Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Kinesiology and Sport Studies
Leslee A. Fisher
Steven Waller, Rebecca Zakrajsek, Lars Dzikus, Dorian McCoy
Black Feminist Applied Sport Psychology (BFASP) is a culturally inclusive theoretical framework for centering Black women’s experiences in applied sport psychology (Carter et al., 2020; Couch et al., 2022). For the past two decades, (White) Feminist applied sport psychology professionals (FASPPs) described the experiences of Black women as unique but were overlooked in research and participant pools due to the prioritization of White women's and Black male sport experiences. (Carter & Davila, 2017; Carter & Prewitt-White, 2014; Gill, 2020; Hyman et al., 2021). The purpose of this study was to explore the life and work experiences of BASPPs (i.e., faculty, staff, or in private practice). Of particular interest was how Black women have navigated life in the othered and marginal spaces of applied sport psychology. Thus, the specific research question was: What are the experiences of Black women in applied sport psychology research and practice? Grounded in Black Feminist Applied Sport Psychology (BFASP; Carter, 2020; Manu, 2020), Black feminist thought (BFT; Collins, 1990; Crenshaw, 1989), Cultural Sport Psychology (CSP; Schinke et al., 2019), and informed Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) methodology (Hill, 2012), 16 Black female sport psychology professionals were interviewed regarding their experiences in the field of applied sport psychology (M = 10.25 years). A four-member research team plus an external auditor constructed four domains and 39 categories to represent their experience: (a) Blackness- Black Girlhood Family Foundations; (b) Whiteness-Ebony in the Ivory Tower- The Gate(s) and their Keepers; (c) Whiteness- Black Women in the Profession: The Firsts and Only’s; and (d) Black womanhood: Self Stories, Finding the Sistahood, Leaving a Trail. Participants’ accounts revealed a diversity of experiences that varied by class, ethnicity, and athlete identities which determined their interests in sport and education. Also, participants who pursued graduate degrees discussed the lack of representation among classmates and faculty. Participants experienced microaggressions and macro assaults based on racist and sexist tropes (e.g., “angry Black woman”). Finally, participants advised Black women aspiring to a career in sport psychology to connect with other Black women, live their truth, find their people, and there is space reserved for them.
Couch, Sharon R., "“In the Skin I’m in…I Represent a Different Version of What Help Looks Like:” Black Women Sport Psychology Professional’s Experiences in Applied Sport Psychology. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2022.
African American Studies Commons, Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education Commons, Educational Psychology Commons, Health and Physical Education Commons, Mental and Social Health Commons, Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Other Psychiatry and Psychology Commons, Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons, Sports Sciences Commons