Psychology and psychologists in search of an identity: what and who are we, and why does it matter?

Christopher R. D. Wagstaff, Alessandro Quartiroli

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The field of sport psychology has faced a challenge in its professional formation, to the extent that some scholars have argued that its status as a healthy, sustainable, or viable profession is an illusion. Within the discipline, there continues to be a range of professional qualifications, educational and training pathways, and labels used to define the study and application of sport psychology. This diversity is a by-product of complex legal, social, political, cultural, and contextual issues characterizing the world of sport psychology. We argue that there exist multiple – or perhaps fragmented – professional identities within sport psychology and that this has led to confusion and a lack of regulation across the field as a whole, and may contribute to unethical, ineffective, and unclear service delivery and pose challenge for the development of personal practitioner identity. Considering these observations, we call on scholars to study professional identity within sport psychology and how it is conceptualized, experienced, and implemented by professionals in practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sport Psychology in Action
Early online date14 Oct 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 14 Oct 2020


  • Performance psychology
  • practice
  • professional formation
  • professional training and developmentprofession


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