The Influence of Athletic Identity, Passion, and Perceptions of Severity of Concussions on Athletes’ Willingness to Report Concussion Symptoms

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Eric M. Martin Boise State University, Boise, ID, USA

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5575-0341 *
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Megan Byrd Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7427-1060
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Adriana Amador Miami University, Oxford, OH, USA

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Emma Ridenhour Boise State University, Boise, ID, USA

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Carolena Charalambous Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA

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Context: The influence of several psychological characteristics on the willingness of athletes to report concussion behaviors has not been well explored. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to understand how athletic identity and sport passion predicted participants’ willingness to report symptoms above what was explained by athlete demographics, concussion knowledge, and perceived seriousness of concussions. Design: The study was cross-sectional. Methods: Three-hundred and twenty-two male and female high school and club sport athletes completed survey measures of concussion knowledge, athletic identity, harmonious and obsessive passion, and degree to which athletes indicated they would report concussions and concussion symptoms. Results: Athletes scored moderately high on their knowledge of symptoms and other concussion information (mean = 16.21; ± = 2.88) and above the midpoint on their attitudes and behaviors toward reporting concussion symptoms (mean = 3.64; ± = 0.70). There were no differences between gender, t(299) = −.78, P = .44, and previous concussion education, t(296) = 1.93, P = .06, related to concussion knowledge. Results of a hierarchical regression indicated that after entering athlete demographics, concussion knowledge, and perceived seriousness of concussions, of the 3 psychological variables in the final stage of the model, only obsessive passion was a significant predictor of athlete’s attitudes to report a concussion. Conclusions: Perceived seriousness of concussion, perceived threat to long-term health, and obsessive passion were the strongest predictors of athlete’s willingness to report concussions. Athletes who did not believe concussions posed a threat to their current or future health, and those that held an obsessive passion for sport were most at risk for not reporting concussions. Future research should continue to investigate the relationship between reporting behaviors and psychological factors.

High school athletes had moderately high knowledge of concussion symptoms and moderately high scores on attitudes toward reporting concussion symptoms.

Perceived seriousness of concussion and obsessive passion were the 2 strongest predictors of athletes’ willingness to report concussions.

Harmonious passion and athletic identity were nonsignificant predictors of athlete’s willingness to report concussions.

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