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Geoff P. Lovell, John K. Parker and Gary J. Slater

Research in sports-science disciplines such as sport psychology has demonstrated that practitioners’ physical characteristics influence clients’ perceptions of their effectiveness, potentially mediating the efficacy of subsequent interventions. However, very little research has been directed toward this issue for sports dietitians (SDs), the health professionals whom athletes are likely to engage to assist with manipulation of traits of physique. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine whether SDs’ phenotype, specifically body-mass index (BMI), and type of dress influence potential clients’ preference to consult them for dietetic support and if this affects their perceived effectiveness.

Methods:

One hundred volunteers (mean age 18.7 ± 0 .8 years) all participating in regular competitive sport, classified by gender (male, n = 55, or female, n = 45) and competitive standard (elite/subelite, n = 68, or club/recreational, n = 32) viewed slides representing four concurrently presented computer-generated images of the same female SD manipulated to represent different BMIs and dress types. Participants were asked to rank the SDs in order of their preference to work with them and, second, to rate their perceived effectiveness of each of the SDs.

Results:

Key findings included the observation of a significant BMI main effect F(6, 91) = 387.39, p < .001 (effect size .96), with participants’ ranking of preference and rating of perceived effectiveness of female SDs decreasing with increasing BMI.

Conclusion:

SDs should consider their physical appearance when meeting with athletes, as this may affect their perceived efficacy.

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Steven Love, Lee Kannis-Dymand and Geoff P. Lovell

This study investigated triathletes’ metacognitions and mindfulness traits (N = 232) measured prior to competition, and flow (N = 63), post competition. The primary aim was to investigate whether metacognitions (measured by the Metacognitions Questionnaire) would associate with mindfulness facets (measured by the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire – Short Form), and metacognitions would also predict flow scores (measured by the Short Flow State Scale), over and above mindfulness facets. Regression analyses showed that metacognitions individually predicted mindfulness facets. A hierarchical regression showed that positive beliefs about worry negatively predicted flow, while a lack of cognitive confidence, beliefs about the need for thought control and acting with awareness positively predicted flow. These findings indicate that a) metacognitive beliefs are influential to cognitive predispositions, b) typically dysfunctional metacognitions may play a different role in competitive environments, and c) metacognitions may play a more important role in the occurrence of flow, than mindfulness.

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Geoff P. Lovell, John K. Parker, Abbe Brady, Stewart T. Cotterill and Glyn Howatson

Research has reported that initial evaluations of consultants’ competency are affected by dress and build. This investigation examined how athletes’ perceptions of sport psychology consultants (SPCs) are affected by SPCs’ physical characteristics of BMI and dress, and whether these perceptions are moderated by the athletes’ sex or standard of competition. Two hundred and thirty three competitive sports volunteers classified by sex and competitive standard viewed computer generated images of the same female SPC in sports and formal attire manipulated to represent a range of body mass indexes. Participants were asked to rank the SPCs in order of their preference to work with them, and to rate their perceived effectiveness of each of the SPCs. Results demonstrated that SPCs’ physical characteristics do influence athletes’ preference to work with them and perceptions of their effectiveness. Furthermore, athlete’s competitive standard does significantly moderate initial evaluation of SPCs based on physical characteristics.