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Zella E. Moore

The primary purpose of this article is to expand the discussion about the role of science, clinical thinking, the state of the discipline, and the manner in which evidence-based practice may aid in the development of the field of sport psychology. Rejecting pseudoscientific principles and embracing sound scientific standards of research and practice will result in an increasingly fresh and vibrant field from which greater innovation and evolution can occur. This innovation will inevitably lead to a renewed commitment to theory building, as the evolving scientific database will drive new ways of thinking about the myriad of issues presented by athletic clientele. By embracing the evidence-based practice philosophy, not only will sound scientific advancements emerge, but most importantly, the overall well-being of our athletic clientele will be enhanced.

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Zella E. Moore

As long as athletes strive to attain optimal performance states and consistently reach high performance goals, psychological interventions will be used to assist in the development of skill and the maintenance of performance. In the pursuit of these goals, newer evidence-driven models based on mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches have been designed to achieve these ends. Based upon questionable efficacy data for traditional psychological skills training procedures that emphasize reduction or control of internal processes, mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches develop skills of nonjudging mindful awareness, mindful attention, and experiential acceptance to aid in the pursuit of valued goals. The most formalized and researched mindfulness- and acceptance-based approach within sport psychology is the manualized Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) protocol. In the 8 years since the MAC was first developed and presented, and the 5 years since the first publication on the protocol, the MAC program has accumulated a continually growing empirical base for both its underlying theory and intervention efficacy as a performance enhancement intervention. This article reviews the empirical and theoretical foundations of the mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches in general, and MAC in particular; reviews the accumulated empirical findings in support of the MAC approach for performance enhancement; and presents recent MAC developments and suggested future directions.

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Robert Schinke and Zella E. Moore

Sport psychologists work with athletes from a vast array of cultural backgrounds. Numerous factors comprise the cultural composition of both the client and the practitioner, including, though not necessarily limited to, ethnicity, socioeconomic background and status, race, socialization, sexual orientation, religion, gender, and geographic location. These intersecting and often deeply ingrained personal variables can certainly impact the nature of the therapeutic relationship, intervention strategies, and intervention outcomes with athletic clientele. Yet, while other domains of professional psychology have long embraced the integration of cultural aspects, the field of sport psychology has been slow to join the dialogue or to learn from these relevant sources. Therefore, this special issue of the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology was conceptualized and constructed with the intention of opening these lines of discussion to help ensure that sport psychologists are gaining a comprehensive understanding of the athletes with whom they work, demonstrating respect for and integration of cultural constructs in the treatment room, and maintaining personal and professional self-awareness. As Co-Editors of this unique special issue, Drs. Robert Schinke and Zella Moore provide the present paper to begin this important dialogue. This paper sets the stage for six informative articles by leading professionals in their areas, including both theoretical articles and articles highlighting culturally informed direct service provision with athletes from around the world. We hope that this timely special issue leads to numerous additional questions, cutting-edge research ideas, and most importantly, an enhanced or renewed commitment from sport psychologists to integrate the concepts found within these pages, and those already found within the professional literature of mainstream psychology, into their daily work with athletes.

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Frank L. Gardner and Zella E. Moore

Providing effective sport psychology services requires practitioners to conceptualize the unique issues and concerns of each individual athlete. However, collecting information on the athlete, understanding the athlete’s issues and needs, and determining how to best assist the athlete can be a complex process. Thus, this article outlines a case formulation approach to help the sport psychology consultant assess the athlete, organize and conceptualize assessment data, classify the athlete’s issues, and choose interventions that directly target those factors that are impeding the athlete’s progress in athletics or other life domains. Two case examples are provided to illustrate the case formulation process.

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Frank L. Gardner and Zella E. Moore

In response to the absence of a taxononomical system for the structured assessment, conceptualization, and intervention of athlete-clients, the MCS-SP is a model for the comprehensive evaluation of athlete-clients’ needs, strategies for in-depth case conceptualization, and systematic formulation of the most appropriate type and level of professional service required. This classification system is based on the primary issues, needs, and life circumstances of the athlete-client and the suggested assessment and intervention foci combine the environmental, interpersonal, intrapersonal, behavioral, and performance history/demands that impact athletic clientele. Categories within the taxonomy include Performance Development, Performance Dysfunction, Performance Impairment, and Performance Termination, each of which include two subtypes that further guide the appropriate, ethical, and effective provision of services.

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Zella E. Moore, Raquel Ciampa, Jaime Wilsnack and Elizabeth Wright

Eating disorders are serious clinical issues that can have severe physical and psychological ramifications. Although prevalence rates of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are low in the general population, it has been reported that prevalence rates are higher among individuals involved in the athletic milieu. Unfortunately, based on the demands of the sport environment, these individuals may be significantly less likely to seek treatment for these disorders, thus may experience dangerous short- and long-term consequences. Yet, even when such athletes do seek help, they often receive psychological treatments that have not been demonstrated to be efficacious among methodologically sound research studies. This article clarifies the current state of eating disorder treatment efficacy so that practitioners working with eating disordered athletic clientele can adopt more ethical and effective treatment practices.