CODE of ETHICS - Publications
Ethical principles of the International Society of Sport Psychology
"Sport Psychology" is a term used to refer to the psychological aspects of sport, physical
recreation, physical education, exercise, health, and related physical activities. The International
Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) is dedicated to the development and professionalisation of
the field of sport psychology from a global perspective. The following ethical principles are
guidelines that regulate ISSP professionals in sport psychology to act responsibly and ethically in
the provision of services to insure the dignity and welfare of individuals, athletes, professionals,
volunteers, administrators, teams, and the general public. These ethical standards are expressed
in general terms in order that they can be applied to sport psychologists engaged in varied roles.
The application of the ethical standards may vary depending upon the context (i.e., country and
organization). The ethical standards outlined in this statement are not exhaustive, and the fact
that a conduct is not addressed by these principles does not indicate that ISSP endorses it as
either ethical or unethical.
It is the individual responsibility of each sport psychologist to aspire to the highest possible
standards of conduct. It is expected that each sport psychologist will act in accordance, and not
violate, the values and rules described in the ethical principles, as well as the values and norms
of one's culture.
Material in this ethics statement is based in large parts on previously developed guidelines by:
The American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of
Conduct, the British Association of Sports Sciences - Sports Psychology Section Code of
Conduct, and the Ethical Principles of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport
Psychology. Over 200 organisational ethics codes were examined and were influential in the
preparation of this document.
Principle A: Competence
ISSP members strive to maintain the highest standards of competence in their work. They
recognize the boundaries of their particular techniques and methods and the limitations of their
expertise. They must not misrepresent their qualifications or expertise in any way. Members
must provide only those services and use only those techniques for which they are qualified by
education, training, or experience. They must maintain knowledge related to the services
rendered, and recognize the need for ongoing education. ISSP members should be aware of the
role and function of psychological testing, and should use only those tests for which they have
received appropriate training. Claims for the effectiveness of sport psychological interventions
and other practices must not be exaggerated or misleading. ISSP members are cognizant of the
fact that the competencies required in servicing, teaching, and/or studying individuals or groups
of people vary with the distinctive characteristics of those individuals or groups. In the event of
being requested to work in any way beyond their training, ISSP members should refer the
request to a suitable colleague. In those areas in which recognised professionals standards do
not exist, ISSP members should exercise careful judgment and take appropriate precautions to
protect the welfare of those with whom they work.
Principle B: Consent and Confidentiality
ISSP members should obtain informed consent of participants in research and professional
practice. Potential subjects or clients should normally be informed of intended aims and
procedures. When children are involved, informed consent should normally be provided by the
parent or guardian. All consenting parties must be informed that participation can be terminated
by them at any time and that they are free to withhold any information they wish, ISSP members
must endeavour to preserve the confidentiality of information they acquire. Information should
not be divulged without the prior consent of the individuals concerned. If an individual�s data are
being published in any way, anonymity must be preserved unless consent is given for disclosure.
Principle C: Integrity
ISSP members seek to promote integrity in the research, teaching, and practice of sport
psychology. In these activities sport psychologists are honest, fair, and respectful of others. In
describing or reporting their qualifications, services, products, fees, research, or teaching, they
do not consciously make statements that are fake, misleading, or deceptive, To the extent that it
is feasible, they should attempt to clarify the roles that they can assume as well as the obligations
they accept. Sport psychologists avoid improper and potentially harmful dual relationships and
conflicts of interest.
Principle D: Personal Conduct
ISSP members shall conduct themselves in a manner beneficial to the well-being of their clients
and in a way that brings credit to the field of sport psychology. Sport psychologists should not:
Exploit relationships with clients for personal gain through the media or publicity;
Exploit relationships with clients for personal gratification;
Jeopardize the safety and well-being of clients;
Practice or work when they are unfit to operate effectively;
Allow their practices or judgments to be influenced by considerations of religion, sex,
race, age, nationality, polities, social standing, class, or other extraneous factors.
Principle E: Professional and Scientific Responsibility
ISSP members are responsible for safeguarding the public and the ISSP from members who are
deficient in ethical conduct. They must uphold professional standards of conduct and accept
appropriate responsibility for their behaviour. ISSP members should consult with, refer to, and
cooperate with other professionals and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best
interests of the recipients of their services. The moral conduct and standards of the ISSP
members are personal matters to the same degree as is true for any other person, except as
their conduct may compromise their professional responsibilities or reduce the public's trust in
the profession or the organisation. ISSP members are concerned about the ethical compliance
of their colleagues' scientific and professional conduct.
Principle F: Research Ethics
Sport psychology researchers should uphold the highest standards of inquiry when conducting
research. Investigators should declare their names, status and affiliation to all subjects.
Reasonable care should be taken, seeking expert advice as necessary when investigations
require deception, stress, or invasion of privacy. In sport psychological research, the welfare of
the subject must be paramount at all times. In the interest of the advancement of knowledge in
sport, investigators should not seek to restrict the dissemination of research findings. Also, they
should avoid drawing unjustified conclusions.
Principle G: Social Responsibility
ISSP members should be aware of their professional and scientific responsibilities to the
community and the society in which they work and live. They should apply and make public
their knowledge in sport psychology in order to contribute to human welfare. ISSP members
are sensitive to real and ascribed differences in power between themselves and others, and they
do not exploit or mislead other people during or after professional relationships. They comply
with the law and encourage the development of social policy that serves the interests of the