A systematic review of professional identity in sport psychology

Alessandro Quartiroli, Christopher R. D. Wagstaff, Daniel R. F. Martin, David Tod

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The establishment of a strong professional identity (PI) among sport psychology practitioners (SPPs) has the potential to increase the likelihood of individual ethical working, awareness of professional roles, and ultimately, support of a more effective and lasting career. Nevertheless, there is currently no global consensus regarding a definition of sport psychology professional identity, which is imperative for ongoing advances in professional formation, training and practice. In this study, we conducted a systematic review of the literature with the aim of developing an understanding of existing sport psychology professional identity knowledge. Following the PRISMA guidelines, we initially identified 4,393 research records, which we screened and assessed for eligibility reducing the sample of articles fitting our inclusion criteria to 25 manuscripts. We analyzed these articles by engaging in an inductive thematic analysis aimed at identifying patterns within the data and forming an organized, rich, and detailed description of the data. This analysis led to the development of four main themes: Formation of Professional Identity; Embodying Professional Identity; Influences on Professional Identity, and Challenges to Professional Identity. These data are discussed in terms of their implications for professional bodies and educational programs and their contribution to potential future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Publication statusEarly online - 11 Nov 2021


  • effective practice
  • professional training
  • professional development
  • professional formation
  • sport psychology practitioner


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