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intervention;knowledge translation;learning modules;mental skills;para sport;sport psychology


Krista Munroe-Chandler



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Psychological skills training (PST) is the deliberate and systematic practice of psychological skills (e.g., goal setting, imagery). Athletes’ use of psychological skills can lead to increased sport performance, enhanced enjoyment, and elevated satisfaction in sport (e.g., Barker et al., 2020; Munroe-Chandler & Hall, 2021). There is growing interest in delivering PST programs through online modalities (Price et al., 2022), such as learning modules that are asynchronous, interactive, and self-paced (e.g., Barak & Grohol, 2011). In fact, para-athletes may find a module-based program especially useful given its potential to overcome traditional barriers to PST (e.g., cost, geographic location; Bastos et al., 2020; Martin, 2018). Given that PST interventions with para-athletes are limited (Martin, 2019), a module-based PST program could advance empirical knowledge and in turn address a practical need of para-athletes (Christina, 1989; Graham et al., 2006). Therefore, the overall aim of this dissertation was to describe module-based PST programs available online and implement and evaluate an online PST program for para-athletes. These aims were accomplished through three research studies (i.e., Chapters 2-4). In Chapter 2, a systematic review methodology for conducting an internet search (Rew et al., 2018) was employed to identify how many PST programs were available online and describe the characteristics of these programs. Across the 18 module-based PST programs that were identified, it seemed these programs were generally framed for athletes of all competitive levels, varied considerably in how they were delivered, and offered content on a variety of psychological skills. Moreover, Chapter 3 involved the implementation of an online PST program designed for para-athletes (Ely et al., 2023a). The aim of this study was to examine if para-athletes’ use of psychological skills increased following their involvement in the eight-month intervention. This intervention featured eight online learning modules, each on a different psychological skill: (1) goal setting, (2) imagery, (3) self-talk, (4) routines, (5) concentration (i.e., attentional control), (6) managing emotions (i.e., emotional control), (7) psyching up (i.e., activation), and (8) relaxation. While 36 para-athletes enrolled in the program, only seven participants completed the full program, while 14 completed the first four modules. It was found that participants’ use of many psychological skills increased over the course of the intervention. The aim of Chapter 4 was to interview para-athletes who had participated in the online PST program. Specifically, nine para-athletes were interviewed to explore their perceptions of, and experiences with, the online PST program. Participants reported having positive experiences with the program and that it facilitated their use of psychological skills. However, participants also highlighted areas where the program could be improved. This dissertation offers a glimpse into the potential of online PST for (para-)athletes, while advancing future directions for both research and practice.

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