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Justine J. Reel and Emily Crouch

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Carrie B. Scherzer and Justine J. Reel

In this commentary, we try to present a balanced look at the issues surrounding the implementation of the certification exam for recertification purposes. We recognize that the changes to certification are complex and varied, as were reactions by the membership of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). As long-standing AASP members who are also certified consultants, we look at the costs, benefits, and ultimately the reality of the CMPC exam for recertification.

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Ashley Coker-Cranney and Justine J. Reel

When athletes “uncritically accept” the coaching expectations associated with their sport, negative health consequences (e.g., disordered eating behaviors, clinical eating disorders) may result. The coach’s influence on disordered eating behaviors may be a product of factors related to overconformity to the sport ethic, issues with coach communication regarding recommendations for weight management, and the strength of the coach-athlete relationship. The present study investigated perceived weight-related coach pressure, the coach-athlete relationship, and disordered eating behaviors by surveying 248 female varsity athletes and dancers from four universities. Mediational analysis revealed that the coach-athlete relationship was a partial mediating variable between perceived coach pressures and disordered eating behaviors. Subsequently, strong relationships between coaches and their athletes may reduce the negative impact of perceived weight-related coach pressure on the development or exacerbation of disordered eating behaviors in female collegiate athletes.

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Justine J. Reel and Robert A. Bucciere

According to stigma theory, individuals with disabilities possess “discrediting attributes” that prevent them from meeting culturally constructed standards of beauty. An individual with a disability may find that his or her body is viewed as being somehow defective, deviant, or grotesque. Persons with disabilities feel that they are unable to achieve the societal ideal and that their masculinity or femininity may be questioned (Bucciere & Reel, 2009). As a result, individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities face a decreased sense of self worth, poor body image, and in some cases may be vulnerable to eating disorders.

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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

In this study, the authors examined female competitive figure skaters’ experiences of weight pressure in sport. Perceptions of the ideal skating body; sources of weight pressure; ways that body image, weight-management behaviors, and athletic performance have been affected; and recommendations for improving body image were explored. Aligning with a social constructivist view (Creswell, 2014), data were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Skaters described the ideal skating body in an inflexible fashion with little room for deviation and acceptance of body diversity. Skaters cited their first weightpressure experience between 7 and 14 years of age, which most notably involved coaches, parents, skating partners, and other aspects of the skating culture. These experiences were characterized as promoting body-image concerns, unhealthy weight-management strategies, and interference with the psychological aspects of on-ice performance. Results from this study demonstrate the need to construct and maintain body-positive skating environments.

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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to examine male competitive figure skaters’ experiences of weight pressure in sport. Specifically, male skaters’ perceptions of the ideal skating body, sources of weight pressure in elite figure skating, and the perceived role of their sport in shaping body image, athletic performance, eating, and exercise behaviors were explored. Through a social constructivist lens, an inductive thematic analysis was used to examine the contextual influences of the skating environment. Thirteen male figure skaters ages 16–24 (M = 18.53, SD = 3.33) with an average 10.38 years of skating experience (SD = 4.05) were interviewed. Skaters identified the parameters for the ideal body in skating along with specific weight pressures, body image concerns, and weight management strategies. Similar to female skaters, male skaters perceived that body image affected psychological factors that influence sport performance. Sport psychologists and consultants should be attentive to the skating environment and how specific performance and appearance demands may influence an athlete’s mindset.