Psychology of Sport Concussions

in Kinesiology Review

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Diane M. Wiese-Bjornstal
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Andrew C. White
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Hayley C. Russell
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Aynsley M. Smith
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The psychology of sport concussions consists of psychological, psychiatric, and psychosocial factors that contribute to sport concussion risks, consequences, and outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to present a sport concussion-adapted version of the integrated model of psychological response to sport injury and rehabilitation (Wiese-Bjornstal, Smith, Shaffer, & Morrey, 1998) as a framework for understanding the roles of psychological, psychiatric, and psychosocial factors in sport concussions. Elements of this model include preinjury psychological risk factors, postinjury psychological response and rehabilitation processes, and postinjury psychological care components. Mapped onto each element of this model are findings from the research literature through a narrative review process. An important caveat is that the subjective nature of concussion diagnoses presents limitations in these findings. Future research should examine psychological contributors to concussion risk, influences of physical factors on psychological symptoms and responses, and efficacy of psychological treatments utilizing theory-driven approaches.

Wiese-Bjornstal and White are with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN. Russell is with the Department of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University Altoona, Altoona, PA. Smith is with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN.

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