Current Sport Psychology Projects and Grants

The UNT Center for Sport Psychology’s faculty and graduate students maintain active research programs. Areas of research by the Center’s staff include: physical and psychological health of adolescents; eating disorders and body image; psychological antecedents and consequences of athletic injury; influences of parents, peers, and coaches in youth sport; to name a few. Whether a prospective graduate student or an athlete or coach, we invite you to learn more about our ongoing research projects.

Project S.H.A.P.E. UP: Physical Fitness, Physical Activity, Psychological Health, and Academic Performance of Adolescents
Investigators: Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D., Scott Martin, Ph.D., Christy Greenleaf, Ph.D., and Priscilla Connors, Ph.D.
  - Supported by a Grant from the National Association of Sport and Physical Education
  - In Association With: Denton Independent School District (DISD)
  - 2011-2012 represents 4th year of this longitudinal project
The Texas legislature passed a law (SB 530) requiring mandatory annual fitness testing (using the FITNESSGRAM) within the public schools for grades 3-12. The preliminary results from 2007-2008 showed that fewer than 25% of middle school girls and 20% of middle school boys achieved the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) on all six tests (Texas Education Association, 2008). These data indicate that lack of physical activity and fitness are real concerns for students in Texas, a problem that becomes progressively worse as students matriculate through high school. Although the state is collecting and reporting aggregate data, these data are limited because they only address fitness status. Since 2008, our research team is collaborating with the school districts on a longitudinal study to examine the interaction of physical fitness, psychological health and well-being, nutrition, and academic performance among middle school boys and girls. Physical activity and fitness (cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, etc.), psychological health (positive mood states, etc.), food choices and nutrition (e.g., fruits, vegetables, and dairy products), and family and social environment influence academic performance, school attendance, negative school incidents, and negative health outcomes. Determining the key factors thought to impact these physical and mental health outcomes is important to develop appropriate interventions for adolescence, the critical period of life between puberty and adulthood.

Physical and Psychological Health of Male Collegiate Athletes
Researchers: Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D. and Justine Chatterton, M.A.
  - Supported by a Grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association
During the 2010-2011 school year, male collegiate athletes will be drawn from Division I, II, and III level university/college athletic departments. Each athlete will complete a series of questionnaires designed to assess important aspects of their current physical and psychological functioning, particularly as it relates to body image, eating behaviors, and pressures within their sport training environments. Data will be analyzed to determine: (a) the prevalence of body image concerns and eating disorder behaviors, and (b) the relationship of psychological factors in increasing male athletes’ risk of experiencing an eating disorder. Upon completion, aggregate findings and recommendations will be made to the NCAA.