Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Athletes to Reduce Irrational Beliefs and Increase Unconditional Self-Acceptance

Abstract

The reported application of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) with athletes is growing but remains scarce within sport psychology literature. This study used a single-case multiple-baseline across participants design to investigate the effects of REBT on irrational self-depreciation beliefs and unconditional self-acceptance (USA) with three male mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes. Visual and statistical analyses indicate a reduction in total irrationality and self-depreciation and an increase in USA, which was maintained at 6 months post-REBT for two of the three athletes. Social validation data revealed positive changes in emotion management and performance in all athletes. The mechanisms by which REBT promoted changes in self-depreciation and USA are discussed as are recommendations regarding the future implementation of REBT with athletes.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge Andrew Wood, Staffordshire University, for his work on the statistical analyses of data.

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Correspondence to Martin J. Turner.

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Cunningham, R., Turner, M.J. Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Athletes to Reduce Irrational Beliefs and Increase Unconditional Self-Acceptance. J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther 34, 289–309 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-016-0240-4

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Keywords

  • Case study
  • Applied sport psychology
  • Counseling
  • Intervention
  • Combat sports