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Geoff P. Lovell, John K. Parker, Abbe Brady, Stewart T. Cotterill and Glyn Howatson

Research has reported that initial evaluations of consultants’ competency are affected by dress and build. This investigation examined how athletes’ perceptions of sport psychology consultants (SPCs) are affected by SPCs’ physical characteristics of BMI and dress, and whether these perceptions are moderated by the athletes’ sex or standard of competition. Two hundred and thirty three competitive sports volunteers classified by sex and competitive standard viewed computer generated images of the same female SPC in sports and formal attire manipulated to represent a range of body mass indexes. Participants were asked to rank the SPCs in order of their preference to work with them, and to rate their perceived effectiveness of each of the SPCs. Results demonstrated that SPCs’ physical characteristics do influence athletes’ preference to work with them and perceptions of their effectiveness. Furthermore, athlete’s competitive standard does significantly moderate initial evaluation of SPCs based on physical characteristics.

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Tanya McGuane, Stephen Shannon, Lee-Ann Sharp, Martin Dempster and Gavin Breslin

, N.T. ( 2001 ). Eating habits and body mass control methods in flat race and national hunt jockeys . Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 19 , 33 – 34 . doi:10.1007/s10900-010-9306-x Baum , A. ( 2006 ). Eating disorders in the male athlete . Sports Medicine, 36 ( 1 ), 1 – 6