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date: 22 October 2017

Psychosocial Measurement Issues in Sport and Exercise Settings

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Please check back later for the full article.

Trustworthy measurement is essential to making inferences about people and events, as well as to making scientific inquiries and comprehending human behaviors. Measurement is used for validating and building theories, substantiating research endeavors, contributing to science, and supporting a variety of applications. Sport and exercise psychology is a theoretical and practical domain derived from two disciplines: psychology and kinesiology (the science of movement and exercise). As such, the measurement methods used by both scientists and practitioners relate to the acquisition of motor skills (i.e., genetics and environment-deliberate practice), physiological measures (e.g., heart rate pulse, heart rate variability, breathing amplitude and frequency, GSR, and EEG), and psychological measures including introspective instruments in the form of questionnaires, interviews, and observations.

Sport psychology entails the measurement of motor performance, cognitive development (e.g., knowledge base and structure, deliberate practice, perception-cognition, attention, memory), social aspects (e.g., team dynamics, cohesion, leadership, shared mental models, coach-performer interaction), the self (e.g., self-esteem, self-concept, physical self), affective and emotional states (e.g., mood, burnout), and psychological skills (e.g. imagery, goal-setting, relaxation, emotion regulation, stress management, self-talk, relaxation, and pre-performance routine). The measures in exercise psychology pertain to the affective domain (e.g., quality of life, affect/emotions, perceived effort), psychopathological states (e.g., anxiety, depression), cognitive domain (e.g., executive functioning, information processing, decision-making, attention, academic achievements, cognition and aging, social-cognitive domain (e.g., self-efficacy, self-control, motivation), and brain plasticity and human functioning (e.g., genetic factors, changes in brain structure/regeneration, neurological and chemical measures). The measures in the sport and exercise domain are used to establish linkages among the emotional, cognitive, and motor systems. The measures of neural activity, through the emergence of neuroscientific technologies, are linked to measures of overt behaviors to better account for human function, performance, and health.