Enhancing impact: A systematic review of implementation science in sport psychology research


Significant challenges often exist when incorporating scientific evidence into practice. In some research domains, it can take roughly 17 years to incorporate evidence-based practices (EBPs) into routine practice (Balas & Boren, 2000; Grant et al., 2003; Morris et al., 2011). One of the strategies for helping reduce barriers and facilitate the adoption of EBP into “routine” practice is through implementation science practices (IS; Eccles & Mittman, 2006). The aim of this review was to provide a comprehensive and critical overview of IS in sport psychology research. A systematic review of four databases (Web of Science, Sport Discus, Scopus, Medline-OVID) from 1900 to 2022 was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA; Moher et al., 2009). Full-text articles including relevant data on IS in sport were identified. The initial search revealed 645 articles and after screening, 33 articles remained for final review. Articles were assessed for quality using a 3-point Likert-type scale based on clarity of research aim and components of IS. The most prevalent number of articles focused on injury prevention programs (42%), and 48% had male and female samples. Of these articles, only one sport psychology article explicitly used a component of IS. Although, 12% studied wellness and performance interventions with athletes, they did not explicitly utilize IS. This systematic review revealed important findings about the landscape of IS in sport psychology research and highlights several opportunities for researchers and practitioners to utilize IS to enhance the implementation of research findings.