NDSU researcher receives NCAA grant

NDSU researcher receives NCAA grant


Christi McGeorge, professor of human development and family science, has received a $20,000 grant from the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program. The grant program, which is now in its seventh year, is designed to enhance college athletes’ psychosocial well-being and mental health.

McGeorge, along with fellow investigator Russell Toomey of the University of Arizona, are developing trainings to reduce LGBTQ prejudice in sports.

“This grant is important to me as it allows me to combine my two passions scholarship on LGBTQ inclusion and sports,” McGeorge said. “I am excited to once again partner with the NDSU athletic department in order to learn more about how to promote ally development across college athletics.”

The project is titled “Standing Up, Speaking Out: Reducing LGBTQ Prejudice in Sports.” According to the project’s abstract, sexual and gender minority athletes continue to experience prejudice despite national trends indicating greater acceptance. 

“Prejudice has harmful effects on the well-being of both offenders and targets, and even witnessing these types of incidents is associated with poorer mental health outcomes,” McGeorge and Toomey said in the abstract. “This pilot study seeks to test the effectiveness of a multi-level (i.e., athletes, coaches and athletic staff) bystander intervention designed to reduce bias-based incidents related to sexual orientation and gender identity in sports by teaching participants how to engage in actions that create a more supportive and inclusive athletic department climate and team culture.”

The researchers proposed a training program that teaches 300 student-athletes, coaches and athletic department staff how to help create a more inclusive climate. The project involves two sets of two-hour training sessions; one for student-athletes and one for coaches and athletic staff. Each training will be offered three times, and include these components:

• Education about being an ally to the LGBTQ community

• Engagement in self-reflective activities to raise awareness and reduce bias

• Training on preventative actions and bystander intervention strategies

McGeorge’s research project was one of five that received a total of $100,000 in NCAA grants from among 66 proposals. The five research teams that received grants will present their findings in January 2021 at the NCAA national convention in Washington, D.C.

McGeorge’s research interests include the influence of heterosexism and sexual minority prejudice on clinical practice and training, LGBTQ Affirmative Therapy, ethical issues related to working with LGBTQ clients, ally development in college athletics, gender equity in higher education, gender equity in therapy and 1977 National Women’s Conference.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona, master’s degree in human development family studies at Colorado State University and her doctorate in family social science at the University of Minnesota.

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