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.

Mental Health Screening
Tess M. Palmateer, M.Sc., Trent A. Petrie, PhD.
The purpose of this study is to better understand how NCAA institutions are implementing mental health screening and how they are conducting follow-ups with athletes who are identified as “at-risk. More specifically, the present study seeks to understand: a) what is the process of identifying student athletes as “at-risk”? b) How are at-risk student-athletes followed-up with after being identified? c) What are some of the barriers NCAA institutions face specific to being able to conduct mental health screening? Athletic department administrators and/or sports medicine professionals who oversee mental health of student athletes will be solicited to participate in the study via email. The results from this study will help to better understand the strengths and growth areas of current mental health screening. Further, this study will be valuable for recognizing an ideal set of procedures for identifying and following up with at risk athletes and following up with. This information could be used to inform future guidelines regarding mental health screening.

Sexual Attraction and Boundary Crossing between Sport Psychology Consultants and Athlete Clients
Tess M. Palmateer, M.Sc., Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Ph.D., Stephanie Barrett, M.S., & Trent A. Petrie, PhD.
Past research has demonstrated that sexual and non-sexual boundary crossing occurs in sport psychology (Moles, Petrie, Watkins, 2016), though the data from this study were collected over 15 years ago. Because the field has grown tremendously since that time in terms of the number of practitioners working with athletes and sport teams, an update as to current the current behaviours of SPCs is needed. Thus, the specific research questions to be addressed are: (a) What is the prevalence of SPCs’ sexual attraction to their athlete clients and to what extent do such attractions manifest in certain behaviours (e.g., kissing a client)? (b) To what extent do “nonsexual boundary crossings” occur? (c) What are SPCs’ beliefs and emotions regarding boundary crossing and sexual attraction with clients? (d) How willing are SPCs to seek supervision regarding their attraction to clients? (e) Are there any differences in boundary crossing related to training (e.g., psychology vs. sport science)? Individuals working professionally with athletes, coaches, sport teams, and/or sport organizations will be invited to complete the modified from the Survey of Applied Sport Psychologists (SASP; Moles et al., 2006). The data from this study will be used to submit posters at professional conferences and subsequently, the data will be used to write a manuscript to be submitted to an academic journal (e.g., Journal of Applied Sport Psychology) for publication. The results from this study will ideally help to understand boundaries and professional relationships and how to effectively manage sexual attraction to athlete-clients.

Survey of Psychology Professionals on their Involvment in Sport and Performance Psychology
Researchers: Randi Jackson, M.S., Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D., Carlie McGregor, M.S., Karolina Wartalowicz, M.S., Erin Albert, M.S.
During the 2018-2019 academic year, professional psychologists will be drawn from APA Division 47 (Society for Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology) and Division 17 (Society for Counseling Psychology). Each professional psychologist will complete a questionnaire inquiring about their involvement in sport psychology training (coursework, practica), research, and service provision (mental health and/or performance enhancement). Participants will also be asked to indicate their attitudes toward sport psychology as a subfield of psychology. Data will be analyzed to explore the frequency of different facets of sport psychology (i.e. training, research, service). Furthermore, data will also be examined to better understand what types of services are being provided within sport psychology and by whom. Upon collection of data, recommendations for sport psychology training, practice, and research will be discussed.

Return to Sport: Improving Athletes' Confidence and Mindset Post-ACL Reconstructive Surgery
Researchers: Shelly Sheinbein, Ph.D., Kristina Clevinger, M.S., Jenna Tomalski, M.S., and Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
From Fall 2015 through Fall 2018, adolescent and young adult athletes' who experienced an ACL tear that required surgery participated in this intervention study. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of three psychological interventions (goal setting, imagery, and mindful self-compassion) to improve athletes' physical rehabilitation, psychological response to sport injury, overall psychological well-being, and confidence in returning to sport. The psychological interventions were provided over the course of four months following the athletes’ surgeries. Data will be analyzed to compare the interventions on a range of outcomes. By examining these psychological interventions, we hope to provide sports medicine personnel and sport psychology consultants with valuable information to more effectively support athletes through their rehabilitation and return to sport after injury.

Achievement Motivation Theory as a Model for Explaining College Athletes’ Grit
Researchers: Erin Albert, M.S. and Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D.
From Spring 2018 through Fall 2018, male and female student-athletes were drawn from Division I and II level college athletic departments. Each athlete completed a questionnaire designed to assess their beliefs about ability and effort in sport, including perceptions of coach-created motivational climates, implicit theories of ability, achievement goal orientations, and grit. Data will be analyzed to determine if previous models of achievement motivation can be adapted to account for and predict athletes' grit. Upon completion, aggregate findings and recommendations will be made to participating university athletic departments.