Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Brandonn Harris

Committee Member 1

Jody Landgon

Committee Member 2

Daniel Czech


The opportunity for athletes with an intellectual disability (ID) to participate in sport is limited due to physical, social, and psychological barriers (Shields, Synnot, & Barr, 2012). Sport psychology interventions may have the capacity to address these barriers, namely the lack of sport competence that athletes with an ID tend to experience (Vealey, Hayashi, Garner-Holman, & Giacobbi, 1998). Therefore, this single subject A-B-A design sought to enhance sport competence among athletes with an ID using personalized motivational general-mastery (MG-M) imagery scripts. The study spanned six weeks and was implemented with five Special Olympics athletes (Mage = 11.40) who had ID’s including autism, mild intellectual disability, and moderate intellectual disability. The Sport Imagery Questionnaire for Children (SIQ-C), the Movement Imagery Questionnaire-Revised (MIQ-R), and the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children assessed athletes’ imagery use, imagery ability, and sport competence level, respectively. Results demonstrated improvements in sport competence from baseline through intervention for three out of five participants, and these changes were maintained in the return to baseline phase for two of those three participants. Changes in mean and variability were also evaluated using effect sizes, and suggested that scores became more stable during the intervention phase for three out of five participants. Implications of the current study include emphasizing the importance and feasibility of conducting research with this special population of athletes. Additionally, this study identifies the relevant modifications for mental skills training with individuals who have an ID. In particular, results suggest that imagery use and ability, as well as sport competence, can be improved with individualized training among athletes with an ID.