Heart Rate Variability (HRV) technology enables practitioners to analyze the physiological effects of stress. High levels of HRV are associated with improved stress management and sport performance. This study examined the effectiveness of athletes’ (N = 20 collegiate male soccer players) existing mental strategies in maintaining high HRV following three separate stressors. A brief (12-minute) athlete-specific adaptation of a physiological assessment protocol was administered to all athletes. Findings suggest that athletes significantly improved HRV following a cognitive and sport-specific stressor (p < .05); however, athletes were unable to increase HRV following a physical stressor (p > .05). Results suggest athletes were less equipped to cope with physical pain. The process of providing assessment feedback to coaches and athletes is discussed. Finally, clinical and research applications for this brief assessment are introduced and explored.
Joanne Perry, Ashley Hansen, Michael Ross, Taylor Montgomery and Jeremiah Weinstock
Joanne E. Perry, Michael Ross, Jeremiah Weinstock and Terri Weaver
Research has supported mindfulness as a predictor of athletic success. This study used a parallel trial design to examine the benefit of a brief one-session mindfulness training for performance on an individual, nonpacing, closed skill athletic task (i.e., golf putting). All participants (N = 65) answered questionnaires and engaged in two trials of the putting task. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group using a simple randomization strategy. Between trials, the intervention group received a mindfulness intervention. Mindfulness intervention included psychoeducation, reflection upon previous sport experiences, an experiential exercise, and putting applications. Repeated-measures ANOVAs demonstrated that the intervention group exhibited more successful outcomes on objective putting performance, flow state experience, and state anxiety (p < .05). Results suggest mindfulness may prevent performance deterioration and could produce psychological benefits after a brief training session.
Zachary C. Merz, Joanne E. Perry and Michael J. Ross
Treatment of sport-related concussion and subsequent postconcussion syndrome represents a highly complex and multidisciplinary endeavor. Current practice often includes observation by a physician, brief cognitive testing, and outside referrals (e.g., sport psychologist, clinical psychologist, or counseling psychologist) if necessary. However, it is hypothesized that the role of a clinician with interdisciplinary training in clinical psychology, sport psychology, and neuropsychology, henceforth known as the clinical sport neuropsychologist, would represent a holistic treatment provider. It is predicted that a provider with this diverse training background would have a unique constellation of skills that may generate efficient and effective treatment with concussed athletes. The subsequent intervention program is diverse, incorporating neuropsychology, sport psychology, and clinical psychology principles to effectively treat symptoms of post-concussion syndrome while providing psychoeducation regarding current scientific trends. Throughout the program, consultation ranged to incorporate neuropsychological assessment, sport-focused performance enhancement, and psychotherapy focusing on athletic role-transition. Subjective feedback of the athlete suggested that the intervention program was useful. The current case example introduces the potential value of a clinical sport neuropsychologist working within the intersectionality of these psychological disciplines in treating sport-related concussion and its associated conditions.
Bradley Donohue, Marina Galante, Julia Maietta, Bern Lee, Nina Paul, Joanne E. Perry, Arianna Corey and Daniel N. Allen
The conspicuous absence of validated screening measures specific to mental health symptomology in collegiate athletes has negatively affected clinical practice in this population. Therefore, this study was performed to develop a sport specific measure to optimally identify collegiate athletes who are particularly likely to benefit from mental health programming. Participants were 289 collegiate-athletes who were assessed for mental health symptomology using the Global Severity Index of Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (GSI), factors that interfere with sport performance using the Problems in Sport Competition Scale (PSCS) and Problems in Sport Training Scale (PSTS), and motivation to pursue professional counseling using the Desire to Pursue Sport Psychology Scale (DSPS). As hypothesized, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that PSCS, PSTS and DSPS scores significantly predicted GSI scores, controlling gender and sport status (NCAA, club, intramural). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis indicated that high-risk athletes (GSI T-scores ≥ 60) could be correctly classified by PSTS and PSCS scores. Results suggest the PSCS and PSTS may assist identification of collegiate athletes who are especially appropriate for mental health programs. These scales additionally identify factors directly relevant to athletes’ sport performance.
Ashley A. Hansen, Joanne E. Perry, John W. Lace, Zachary C. Merz, Taylor L. Montgomery and Michael J. Ross
Evidence for the mechanisms of change by which sport psychology interventions enhance performance is limited and treatment monitoring and outcomes measures would assist in establishing evidence-based practices. The present paper fills a gap in sport psychology literature by demonstrating the development and validation of a new measure (Sport Psychology Outcomes and Research Tool; SPORT). Study 1 described test construction and pilot item selection with 73 collegiate student-athletes. Twenty-three pilot items contributed unique variance while maintaining the original constructs and were selected from 80 initial items. In Study 2, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted with collegiate student-athletes (n = 220), revealing a 17-item, four-factor model measuring Athlete Wellbeing, Self-Regulation, Performance Satisfaction, and Sport-Related Distress. Concurrent validity was supported through correlational analyses. Overall, results supported the SPORT as a new transtheoretical tool for monitoring effectiveness and outcomes of sport psychology interventions.