Past Sport Psychology Projects and Grants | Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health

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.

Black Male Collegiate Football Players’ Experiences of Racism: A Qualitative Analysis
Researchers: J. Andy Walsh, M.S., M.A., Trent A Petrie, Ph.D., Martinque Jones, Ph.D., Anthony Papathomas, Ph.D., C. Ed Watkins, Ph.D.
African American college athletes historically have endured racism, discrimination, and other racial inequalities (Beamon, 2014; Brooks & Althouse, 2013), particularly at PWIs (Edwards, 2000; Melendez, 2008). These athletes are exploited for their athletic ability and are expected to commit the majority of their time and effort to athletics (Hyatt, 2003), pulling them away from other responsibilities and perpetuating prejudices and racist beliefs across campus (Anglin & Wade, 2007; Beamon, 2014). Critical Race Theory (CRT) provides a framework through which to understand their experiences and empower Black male college athletes (Delgado, 1995). Specifically, the tenets of permanence of racism and storytelling offer insight into the underlying issues perpetuating racism in college sport and the lived experiences of athletes operating within that system. For example, Black student-athletes graduate at far less rates compared to peers (Lapchick, 2011), are more likely than their White counterparts to experience depression and anxiety (AIR, 1989), and are forced to navigate racist remarks and beliefs inside and outside the classroom (Melendez, 2008). Existing literature outlines various avenues through which systems and individuals can better support the needs of these athletes (e.g., diversifying campus leadership, mentorship programs, fostering community engagement; Beamon, 2014; Melendez, 2008, Sadberry & Mobley, 2013). However, research that affords these athletes themselves the opportunity to advocate for what needs to change within college athletics is warranted. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine Black male collegiate football players’ lived experiences of racism, racial inequality, and discrimination within the realm of collegiate sport in general, and their team and athletic department in particular. Semi-structured interviews comprised of open-ended questions will be used to explore how these experiences have impacted the athletes’ psychological well-being and mental health and what coping resources and social support they have used to manage the potentially adverse effects of their experiences.

Athletes’ Perceptions of the Impact of Mental Health on Sport Performance
Researchers: Kelzie E Beebe, Heather Kiefer, Lindsey Slavin, Macey Arnold, & Trent Petrie
The purpose of this research is to explore the beliefs of college student-athletes on how mental health impacts sport performance. Specifically, we will be assessing the percentage of college student-athletes who endorse the belief that mental health impacts athletic performance, and through qualitative analysis, their reasons for why they hold this belief (or do not hold the belief). The results from this study will be a first true attempt to understand how mental health impacts sport performance. The prevalence of mental health concerns among young adults is high and continues to increase (NIMH, 2021; SAMSHA, 2018). Findings suggest that, as a specific subset of young adults, NCAA student-athletes experience these concerns at a similar or greater prevalence than their non-athlete, age-matched peers (Golding et al., 2020; Gouttebarge et al., 2019). However, despite the rising number of college student-athletes who are experiencing mental health concerns, understanding the connection between mental health and sport performance has not been a robust area of study in psychology or sport psychology.

Personality as a Predictor of Draft Selection and Performance in Professional Baseball Players
Researchers: Tess Palmateer, M.Sc., & Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
Sports organizations have put more resources toward identifying athletes in response to the pressures to be successful (Abbott & Collins, 2004), which is justified given the potential financial benefit a team could experience from a successful draft selection (Durand-Bush & Salmela, 2001). Personality has been found to be related to both academic (Poropat, 2009) and job performance (Judge et al., 2013), and thus researchers began exploring its utility in predicting performance within sport. Research has demonstrated that personality factors are associated with sport performance as measured by coach ratings and objective performance outcomes (e.g., Piedmont et al., 1999), as well as factors/behaviours that are understood to be facilitative for performance, such as problem-focused coping and quality of preparation (Kaiseler et al., 2019; Woodman et al., 2010). Given the potential utility of personality assessment, professional sport organizations have integrated it into their pre-draft procedures. However, it remains unclear whether such data, particularly at the factor level, can add value to draft selection process, over and above that of past performances. The purpose of the present study is to explore if the Big-Five personality traits are related to draft order and predictive of athletes’ future performance in professional baseball. Cluster analysis will be used to explore if personality facets cluster in a meaningful way in relation to draft order. Subsequently, multiple regression analysis will be used to explore if personality domains and facets are predictive of performance in the season following the draft, after controlling for performance in the previous season.

Bodies in Motion for Life: A Long-Term Qualitative Evaluation of an ED Prevention Program with Retired Female Athletes
Researchers: Stephanie Barrett, M.S., Trent Petrie, Ph.D., Dana Voelker, Ph.D.
The Bodies in Motion program is a cognitive dissonance and mindfulness-based eating disorder prevention program designed to address the unique needs of female athletes with regard to their body image, and relationships with food and exercise. This 5-session workshop teaches female athletes to become aware of the societal and sport-specific pressures they face about their bodies, and learn skills (i.e., mindfulness, self-compassion) to help challenge these messages and relate to themselves in healthier and more functional ways. The purpose of this study is to conduct a long-term qualitative evaluation of the effectiveness of the program with female athletes who have transitioned to sport retirement. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve female athletes who have completed the program and retired from their collegiate sport careers to explore their current perceptions of their bodies as athletes and as women, as well as their relationships with food and exercise/physical activity. Thematic analysis of the participants' responses is currently underway, and aggregate findings will be published to help extend current literature on body image and sport retirement among female athletes.

College Student Athletes and Psychological Well-being in Retirement
Researchers: Karolina Wartalowicz, M.S., & Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
Retiring from sport can be a challenging and difficult time for college athletes (Smith & Hardin, 2018), and although many former student athletes (SAs) are doing well years after retirement, substantive numbers still struggle with different concerns (i.e. body image, depression, eating; e.g., Papathomas, Petrie, & Plateau, 2018) up to six years after retirement (Wartalowicz & Petrie, 2018). During the transition from competitive sport, athletes may experiences stress and anxiety, lowered levels of self worth, loss of social support, changes in mood, isolation, loneliness, disordered eating and even depression (Lally, 2007; Wylleman et al., 2004). The current study will investigate elite student athletes’ psychological health and well-being in the months immediately following retirement, which has been indicated as a critical time period (Stokowski, Paule-Koba, & Kaunert, 2019). Participants will consist of collegiate retiring athletes who are surveyed across two time points: the end of their competitive seasons (baseline) and three months after collegiate careers have ended (Time 2). Separate hierarchical regression models for each outcome (i.e., depressive symptoms, body satisfaction, and satisfaction with life) will be run to examine the extent to which the significant BALANCE (Lavallee, 1999) items predict their Time 2 scores by controlling for baselines scores of each outcome in the regression analysis. Results can inform the development of pre-retirement programming within athletic departments to target the critical period of time post retirement of (1-3 months).

Disordered Eating in Male Athletes
Researchers: Kaleb Cusack, M.A., & Trent Petrie, PhD.
Petrie and Greenleaf’s sociocultural model proposes that athletes experience unique sport environment pressures regarding weight, body size/shape, eating and appearance that increases their risk of developing disordered eating (DE) attitudes and behaviors. Although research in cross-correlational studies has looked at prevalence of eating disorders (ED) and DE behaviors in different sport types, such pressures are likely to vary by sport depending on its unique environment and performance demands. For instance, female athletes in leanness sports experience more body dissatisfaction and societal appearance pressures compared to those in nonleanness sports. Because these effects have been established primarily with female athletes, we examined ED/DE correlates from Petrie and Greenleaf’s model with 695 collegiate male athletes who represented five sport types (endurance, ball game, power, technical, weight-dependent) based on a well-established categorization system. Through a series of one-way MANCOVAs (BMI serving as the covariate), we found that sport types were significantly different from each other on all ED/DE correlates except for negative affect. Follow-up analysis revealed that power, endurance, and weight-dependent athletes showed the greatest number of significantly different group centroids, demonstrating distinct profiles among the sport types in their experiences of the ED/DE correlates.

Pre-Retirement Planning in Collegiate Athletics
Researchers: Heather Kiefer, Trent A. Petrie, & Ray Walls
The purpose of this research is to see how athletic departments across all three NCAA divisions (DI, DII, DIII) prepare their athletes for retirement from sport. Specifically, we are seeking to understand if athletic departments have preretirement programs available for athletes. If athletic departments do have preretirement planning programs, we are seeking to understand the topics that are covered in their programming. If athletic departments do not have preretirement planning programs, we are seeking to understand if they have resources available on campus (i.e., outside of the athletic department) to help prepare their student-athletes for graduation and retirement from sport. Participants were athletic department administrators, and they completed a survey that assessed for current preretirement planning practices and available campus resources for student-athletes who are transitioning out of sport. I used frequencies, t-tests, and chi-square analyses to assess trends across divisional levels (DI vs. DII/DIII). Analyses show that significantly more DI than DII/DDIII institutions have preretirement planning programs. Additionally, there is no significant difference between the topics that are covered across divisional level. The degree to which participants agreed that athletic departments have an ethical/moral responsibility and their perception of who is in charge of planning to prepare athletes varied significantly across divisional level.

Mental Health Prevalence Among Collegiate Athletes
Researchers: Megan Drew, Heather Kiefer, Macey Arnold, & Carmyn Hayes
The prevalence of mental health (MH) concerns among athletes has ranged from 19% for alcohol misuse to 34% for anxiety/depression (Gouttebarge et al., 2019). Like with nonathletes (Wang et. al., 2020), athletes’ MH concerns may have been exacerbated during COVID-19. Thus, we explored the prevalence of college student-athletes’ depression, anxiety, and body image during Fall 2020. Our results suggest that student-athletes experience relatively high levels of subclinical/clinical MH concerns, and that prevalence of these concerns does differ across gender and race.

The Frequency of Weigh-ins, Weight Intentionality and Management, and Eating among Male Collegiate Athletes
Researchers: J. Andy Walsh, M.S., M.A., Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D., & Justine Chatterton, Ph.D.
Sociocultural pressures in male athletics emphasize masculinity in the form of muscularity, leanness, and physical strength. Although research has examined extensively weight, weighing, and weight pressures among female athletes, these issues have been minimally considered with male athletes. Thus, our purpose was to examine the weight environment and practices of NCAA collegiate male athletes. Specifically, we surveyed 698 male athletes regarding frequency and circumstances of team weigh-ins, weight management behaviors, weight intentions, caloric intake, and guidance received for healthfully managing weight and eating. Although relatively few male athletes underwent mandatory team weigh-ins (21.8%), most weigh-ins occurred once per week or more (59.2%), and most athletes’ weights were made public (75.7%). Just over 30% of the weighed athletes used at least one strategy to prepare for weigh-ins, primarily relying on exercise or caloric restriction. The majority (85.2%) wanted to change their weight, primarily by gaining muscle mass. Most athletes received guidance from qualified sources (e.g., athletic trainer) regarding healthy weight management (63.5%) and nutrition (70.2%). Overall, few male athletes are subjected to mandatory weigh-ins, and such participation is not related to pathological weight control behaviors. Further, male athletes appear to have access to qualified sources for information on healthful management of weight and eating, which may help them as they pursue their goals of increased muscularity and strength.
Walsh, J. A., Petrie, T. A., & Chatterton, J. (2020). The frequency of weigh-ins, weight intentionality and management, and eating among male collegiate athletes. Eating Behaviors, 39, 1-4.

Mental Health Screening
Researchers: Megan Drew, Trent A. Petrie, PhD, & Tess M. Palmateer, M.Sc.
The purpose of this study is to better understand how NCAA institutions are implementing mental health (MH) 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 MH screening? Participants (N = 264) were personnel across DI, DII, and DIII athletic departments. Compared to DII/III (n = 72; 52.9%), DI (n = 81; 89.0%) institutions were significantly more likely have a formal MH screening program. The five most frequently assessed MH topics were: depression (98.9%), anxiety (95.2%), suicidal ideation/self-harm (85.6%), sleep concerns (76.5%), and disordered eating (73.3%). Athletic trainers were significantly more likely to both administer - DI: 37 (45.7%) vs. DII/DIII: 58 (80.6%) – and review screeners - DI: 21 (27.3%) vs. DII/DIII: 45 (65.2%) – at DII/III institutions. At DI institutions, 74.1% of reviews were done by other personnel, such as sport psychologists (23.4%) and other mental health professionals (22.1%). Compared to DII/DIII schools, DI institutions were significantly more likely to have had a student athlete attempt suicide – DI: 56 (62.2%) vs. DII/DIII: 55 (40.4%) – and participate in inpatient treatment – DI: 62 (68.9%) vs. DII/DIII: 59 (43.4%). The NCAA, along with its member institutions, need to continue to develop policies that promote and support MH screening within all athletic departments.

Sexual Attraction and Boundary Crossing between Sport Psychology Consultants and Athlete Clients
Researchers: Tess M. Palmateer, M.Sc., & Trent A. Petrie, PhD.
Past research has demonstrated that sexual and non-sexual boundary crossing occurs in sport psychology (Moles et al., 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)? Participants were 181 SPPs; 92 (50.8%) reported being sexually attracted to one or more of their ACs. In regards to specific behaviors, approximately half (49.4%) reported discussing personal matters unrelated to their (n = 87), whereas far fewer had engaged in sexual behaviors with their ACs, such as discussing sexual matters unrelated to their work (n = 4), and caressing or intimately touching an AC (n = 1). No SPP reported kissing, dating, having sexual intercourse, or engaging in other sexual activities with their ACs. The three most common nonsexual boundary crossings were (a) consulting with an AC in public places (e.g., hotel lobby or practice field; 87.8%), (b) working with an AC at practice (86.2%), (c) working with an AC at a competition (75.0%). Interestingly, few SPPs sought supervision/consultation regarding the attraction, though 83.7% said they would do so if they were attracted in the future. I also examined differences across gender, mental health licensure, and years since graduation in relation to the outcome. Sexual attractions appear to exist between SPPs and their AC and should be discussed during training to normalize the experience and increase the likelihood of them discussing such attractions when they occur. Further, self-reflection and supervision are recommended approaches to managing such feelings and to minimize the chances of harming ACs.
Palmateer, T. M., & Petrie, T. A. (2020). Sexual attractions, behaviors, and boundary crossings between sport psychology professionals and their athlete-clients: Prevalence, attitudes, and supervision. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.

Exploring Psychosocial Correlates of Disordered Eating Among Male Collegiate Athletes
Researchers: Dalton Mack, M.S. & Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D.
Petrie, Greenleaf, Reel and Carter (2009) examined psychosocial correlates among female collegiate athletes that serve to predict disordered eating patterns, finding that high scores on scales measuring body image concerns, weight pressures, sociocultural internalization, and mood state were found significantly more commonly in either the eating disorder or symptomatic group as opposed to the asymptomatic group. Unique or nuanced pressures exist for male athletes as well, specifically a different ideal for body image, often described by a drive for muscularity (Cafri et al., 2005). I examined these effects in a sample of 698 male collegiate athletes. All participants completed questionnaires, which provided measures of drive for muscularity, social desirability, body satisfaction, negative affect, sociocultural pressures, sport weight pressures, and internalization and social comparison among other factors not pertinent for this analysis as part of a larger study. Exploratory factor analysis confirmed the existence of five factors (general and sport pressures, internalization, body dissatisfaction, negative affect and drive for muscularity) to which a sixth was added to reflect dietary intent, all of which are explained in the Petrie and Greenleaf (2012) sociocultural model. A logistic regression showed that dietary intent and drive for muscularity differentiated significantly between the symptomatic/eating disordered athletes and those who were asymptomatic.

Survey of Psychology Professionals on their Involvement in Sport and Performance Psychology
Researchers: Randi Jackson, M.S. & Trent A. Petrie
During the 2018-2019 academic year, professional psychologists were drawn from APA Division 47 (Society for Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology) and Division 17 (Society for Counseling Psychology). Each professional psychologist completed a questionnaire inquiring about their involvement in sport psychology training (coursework, practica, supervision), research, and service provision (mental health and/or performance enhancement). Participants were also asked to indicate their attitudes toward sport psychology as a subfield of psychology.Regarding services provided, the psychologists reported working with athletes and sport teams on both sport/performance and mental health issues/topics. Consistent with their training in counseling and clinical psychology, it is not surprising that a larger percentage of the psychologists provided mental health, as opposed to sport performance, services. This finding may comment on the greater availability of generalist training (i.e., counseling psychology, clinical psychology). Even so, it makes an argument for a foundational training in psychology serving an important purpose in working with athletes. The psychologists worked most frequently with athletes on issues related to their mental health and, although athletes sought such assistance for a wide range of issues, certain ones were more prominent than others. Specifically, the psychologists in our sample were most likely to work with athletes on issues such as: anxiety/stress, depression/sadness, interpersonal issues, mood disorders, relationship issues, self-esteem, academic/career concerns, body image concerns, and substance use. As this research offers a glimpse into the field, it highlights implications for the continued progress of the sport psychology field. It appears the field has room to grow in terms of training. Seeing that many psychologists view sport psychology as a subdiscipline of psychology or as an interdisciplinary field, doctoral level programs may address training needs for graduate students interested in becoming ethical and efficient sport psychologists. Future research may also explore what peer supervision and professional consultation between licensed psychologists may look like in the provision of psychological services to athletes.

Transitioning from Sport: Retirement and Former Female Collegiate Athletes’ Satisfaction with Life, Depressive Symptomatology, and Body Satisfaction​
Researchers: Karolina Wartalowicz, MS., Trent Petrie, PhD.
During the 2008-2009 year, female swimmers and gymnasts were surveyed in NCAA Division 1 departments. Each athlete completed a series of questionnaires designed to assess psychosocial factors related to depression, eating disorder symptomatology and body satisfaction. Athletes completed the same survey two to six years post retirement to assess retirement adjustment. Utilizing the BALANCE scale (Lavallee & Wylleman, 1999), data was analyzed to determine what factors within the scale appear to be important in determining a higher level of adjustment in retirement. Thus, we examined how such factors related to former female collegiate athletes satisfaction with life, depression, and body satisfaction. Through regression analyses, we examined the extent to which each of the 12 retirement factors is related to life satisfaction, depression, and body satisfaction; time since retirement was unrelated to these outcomes. Across the three outcomes, having a new focus after retirement and perceived achievement of goals in sport were most important across outcomes.

The Relationship Between Psychosocial Correlates and Bulimic Symptomatology in Retired Female Athletes​
Researchers: Stephanie Barrett, M.S., Trent A. Petrie, PhD
-Supported by a Grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association
During the 2015-2016 school year, retired female collegiate athletes were drawn from 26 Division I level university/collegiate athletic departments. Each former athlete completed a series of questionnaires designed to assess various aspects of their current psychosocial functioning, specifically sociocultural pressures regarding body image, internalization of messages related to body image, personal body satisfaction, perceptions of dietary restraint and mood state, and experiences of bulimic symptomatology. Data were analyzed to retest a previously supported model (see Anderson, Petrie, & Neumann, 2011) of psychosocial correlates and bulimic symptomatology in actively competitive athletes. Structural equation modeling revealed excellent model fit to the data and significant pathways between all latent variables with one exception: unlike the model supported by Anderson and colleagues (2011), the relationship between negative affect and bulimic symptomatology was not significant. These findings suggest a unique impact of the sport retirement process on the relationships between former collegiate athletes and their body image and eating disorder symptoms, which warrants further exploration.
Barrett, S. L. & Petrie, T. A. (2020). Female athletes in retirement: A test of a psychosocial model of bulimic symptomatology. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, (Ahead of Print).

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.

Body Satisfaction in Early Adolescent Female Athletes: Biopsychosocial and Physical Correlates​
Researchers: Jenna Tomalski, M.S., Trent Petrie, Ph.D., Scott Martin, Ph.D., and Christy Greenleaf, Ph.D.
-Supported by a grant from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education
-Data for this project were obtained from the 2008-2013 FITNESSGRAM study
During the 2011-2012 academic year, 6th to 8th grade females who participated in athletics at their schools participated in this study. Each athlete completed self-report questionnaires to assess their body satisfaction, as well as sociocultural and psychological factors. Physical factors (i.e., cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), muscular strength and flexibility, and body composition) were collected objectively through the FITNESSGRAM testing. Data were analyzed to determine how the biopsychosocial factors influenced athletes' body satisfaction. We found that the psychological, sociocultural and physical predictors significantly accounted for athletes’ body satisfaction. Specifically, these findings suggest that early adolescent female athletes who had a lower BMI, made fewer appearance comparisons, were teased less often, had higher self-esteem, had stronger self-concepts regarding endurance, and more support from friends reported more satisfaction with their bodies.

The Relationship of Sport Involvement and Gender to Physical Fitness, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Concept in Middle School Students
Researchers: Kristina Clevinger, M.S., Trent Petrie, Ph.D., Scott Martin, Ph.D., and Christy Greenleaf, Ph.D.
-Supported by a grant from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education
-Data for this project were obtained from the 2008-2013 FITNESSGRAM study
During the 2011-2012 academic year, 6th grade students enrolled in physical education at their schools participated in this study. Each student completed questionnaires to assess their level of sport involvement, physical activity self-efficacy, and physical self-concept. During PE, students completed FITNESSGRAM testing which provided measurements of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), muscular strength and flexibility, and body composition. Data was analyzed to examine the interaction between sport involvement and gender in relation to the psychological and physical outcomes. Analyses demonstrated no sport by gender interactions for any outcome; sport involvement, however, was related significantly to improvements in CRF, muscular strength, physical activity self-efficacy, and physical self-concept. Our findings suggest that sport involvement, above what may be attained through standardized, school-based, PE experiences, does uniquely provide physical and psychological benefits for early adolescents.

The Relation of Perceived Motivational Climate, Mindset, and Achievement Goal Orientation to Grit in Male High School Soccer Players
Researchers: Erin Albert, M.S. Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D., Troy Moles, Ph.D., and Alex Auerbach, Ph.D.
During the 2015-2016 academic year, male soccer players were drawn from high school teams and soccer clubs. 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 was analyzed to examine the extent to which achievement motivation constructs related to grit. As hypothesized, athletes who believed that ability was malleable and thought success was defined by personal growth achieved through hard work and effort reported higher levels of grit.

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 were drawn from Division I, II, and III level university/college athletic departments. Each athlete completed a series of questionnaires designed to assess important aspects of their current physical and psychological functioning, particularly as it related to body image, eating behaviors, and pressures within their sport training environments. Data was 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 were made to the NCAA.

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.