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

Cunningham, R and Turner, MJ (2016) Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Athletes to Reduce Irrational Beliefs and Increase Unconditional Self-Acceptance. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 34 (4). pp. 289-309. ISSN 0894-9085

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Abstract

© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York. 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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