SEP doctoral student receives APA Division 47 Thesis Award

Zenzi Huysmans headshot

Zenzi Huysmans, sport and exercise psychology doctoral student, has received the American Psychological Association Division 47 Thesis award for her thesis titled ‘A preliminary exploration of the application of self-compassion within the context of sports injury.’

Huysmans is a third-year international student from Swaziland, a small country in Southern Africa.  She received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and completed her masters in SEP at WVU in May 2016.

 “The purpose of the study was to examine the role of self-compassion in collegiate athletes’ responses to stress and subsequent susceptibility to injury. It was hypothesized that self-compassion may be a useful cognitive reframing tool for athletes in their experience of stress, which may buffer susceptibility to athletic injury,” Huysmans said.

Winners of the award give their research in a short lecture at the annual APA Div. 47 convention. Huysmans will present her research at this year’s convention in Washington D.C., August 3-6.

“This award is a wonderful validation for the hard work I have put in and the mentorship of my advisor, Dr. Damien Clement,” Huysmans added.  

While at WVU, Huysmans plans to develop her own youth sport program to promote HIV/AIDS prevention and gender empowerment in her home country. “This is only the beginning. This year, 2017, is ‘Zenzi’s Year of Movement,’” she said.

The APA Div. 47 Dissertation and Thesis Award recognizes outstanding student research that has the greatest potential to make a significant contribution to the knowledge base in the field of exercise and sport psychology.

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