Since the first Paralympics in 1960 there has been an increase in social and scientific interest in Paralympic athletes’ personality, their preparation, and their sport results. During the last 20 yr, researchers and practitioners have been focused on psychological-skills programs for athletes with disabilities. The purpose of this article was to describe a psychological-preparation program for Israeli Paralympic athletes. Two subprograms, the learning-modification-application approach and the Simulation Training Exercise Program, were adapted to athletes’ disability and sport demands. Two case studies, from table tennis and sailing (Sonar 3-person keelboat), are described to demonstrate how systematic sport psychology preparation can be effectively integrated into the training process of Paralympic athletes. Some recommendations for Paralympic athletes are presented.
Boris Blumenstein and Iris Orbach
Takahiro Sato, Justin A. Haegele and Rachel Foot
The purpose of this study was to investigate in-service physical education (PE) teachers’ experiences during online adapted physical education (APE) graduate courses. Based on andragogy theory (adult learning theory) we employed a descriptive qualitative methodology using an explanatory case study design. The participants (6 female and 3 male) were in-service PE teachers enrolled in an online graduate APE endorsement program. Data collection included journal reflection reports and face-to-face interviews. A constant comparative method was used to interpret the data. Three interrelated themes emerged from the participants’ narratives. The first theme, instructor communication, exposes the advantages and disadvantages the participants perceived regarding communication while enrolled in the online APE graduate courses. The second theme, bulletin board discussion experiences, described participants’ perceptions of the use of the bulletin board discussion forum. Lastly, the final theme, assessment experiences, described how the participants learned knowledge and skills through online courses related to assessment and evaluation.
Chris Button, Stuart Moyle and Keith Davids
There has been no direct attempt to evaluate whether gait performed overground and on a treadmill is the same for lower limb amputees. A multiple case study approach was adopted to explore the degenerate movement behavior displayed by three male amputees. Participants walked overground at a self-selected preferred pace and when this speed was enforced on a treadmill (50 stride cycles per condition). The extremities of motion (i.e., maximum flexion) for the hip and knee joints differed between conditions (0.2–3.8°). For two participants, the temporal asymmetry of gait was reduced on the treadmill. Initial data suggest that research on amputees simulating overground walking on a treadmill might need to be interpreted with some caution.
Brenda Rossow-Kimball and Donna Goodwin
This phenomenological case study examined the leisure experiences of five women with intellectual disabilities (ages 44–60) in two group homes. Using participant observation, artifacts, and semistructured interviews, the nature of the women’s leisure experiences were understood within the conceptual framework of self-determination. Five staff members were also interviewed to further contextualize the women’s leisure experiences. Thematic analysis revealed three main themes: leisure at home, leisure in the community, and leisure with family and friends. Leisure was experienced differently in each group home, largely due to staff-created input into leisure choices. In one group home, leisure was supervised; in the other, independent leisure was encouraged. The study highlights the importance of promoting self-determined leisure for those approaching retirement age.
John V. Stokes and James K. Luiselli
Functional analysis (FA) is an experimental methodology for identifying the behavior-reinforcing effects of social and non-social consequences. The data produced from a FA are used to select intervention procedures. In this case study, we conducted a FA with a male high school football athlete by manipulating social contingencies within practice tackling drills. The FA suggested that the highest percentage of correct tackling occurred when the participant was able to “escape” interaction with the coach following drills. After demonstrating that the participant had a low percentage of correct tackling during a baseline (preintervention) phase, the coach provided him delayed written performance feedback after practice. This intervention was associated with a higher percentage of correct tackling. The participant also tackled proficiently during a postintervention in-game assessment. The advantages of conducting a FA when intervening with athletes are discussed.
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine an inclusive, third grade physical education class containing a child with severe cerebral palsy and a visual impairment from a social constructionist perspective. Data were collected from four primary sources over a six-month period: interviews, observations, document review, and journals. Boyzaitis’s (1998) five-step process was utilized in the data analysis, which uncovered three primary themes: the teacher’s belief in the development of social skills for students with and without disabilities, the teacher’s use of purposeful strategies to accommodate students with disabilities, and student learning shaped by personal experience. Student and teacher experiences were interpreted within the conceptual framework of social construction as a means of describing relevant and meaningful relationships.
Mark H. Anshel
This article proposes a new approach to health behavior change, the disconnected values (intervention) model (DVM). The DVM consists of predetermined cognitive-behavioral strategies for initiating and maintaining changes in health behavior, such as the implementation of an exercise program. The model consists of helping clients (a) examine the benefits, in contrast to the costs and long-term consequences, of the habit they most want to change; (b) identify their deepest values and beliefs (e.g., health, family, faith, integrity); (c) detect a “disconnect” between the negative habit and the identified values; and (d) conclude whether the disconnect is acceptable, given its costs and long-term consequences. The client’s conclusion that the disconnect is unacceptable creates incentive and commitment for health behavior change. The theoretical foundations of the DVM are explained, and its specific application for exercise behavior change is described. Three outcome studies also are reported, as well as a brief case study. Implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research are provided.
Ryan Sappington and Kathryn Longshore
The field of applied sport psychology has traditionally grounded its performance enhancement techniques in the cognitive-behavioral elements of psychological skills training. These interventions typically advocate for controlling one’s cognitive and emotional processes during performance. Mindfulness-based approaches, on the other hand, have recently been introduced and employed more frequently in an effort to encourage athletes to adopt a nonjudgmental acceptance of all thoughts and emotions. Like many applied interventions in sport psychology, however, the body of literature supporting the efficacy of mindfulness-based approaches for performance enhancement is limited, and few efforts have been made to draw evidence-based conclusions from the existing research. The current paper had the purpose of systematically reviewing research on mindfulness-based interventions with athletes to assess (a) the efficacy of these approaches in enhancing sport performance and (b) the methodological quality of research conducted thus far. A comprehensive search of relevant databases, including peer-reviewed and gray literature, yielded 19 total trials (six case studies, two qualitative studies, seven nonrandomized trials, and four randomized trials) in accordance with the inclusion criteria. An assessment tool was used to score studies on the quality of research methodology. While a review of this literature yielded preliminary support for the efficacy of mindfulness-based performance enhancement strategies, the body of research also shows a need for more methodologically rigorous trials.
This response to a case study focuses on how I would approach the development of an intervention program for Jenny. Such a program begins with extensive psychological and physical assessments. The psychological assessment would be garnered primarily through observation of Jenny at practice and in games, extensive interviewing of the athlete, and, with her permission, interviewing her coaches and parents. The physical assessment would involve testing of Jenny’s injured knee as well as a complete conditioning evaluation. The key issues that emerged as part of the conceptualization of Jenny’s Performance Dysfunction include: (a) family issues, including the internalizations of a perfectionistic father and a needy mother; (b) unresolved feelings related to her parents’ divorce; and (c) emotional immaturity that expresses itself in fear of failure, inappropriate emotions, and avoidance from conflict. The intervention would take a multimodal approach that involves: (a) insight; (b) emotional exploration; (c) behavioral change; and (d) mental skills. The program would conclude with a post-intervention assessment that would be comprised of objective evaluation of Jenny’s physical condition, coach feedback about Jenny’s behavior, and, finally, Jenny’s own assessment of changes that have occurred due to the intervention.
Michael McCrea and Matthew R. Powell
This article reviews the essential components of a practical, evidenced-based approach to the management of sport-related concussion in an ambulatory care setting. The model presented is based on the core philosophy that concussion assessment and management be approached from the biopsychosocial perspective, which recognizes the medical/physiological, psychological, and sociological factors that influence recovery and outcome following concussion. Based on the biopsychosocial paradigm, we outline a care delivery model that emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach in which the clinical neuropsychologist is a key participant. We discuss the importance of nonmedical, psychoeducational interventions introduced during the acute phase to facilitate recovery after sport-related concussion. Finally, using the local experience of our “Concussion Clinic” as a backdrop, we offer two separate case studies that demonstrate the value of this model in evaluating and managing athletes after sport-related concussion. The overall objective of this paper is to provide an adaptable template that neuropsychologists and other healthcare providers can use to improve the overall care of athletes with sport-related concussion and civilians with mild traumatic brain injury.