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Practitioners’ perceptions of sport and exercise psychology in South Africa and the United Kingdom

DJ Edwards
JB Barker


With the rationale to promote the national and international discipline, praxis and value of Sport and Exercise Psychology (S&EP) as well as make a contribution to the limited amount of comparison research, this study focused on comparative perceptions of relevant, knowledgeable S&EP stakeholders in South Africa (SA) and the United Kingdom (UK), to the extent to which they represent the discipline in economically developed and developing contexts respectively. It was considered that comparative research on these two countries would be instructive. A purposive sample of 12 practitioners (six SA and six UK) completed an online survey with participants from this sample further purposely selected for focus groups and individual interviews. Data was analysed using thematic content analysis. Three main findings emerged. First, although SA has no formalised professional training and registration, the discipline and praxis is advancing with much potential for further structural development and contribution. Second, in comparison, UK professional training and regulatory council registration, has evolved and diversified the field. Third, with their relative similarities and differences, SA and UK can learn much from one another, in terms of the contribution which S&EP can make. Further relevant international academic and professional collaboration should considerably advance the contributions of S&EP at local, national and international level.

Keywords: Evaluation, practitioners’ perceptions, sport and exercise psychology, South
Africa, United Kingdom.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939