Context: According to the buffering hypothesis, social support moderates the harmful effects of stress and, in turn, indirectly affects injured athletes’ health and well-being. Previous research suggests that perceptions of social support influence athletes’ psychological reactions, as well as their rehabilitation adherence, but additional research in this area is warranted. Objective: To examine injured athletes’ perceptions regarding satisfaction, availability, and contribution for each of the 8 types of social support. Design: Descriptive. Setting: Mid-Atlantic Division II and III institutions. Participants: 49 injured athletes. Main Outcome Measures: Social support was assessed using a modified version of the Social Support Survey. Results: Injured athletes were significantly more satisfied with social support provided by athletic trainers (ATCs) than that provided by coaches and teammates. In addition, injured athletes reported that social support provided by ATCs contributed significantly more to their overall well-being. Athletes reported several significant differences regarding satisfaction and contribution to well-being among the 8 different types of social support. Conclusions: Injury, an unavoidable part of sport, is often accompanied by negative psychological reactions. This reaction may have a negative influence on an athlete’s experience of injury and rehabilitation. Findings suggest that perceptions of social support provided by ATCs have the greatest influence on injured athletes’ rehabilitation and well-being.
Keywords: buffering hypothesis, direct-effects hypothesis, athletes’ well-being