Psychological Predictors of Injury Occurrence: A Prospective Investigation of Professional Swedish Soccer Players

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Andreas Ivarsson
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Urban Johnson
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Leslie Podlog
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Athletes participating in sport are exposed to a high injury risk. Previous research has found a great number of risk factors (both physiological and psychological) that could increase injury risk.1 One limitation in previous studies is that few have considered the complex interaction between psychological factors in their research design.


To study whether personality, stress, and coping predicted injury occurrence in an elite soccer population based on a hypothesized model.




56 (n = 38 male, n = 18 female) Swedish Premiere League soccer players were selected based on convenience sampling.


Participants completed 4 questionnaires including the Swedish Universities Scales of Personality,2 Life Events Survey for Collegiate Athletes,3 and Brief COPE4 during the initial questionnaire administration. Subsequent to the first meeting, participants also completed the Hassle and Uplift Scale5 once per wk for a 13-wk period throughout the competitive season.

Main Outcome Measures:

A path analysis was conducted examining the influence of personality traits (ie, trait anxiety), state-level stressors (ie, negative-life-event stress and daily hassles), and coping on injury frequency.


Results of the path analysis indicated that trait anxiety, negative-life-event stress, and daily hassle were significant predictors of injury among professional soccer players, accounting for 24% of the variance.


The findings highlight the need for athletes, coaches, and medical practitioners to attempt to reduce state-level stressors, especially daily hassles, in minimizing injury risk. Educating and training athletes and coaches in proactive stress-management techniques appears warranted.

Ivarsson and Johnson are with the Center of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden. Podlog is with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Utah, UT.

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