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A Preliminary Exploration of the Application of Self-Compassion Within the Context of Sport Injury

Zenzi Huysmans and Damien Clement

In a prospective study of collegiate athletes (N = 117), the application of self-compassion within the context of sport injury was explored. Previous literature indicated that self-compassion enhances adaptive coping and well-being and reduces anxiety in stress-provoking situations. This research suggested that it could potentially reduce the stress response and subsequent injury risk. Findings indicated that self-compassion may buffer the experience of somatic anxiety (rs = −.436, p < .01) and worry (rs = −.351, p < .01), and reduce the engagement of avoidance-focused coping strategies (rs = −.362, p < .01). There were no significant findings related to self-compassion and injury reduction. A challenge with this research is distinguishing the impact of resistance to self-compassion from the potential benefits that it may have on coping and appraisal of stress in sport. This research was a preliminary exploration of self-compassion within the context of responses to stress and subsequent injury risk. Results suggest that further investigation across different athletic populations, sports, and injury situations is warranted.