ramaeker and Trent A. Petrie
We explored athletic trainers’ (ATs) beliefs regarding the roles of fellow ATs and sport psychologists (SPs) when working with athletes, and assessed where ATs’ typically refer athletes with psychological concerns. ATs’ beliefs and referral preferences across three hypothetical sport performance scenarios also were evaluated. ATs viewed aiding athletes’ psychological recovery from injury as their most acceptable role followed by teaching mental skills and counseling regarding personal issues. ATs rated SPs’ roles similarly. Regarding the scenarios, ATs were most likely to refer to a SP when performance was affected by mental factors. Considering performance difficulties attributed to interpersonal concerns, ATs were most likely to refer to a counselor. When recovering from physical injury, ATs viewed referring to a sport psychologist and assisting on their own as equally viable options. ATs’ views regarding their roles and referral preferences likely reflect educational and clinical experiences. Collaboration between athletic training and sport psychology professional organizations and individual professionals is warranted to enhance athlete care.
Trent A. Petrie and C. Edward Watkins Jr.
As the field of sport psychology has evolved and become more focused on applied/practitioner issues, the need for interdisciplinary training has been noted. Little information exists, however, concerning the acceptability of sport psychology training in applied psychology programs. Thus, 41 counseling psychology programs and 41 exercise/sport science departments (matched pairs) were surveyed to determine their relative attitudes toward sport psychology research, training, and current professional issues. The exercise/sport science departments were found to offer more courses in sport psychology and to have more faculty and students interested in sport research. Over 70% of the counseling psychology programs, however, had students with sport psychology interests. In addition, the two academic areas reported equally high levels of acceptance concerning their graduate students pursuing sport psychology research and training. Mechanisms for promoting interdisciplinary training in sport psychology are discussed.
Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu and Trent A. Petrie
Time and access to teams may be limited for sport psychology professionals, particularly those working in the college sport setting. Thus, learning how to intervene with teams and individual athletes within short, defined timeframes becomes essential for working effectively in this environment. In this article, using de Shazer’s solution-focused brief therapy along with Weinberg and Williams’s steps of psychological skills training, the authors describe the development and implementation of a brief intervention under time-limited circumstances (15 days, 15 min/day) through a preseason training program with a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I women’s volleyball team. Then, they present data and evaluations based on the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 and athlete feedback, which support program effectiveness. They further reflect on the program strengths (e.g., individualization) and challenges (e.g., limited coach involvement) to provide recommendations for intervening briefly, yet systematically and effectively, to maximize athletes’ psychological skills under constraints.
Karen D. Cogan and Trent A. Petrie
Applied sport consultants continue to offer intervention programs to athletes; however, research determining the efficacy of such programs has been lacking. This paper (a) briefly describes a season-long, multidimensional sport psychology intervention with a collegiate women’s gymnastics team, and (b) presents the results of the evaluation, examining the effectiveness of the program in reducing competitive state anxiety and increasing team cohesion, the two areas of evaluative focus. Results indicate that the intervention gymnasts had higher levels of social cohesion during the initial part of the competitive season than did control gymnasts. In addition, the intervention gymnasts reported decreases in cognitive and somatic levels from the end of the preseason through the middle of the competitive season. Findings are presented in relation to qualitative feedback provided by the coaches and gymnasts. Directions for future research and the intervention team’s evaluation of the program also are discussed.
Stephanie L. Barrett and Trent A. Petrie
Although researchers have examined eating disorders in female athletes, few such studies have been done with athletes who are retired, and even fewer have been quantitative. Thus, the authors empirically tested an established eating disorder theoretical model with 218 former NCAA Division-I female collegiate athletes who had been retired for 2–6 years. In retirement, participants completed measures of general sociocultural pressures related to body and appearance, thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, negative affect, and bulimic symptomatology. Through structural equation modeling, the authors examined the direct and indirect relationships among the latent variables while controlling for body mass index and years since retirement. The model fit the data well, supporting the hypothesized direct and indirect relationships among the variables and explaining 54% of the variance in bulimic symptomatology. Despite no longer being exposed to sport pressures that contribute to eating disorders, female athletes experience such symptoms long into retirement.
Megan Drew, Trent A. Petrie, and Tess Palmateer
College student athletes face unique, sport-related stressors that may lead to, or exacerbate, mental health (MH) concerns and symptoms. Although the National Collegiate Athletic Association has identified MH screening as a best practice, minimal data exist regarding contemporary screening practices. We explored National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I (DI), Division II (DII), and Division III (DIII) athletic departments’ current MH screening practices (N = 264). Compared with DII/DIII (53%), a greater percentage of Division I (89%) conducted formal MH screening. At DII/DIII institutions, athletic trainers were more likely to both administer and review screeners than any other sports medicine professional; sport psychologists primarily oversaw these tasks at DI schools. DI, compared with DII/DIII, institutions were more likely to have had a student athlete attempt suicide (62% vs. 40%) and participate in inpatient treatment (69% vs. 43%). There is a clear need for the National Collegiate Athletic Association to continue to promote policies that support MH screening and to create mechanisms in which it can monitor institutional involvement.
Courtney B. Albinson and Trent A. Petrie
To examine the relationships among preinjury and postinjury stress, coping, personality, mood state, and rehabilitation adherence.
Participants completed measures of preinjury life-event stress, social-support satisfaction, dispositional optimism, and mood state. Injured athletes completed postinjury measures of mood state, coping methods, and cognitive appraisals of stress and coping ability 1, 4, 7, 14, and 28 days postinjury. Their athletic trainer completed a measure of rehabilitation adherence on those days.
84 college football players including 19 injured athletes.
Negative-life-event stress predicted postinjury mood disturbance, which was positively related with appraisals. Appraisals were related to greater avoidance coping at day 7, greater active behavioral coping at days 14 and 28, and less active cognitive coping at day 28. Active behavioral coping was associated with greater mood disturbance, and active cognitive coping and avoidance coping were inversely related.
Results support cognitive-appraisal models of sport injury and dynamic views of coping with injury.
Alexander Brian Yu, Thomas Nguyen, and Trent Petrie
As racially diverse, early-career sport psychology consultants (SPCs), we reflect on our experiences working with collegiate athletes and coaches whose racial/ethnic status were different from our own. Our reflections cover (a) the external effects of stereotypes, presence (and pernicious effects) of microaggressions, and strategies for effectively coping with such transgressions; (b) stereotype threat and how Jeremy Lin’s entry into the NBA affected our self-perceptions; and (c) a call to action to further promote a multicultural approach to sport psychology training, research, and practice. In sharing these thoughts, we hope to promote further dialogue in the emerging field of cultural sport psychology.