Sport psychology professionals have increasingly utilized technology for providing performance enhancement and clinical services. Some uncertainty exists amongst professionals to the ethical nature of providing services using technology. The purpose of this study was to survey Certified Consultants of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) on the frequency and perceived ethicality of their technology use for providing performance enhancement and clinical services. A secondary purpose was to investigate differences in perceived ethicality between consultants with professional licensure compared to unlicensed professionals. Results suggest overall technology use for service delivery by consultants is low. Technologies used to provide clinical services displayed significantly lower ethical ratings compared to their use for performance enhancement purposes. Differences between licensed consultants and those who are unlicensed emerged for the ethical perceptions of providing performance enhancement services via email, cell phone, and videoconferencing, as well as for clinical services provided via cell phone.
The Ethical Use of Technology for Clinical and Performance Enhancement Services: Prevalence and Perceptions Among Association for Applied Sport Psychology Certified Consultants
Matthew D. Bird and Brandonn S. Harris
Mental Toughness, Sport-Related Well-Being, and Mental Health Stigma Among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Student-Athletes
Matthew D. Bird, Eadie E. Simons, and Patricia C. Jackman
Mental toughness has been associated with factors related to psychological well-being, but little is known about its relationship with stigma toward mental health and mental health help-seeking. This study investigated the relationship between mental toughness, sport-related well-being, and personal stigma toward mental health in a sample of 154 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. The moderating effect of mental toughness on the relationship between public stigma and self-stigma toward mental health help-seeking was also explored. Mental toughness was significantly and positively associated with sport-related well-being, but not significantly related to personal stigma toward mental health. Moderation analysis indicated that mental toughness was not a significant moderator of the relationship between public stigma and self-stigma, but higher levels of mental toughness were significantly associated with lower levels of stigma toward mental health help-seeking. Building mental toughness may be a way to increase well-being and to reduce stigma toward help-seeking in student-athletes.
How Coaches Can Prevent and Address Alcohol Consumption Among Student-Athletes
Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Stinne Soendergaard, and Yanyun Yang
This manuscript seeks to offer insight about how coaches can better address drinking among collegiate student-athletes. Using a mixed-methods design, 519 NCAA coaches reported their attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking, and responded to open-ended questions about their perceived role, strategies, and challenges to addressing problems in this population. Three dimensions of coaches’ attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking emerged that were consistent regardless of the players’ or coach’s gender or division: Concerned Communication, Conditional Leniency, and Enforcement. Effective strategies identified by coaches included enforcement of policy, education about consequences of drinking, establishment of quality coach-athlete relationships, and management of athletes’ schedules. Coaches indicated the need to play a role in managing, educating, influencing, and supporting the student-athletes to prevent alcohol misuse. Coaches reported challenges regarding the culture of drinking on college campuses, individual differences (e.g., age) among student-athletes, acceptance and enforcement of the alcohol policy, lack of awareness about student-athletes’ activities, and identification of alcohol misuse.
Student-Athlete and Student Non-Athletes’ Stigma and Attitudes Toward Seeking Online and Face-to-Face Counseling
Matthew D. Bird, Graig M. Chow, Gily Meir, and Jaison Freeman
This study investigated differences in stigmatization by others, self-stigma, and attitudes (value and discomfort) toward online counseling (OC) and face-to-face counseling (F2F), and the relationships between these variables, in college student-athletes (n = 101) and non-athletes (n = 101). Results revealed no differences in levels of stigmatization by others and self-stigma between student-athletes and non-athletes. Furthermore, both groups reported higher value, and less discomfort, in F2F compared to OC, while non-athletes reported higher levels of value in F2F compared to student-athletes. A multiple group path analysis revealed no difference in the relationship of the stigma and attitudes variables between the two groups. Stigmatization by others was a significant positive predictor of self-stigma and value in OC. In addition, self-stigma was a significant negative predictor of value in F2F, and a significant positive predictor of discomfort in F2F. The current findings have implications for university counseling centers and athletic departments.
Alcohol Consumption Literacy, Alcohol Confrontation Efficacy, and the Educational and Training Needs of Coaches to Manage Student-Athlete Alcohol Misuse
Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Stinne Soendergaard, and Todd A. Gilson
The rate of alcohol consumption among student-athletes places them at risk for engaging in unsafe behaviors. Although coaches play a key role in regulating alcohol use among athletes, many lack the knowledge and self-confidence to be effective. This study aimed to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption literacy and alcohol confrontation efficacy among National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches and attempted to identify types of training and education wanted to better manage student-athlete alcohol use. A total of 518 National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches completed alcohol consumption literacy and alcohol confrontation efficacy measures and two open-ended questions about what kind of alcohol training, information, and skills were needed. When accounting for previous education/training and gender of team coached, alcohol consumption literacy predicted all confrontation efficacy subscales. Content analysis showed coaches wanted training related to alcohol literacy, effective communication, and prevention planning. Findings have implications for designing alcohol prevention and intervention programs aimed at National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches.
“It’s About Going From Good to Great”: Expert Approaches to Conducting a First Sport Psychology Session
Graig M. Chow, Lindsay M. Garinger, Jaison Freeman, Savanna K. Ward, and Matthew D. Bird
The aim of this study was to investigate expert practitioners’ approaches to conducting a first sport psychology session with individual clients as there is sparse empirical literature on this topic. Nine expert Certified Mental Performance Consultants completed a semistructured interview where they discussed experiences conducting a first meeting with an athlete. Primary objectives included establishing the relationship, setting guidelines and expectations, understanding the client’s background, identifying presenting concerns, and formulating the treatment plan and building skills. Building rapport was an aspect used to establish the relationship while discussing confidentiality was utilized to set guidelines. Important strategies employed to increase the perceived benefits to services included conveying the consulting approach and philosophy. Lessons learned centered around doing too much and not appreciating individual differences of clients. Findings show expert consultants aim to achieve similar broad objectives in the first session and provide a basis for best practices in this area.
“I Realized It Was a Different Kind of Culture to Other Sports”: An Exploration of Sport Psychology Service Provision and Delivery in Gaelic Games
Patricia C. Jackman, Aoife Lane, David Tod, and Matthew D. Bird
In this article, we present two studies that provide the first evidence on sport psychology services in Gaelic games. In Study 1, 36 participants providing support for mental aspects of performance in Gaelic games completed a survey that ascertained an initial insight into practitioners and the services they provided in this context. Findings of Study 1 suggested considerable engagement with psychology support in Gaelic games but also highlighted a range of challenges with service delivery. In Study 2, we interviewed 11 sport psychology consultants to understand the active ingredients that contribute to context-driven sport psychology in Gaelic games and the role of contextual intelligence. Findings from Study 2 offered insights into how participants shaped their services to the context and how the active ingredients for effective service delivery, including working alliances, buy-in, and engagement with individuals within the performance environment, could be enabled or constrained in this context.
A Program to Reduce Stigma Toward Mental Illness and Promote Mental Health Literacy and Help-Seeking in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Student-Athletes
Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Nicole T. Gabana, Brandon T. Cooper, and Martin A. Swanbrow Becker
Student-athletes are susceptible to mental health problems that disrupt optimal functioning and well-being. Despite having many protective factors, student-athletes represent an at-risk subgroup of college students who experience mental health concerns due to the distress of balancing multiple obligations. However, many student-athletes underutilize psychological services. Stigma is the main barrier preventing student-athletes from seeking help, and mental health literacy (MHL) interventions addressing knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders have traditionally been used to destigmatize mental illness. This study investigated the impact of a 4-week program on stigma, MHL, and attitudes and intentions toward seeking help with 33 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. The program was composed of four science-based interventions—MHL, empathy, counter stereotyping, and contact—delivered face-to-face within a group setting. MHL, attitudes toward seeking help, and intentions to seek counseling improved from preintervention to postintervention and to 1-month follow-up. Self-stigma was reduced from preintervention to postintervention.