Past Sport Psychology Projects and Grants

In conducting research, our purpose is to (a) add new knowledge and understanding to specific areas of study, and (b) translate what we learn into new and more effective ways of providing services to the athletes, coaches and parents with whom we work. We encourage you to review our past projects to learn more about our work.

Psychological Antecedents of and Responses to Sport Injury
Researchers:
Jay Deiters, Ph.D. and Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D.
During the 2010-2011 school year, male and female collegiate athletes from an NCAA Division university will participate. Athletes will complete a series of questionnaires prior to beginning their seasons, including measures of life stress and mental toughness, to name a few. The university’s athletic trainers will then follow the athletes through their respective seasons and record type and duration of injury. For those athletes who are injured, at 1, 4, 7, 14, and 28 days (and every two weeks following if still injured) following the injury, they will complete measures of current mood, coping, and stress. Data will be analyzed to determine: (a) the psychosocial factors that increase athletes’ risk of experiencing an injury during their seasons, (b) how they respond psychologically over the course of their injury, and (c) how psychosocial variables may affect their stress, coping, emotions, and approach to rehabilitation. Upon completion, aggregate findings and recommendations will be made to the university’s sports medicine department.

Parents’, Coaches’, and Peers’ Influence on the Motivational Climate for Adolescent Male Athletes
Investigators:
Matt Atkins, B.A., Erica Force, M.Ed., Dustin Johnson, M.S., and Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
During the 2010-2011 school year, 8th grade boys who are play school, select, or recreational sports will participate in this study. The boys will complete a series of questionnaires during normally schedule PE classes. The questionnaires will measure the motivational climates created by parents, coaches, and peers, the athletes’ goal orientation, sport competence, self-esteem, enjoyment, and intention to continue playing their sport. Data will be analyzed to determine how (and the extent to which) the motivational climate influences goal orientation, psychological health, and ultimately the athletes’ intention to continue playing their sport. Upon completion, aggregate findings and recommendations will be provided to the school district(s) from which the participants were drawn.

Mental Toughness and Psychological Well-Being Among Athletes
Investigators:
Nicholas Beck, B.A. and Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
During the 2010-2011 school year, male and female collegiate athletes will complete a series of questionnaires designed to measure mental toughness and aspects of psychological well-being. Analyses will be conducted to determine the extent to which mental toughness is related to athletes’ well-being and the direction of those relationships.

Exploring Coaches’ Opinions of Important Sport Psychologist Characteristics.
Investigators:
Harlan Austin, M.A. and Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
During 2010-2011, high school and college coaches will rate how important it would be to them for a sport psychologist to possess a range of different characteristics, such as being knowledge, friendly, confident, to name a few. In surveying coaches, we are interested in learning about what they believe are the most important characteristics for a sport psychologist to possess in terms of being hired and then working effectively with the coaches.

Parents’, Coaches’, and Peers’ Influence on the Motivational Climate for Adolescent Female Athletes
Investigators:
Matt Atkins, B.A., Erica Force, M.Ed., Dustin Johnson, M.S., and Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
In this study, 6-8th grade girls completed a series of questionnaires designed to measure the motivational climate created by parents, coaches, and peers, their own goal orientation, sport competence, self-esteem, enjoyment, and intention to continue participating in sport. Data analyses revealed that parents and peers (as opposed to coaches) are related positively to the girls having a task goal orientation and this goal orientation is related positively to feeling competent in their sport, having greater self-esteem, and enjoying playing their sport. Only sport enjoyment, though, was related to the girls’ intention to continue playing their sport in the future. These findings suggest that parents and peers, in particular, play an important role in creating a positive sport environment and the more fun girls have when participating in their sport, the more likely they are to intend to continuing playing in the future.

A test of an etiological model: The development of disordered eating in division-I university female gymnasts and swimmers/divers
Investigators:
Carly M. Anderson, M.S. & Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
    - Supported by a grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association
The purpose of this study was twofold. First, to determine the prevalence of eating disorders and pathogenic weight control behaviors. Second, to examine the extent to which psychosocial factors influence the development of body image concerns and ultimately disordered eating. Participants were over 400 female collegiate gymnasts and swimmers/divers who were drawn from 26 different universities across the U.S. Findings revealed that the athletes experience more subclinical than clinical eating disorders, though the rates for both were substantially lower than those who were asymptomatic. In addition, the athletes primarily controlled their weight through extra exercise and physical conditioning, as opposed to more pathogenic forms of weight loss (e.g., vomiting). In terms of the factors that influence body image concerns and disordered eating, weight and body pressures experienced in the sport environment played an important role. Athletes who experienced such pressures and who internalized general sociocultural ideals about women’s bodies reported high levels of body dissatisfaction and ultimately higher levels of disordered eating behaviors. Findings and recommendations were summarized and provided to the NCAA and all participating universities. Click here to download the summary of findings.

Physical fitness and its relation to mood, body image self-concept, social pressures and internalization, teasing and weight bias in children.
Investigators:
Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D., Scott Martin, Ph.D., Christy Greenleaf, Ph.D., and Jordan Hamson, Ph.D.
    - Funding Agency: Association for Applied Sport Psychology
Overview: The purpose of this project was to examine the relationship between current levels of physical fitness and a wide-range of psychosocial health factors. During summer 2007, staff from the Center for Sport Psychology conducted fitness testing (using the FITNESSGRAM) with children ages 8-15 who were attending a summer activity program at the Plano Sport Authority in Plano, TX. Fitness testing was done as part of the PSA’s Fit for Fun summer program and provided children and their parents with current measures of aerobic fitness, flexibility, strength, and body composition. Campers ages 11-15 also completed a series of questionnaires designed to measure the psychosocial factors of interest. This study will provide us with data to examine the interaction between children’s levels of involvement in physical activity, nutritional status, and fitness, and how those are related to their self-concept, body image, and current mood state. In addition, we will examine how social pressures and teasing they may have experienced relate to their willingness to be physically active and whether that moderates the potential negative effects on self-concept and body image.