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There are many psychosocial factors that contribute to the occurrence and severity of athletic injuries. Many studies have found that there is a relationship between the occurrence and severity of athletic injuries and stress. Stress affects everyone and it is because of this we need to be properly educated about it. It is the body's nonspecific response to any demand (Williams, 1996). Stress is composed of many factors and is often described as any feelings of nervousness or anxiety. It has been established that there is a direct positive relationship between stress and the severity and occurrence of athletic injuries (Hanson, McCullagh & Tonymon, 1992). The research provided in this paper examines what causes stress and what causes the stress levels to vary in an individual. The researchers are trying to identify the cause of stress and what moderates the stress levels in an individual. Many situations can produce a stressful response and researchers have attempted to determine why it will leave an athlete more vulnerable to injury. In addition, there are many pyschosocial variables that make athletes more susceptible to injury, and psychosocial events that occur after an athlete has experienced an injury.
Despite proper rehabilitation, many athletes are not psychologically equipped to cope with the impact of an athletic injury (Larson, Zaichkowsky, & Starkey, 1996). Advances in sports medicine have allowed remarkable physical recoveries, however, many members of the medical community are urging injured athletes to have the psychological aspects of their injuries treated as well. Initially, sport psychology was used as a catalyst to enhance athletic performance. There is a growing awareness of specific psychological risk factors that are associated with athletic performance. More frequently mental health professionals are needed to assist an athlete adjust to life after an athletic injury. The psychological impact of such an injury can vary depending on the severity and the situation of both the athlete and injury, but the emotional reactions are common. Given the uniqueness of individual perceptions, it is critical that an athlete's reactions to their injury are individually assessed and monitored before considering any other form of treatment. An athlete's mental response to an injury will affect how his body responds to physical rehabilitation. This ability to cope and rehabilitate from an athletic injury is important in an athlete's ability to once again function at their maximum capability both psychologically and physically on and off the field.
Many studies have attempted to determine whether psychological factors influence the severity or the number of injuries incurred by athletes. Kerr & Minden (1988) hypothesized that the rate and severity of injury in elite female gymnasts would be influenced by anxiety, locus of control, self-concept and stressful life events. A Gymnasts' Injury Questionnaire and a similar Coaches Questionnaire were designed for the study. It asked the gymnasts to report the following: injuries occurred over the previous two years, a description of each injury and its occurrence, the timing of the injury in relation to the next competition, the number of days that the injury interfered with the regular training, and their opinion to what caused each injury. From these surveys Kerr and Minden (1988) reported that, in female gymnasts, there is a strong positive relationship between the frequency and severity of injury and stressful life events. The author suggested that, stressful life events caused athletes to use energy, leaving them fatigued and more prone to injuries because these life events commanded attention. Stress caused a change in a person's energy level, thus creating a change in a person's ability to focus. When a athlete's focus level decreased so did their ability to control what they are doing and therefore produced a greater chance of injury.
The framework proposed by Anderson and Williams (1988) was tested by Hanson, McCullagh, & Tonymon (1992) in an attempt to try and eliminate previous limitations of the study. The research of Anderson and Williams (1988) addressed, "various predictor variables of athletic injury, examined possible mechanisms underlying the stress-injury relationship, and suggested specific interventions for reducing the risk of athletic injury" (Hanson, McCullagh, & Tonymon, 1992, p.263). Each athlete was asked to fill out a background questionnaire that included age, height, weight, academic major, course load, track event, and injury history. The subjects reported any past injuries that had occurred in the previous twelve months, the severity of injuries that affected their training, and the number of months since they considered themselves recovered. Psychological published inventories were altered in order to better assess the psychological variables in the study. Stressful life events were defined
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Names referenced in this paper
Anderson, Jean M. Williams, Williams, Hanson, McCullagh, Zaichkowsky, Starkey, Larson, Eldridge, Kerr & Minden, Gordon, Eklund, Bramwell, Deutsch, Gretchen, Wagner, Eldrige, L.D., R.E.,
Organizations included in this term paper
SRRS, Journal of Human Stress, International Journal of Sport Psychology, Journal of Sports & Exercise Psychology, ATSPQ, SARRS,
Locations included in this research paper
Masuda, S.J., J.M., R.C., G.A., C., M., N.M., T.H.,
Health Conditions referenced in this research material
Companies mentioned in this report
Ford, Anderson & Williams, ATCs, Hanson, McCullagh, & Tonymon,
Keywords referenced in this report
injury, injuries, athletic injuries, psychological, athletic injury, sports, psychosocial, social support, anxiety, moderator variables, research, model, questionnaires, stress response, psychology, direct relationship, Stress Management, collegiate football, individual, resources, evaluate, the injury, Athletic Training, occurrence, sports psychology, Social Readjustment Rating Scale, Minden, psychological trauma, ATCs, aging process, Bramwell, results, competitive, gymnasts, Kerr, trait anxiety, readjustment, SRRS, sports medicine, mental health professionals, primary health care, sport psychology, Sports Sciences, Masuda, perceptions, Ford, dependent variable, physical rehabilitation, energy level, adaptive behavior,