Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Candice Hargons


The purpose of this study was to explore women’s professional career experiences in sport psychology. Using qualitative methodology, seventeen female sport psychology practitioners participated in intensive semi-structured interviews from May 2021 to July 2021. This study resulted in two distinct manuscripts. First, guided by constructivist grounded theory methodology, embedded in a feminist standpoint framework, this study developed a grounded theory to help explain what sources attract and retain women in sport psychology. The developed theory includes the following main categories: sources of career attraction, training and professional development, and sources of career retention, and ten subcategories. This theory contributes to a scant body of literature addressing women’s professional experiences in sport psychology and provides professional implications to help the field of sport psychology better understand women’s career trajectories and how to better support them within the profession. Finally, this study introduces a positive discourse surrounding women’s career experiences in sport psychology by highlighting their resilience and professional experiences.

Second, guided by a feminist standpoint and intersectional framework, this study explored intersecting identities and career experiences of (N=17) female sport psychology practitioners. Applying thematic analysis, the following five themes emerged: (1) perceived lack of credibility, (2) compensation disparities, (3) sexist attitudes, (4) pregnancy and parenthood, and (5) advocating for self and others. The results of this study document the continued career obstacles experienced by women in the profession by highlighting the intersections of gender, age, pregnancy, and parenthood. Furthermore, this study documented female sport psychology practitioners’ resistance and deliberate efforts to promote inclusivity and equity within the field of sport psychology. Both manuscripts document the lived experiences of female sport psychology practitioners and provide professional implications to better support women within the profession.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by the University of Kentucky’s Arvle and Ellen Turner Thacker Endowment Fund (awarded 2021). The funding agency had no role in study design, data collection or analysis, or preparation of this dissertation. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors.