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Pensamiento Psicológico

Print version ISSN 1657-8961

Pensam. psicol. vol.18 no.2 Cali Jul./Dec. 2020  Epub Dec 30, 2020 


Current Issues and Challenges in the Psychology of Physical Activity and Sport in Ibero-America

1Universidad Católica de Pereira

2Universitat de les Illes Balears

3Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


Psychology applied to Physical Activity and Sport (PAFD) has had an astounding and creative growth worldwide, clearly having come of age among the other specializations of Psychology. Since the second half of the last century, its impact on politics, academics and research, and therefore, its scientific production has increased with promising contributions both in basic science and in knowledge applicable to sports performance, the well-being of athletes, and the relevance of physical activity for the generation and maintenance of healthy life habits.

Parallel to this growth, a paradigm has been created around it with the emergence and consolidation of associations, federations, trade organizations and collegiate bodies. An example of this in the American continent is the Field of Psychology of Physical Exercise and Sport of the Colombian College of Psychologists, the recently created Node of Psychology of Physical Activity and Sport in ASCOFAPSI-Colombia, and on a more general South American level, the Psisur Network.

This growth is associated with synergistic initiatives. Such is the case of scientific journals that seek to have an increasing presence in this field through the publication of quality articles and by increasing their qualitative indexes and, as far as possible, their impact indexes.

As a result of these synergies, this special issue of Psychology of Physical Activity and Sport from the Revista de Pensamiento Psicológico (Journal of Psychological Thought) is published, which is the first issue of this field published in Colombia. This is in line with the gradual advance of research processes in Ibero-America and the world.

The objective of this special issue has been twofold: one being, to show the emerging and quality work of researchers in this field. The other being, to encourage people in universities and research centers to see this field of work as possible and desirable. Finally, we cannot fail to mention that PAFD will be absolutely necessary to help compensate for the disruptions and deficits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaborative work is very important to meet the upcoming and current challenges of the pandemic. For that reason, some work is already starting to be seen in some journals in our field.

In this manner, this special issue satisfactorily reflects the structure of collaborative platforms, in parallel, and the configuration of a wide range of methodological designs, questions, techniques, epistemological approaches, and population groups, which, without a doubt, are at the forefront of PAFD research. In essence, we have a special issue that conforms to methodological and theoretical quality standards. In it we frame two main lines: Physical Activity and Sport.

In the Physical Activity line, Chacón-Araya et al. studied the association and prediction between perceived exertion, physiological variables, and factors of perceived exertion during maximal and submaximal efforts in older adults. They concluded that physiological and metabolic variables predict perceived exertion. Meanwhile, age, cognition and heart rate were not related to maximal effort. In the same vein, Tapia-Serrano et al. identified a relationship between the perceived body mass index and the level of physical activity in adolescents between 12 and 15 years of age. Another contribution is that of Barbosa-Granados & Aguirre-Loaiza who confirmed the hypothesis of the link between physical activity and health-related quality of life. In addition, they add evidence that moderate and vigorous levels of physical activity favor the quality of life of an academic community. Finally, the guidelines for the creation of physical activity programs for adolescents focused on the individualization of their objectives and the perception of freedom of choice in the PA to be performed. While, for older adults, physical activity programs should offer new experiences, as concluded by Pallares et al.

Regarding the sport line, Chamorro et al. offer evidence in favor of the psychometric properties of the Reflection Scale in young elite soccer players. Similarly, Herrera-Velásquez & Gómez, conducted an eight-session intervention on visualization and self-confidence; they observed favorable effects of the experimental group on visualization. Social cognition and Theory of Mind among athletes vs. non-athletes was studied by Aguirre-Loaiza et al. The results indicated that theory of mind, intentionality and accidentality stimuli of social cognition are homogeneous; there are differences in neutral stimuli. Martorell and Núñez reported the relationship between conditioned cooperation and competitive anxiety in sailors. On the other hand, Arboledaet al. found that the process of sports training in adolescents promotes a type of hegemonic masculinity that requires them to train in masculinity practices and to adhere to a system of values and practices that legitimate underhanded forms of violence that condition success in their sports discipline.

Prato et al. explored the experiences of coaches and health professionals as advisors in the careers of Colombian transnational fencers. The main finding focuses on the fact that accompanying the cultural transition of transnational fencers impacts the well-being and counseling dynamics of coaches and health professionals. All of the above highlights the importance of the sport psychologist in the different interdisciplinary teams; this premise is supported in the work of Gómez-Acosta et al.; likewise, they reported that even when many of the respondents do not have access to professional sports psychologists, they highlight their relevance in sport performance.

So, dear reader, the field of PAFD is loudly declaring itself "HERE!", and with the maturity of a branch of psychology. The collaborative work outlines its significant contributions in different fields: health, education, social, organizational, clinical and others. Finally, we express our sincere thanks to the editorial team of the Revista Pensamiento Psicológico, who, under the leadership of Dr. Natalia Cadavid, have made this editorial project a success. Thus, we are pleased to present this special issue of PAFD, which is side by side with the scientific challenges demanded in the field.

Creative Commons License This work is under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.