Code of Ethics

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.

General Principles
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. 


About ISSP

The International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) is an organization devoted to promoting research, practice, and development in the discipline of sport psychology throughout the world. The ISSP is a multidisciplinary association of scholars whose research interests focus on some aspects of sport psychology.

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