This research examined the role of coping and social support among injured athletes during rehabilitation from knee surgery. The 3 purposes included (a) describing the coping strategies used, (b) examining whether significant time changes in the use of coping and social support occurred during rehabilitation, and (c) determining if coping and social support were significant predictors of rehabilitation adherence. Athletes (N = 25) who underwent knee surgery completed assessments five times: presurgery and 3,6,9, and 12 weeks postsurgery. Descriptive statistics revealed that instrumental coping was the most used coping strategy. Additionally, a series of repeated measures analyses showed significant time changes in 2 types of coping (negative emotion and palliative), with effect sizes ranging from .16 to .32. Finally, a series of simultaneous multiple regression analyses indicated that instrumental coping was a significant predictor of adherence at 9 weeks postsurgery, explaining approximately 44% of the variance.
The vast majority of research dealing with athletic injuries has examined injuries from physical or environmental perspectives. However, there has been a growing awareness of the role of psychosocial factors in the injury process. Specifically, social support has been identified as a variable that may play a significant role in both the etiology of and recovery from athletic injuries. The overall purpose of this discussion is to review and integrate the literature that has examined the role of social support as it relates to athletic injuries. More specifically, this paper will (a) discuss conceptual issues related to social support, (b) explore the role of social support as a potential moderator variable in the life stress-injury relationship, (c) examine the contribution of social support to the rehabilitation process, and (d) suggest directions for future research based on the extant social support literature.
Column-editor : Diane Wiese-Bjornstal
Eileen Udry, Daniel Gould, Dana Bridges and Laurie Beck
This investigation sought to extend the existing scientific literature regarding the role of psychological processes in athletic injury rehabilitation. Specifically, the study examined (a) psychological responses of injured athletes to season-ending injuries, and (b) long-term benefits athletes perceived they obtained from their injuries. In-depth interviews were conducted with US Ski Team athletes (N = 21) who experienced injuries during racing seasons from 1990 to 1994. The data were analyzed using the content analysis procedures described by Scanlan, Stein, and Ravizza (1989). Relative to athletes’ reactions to being injured, 136 raw data themes were extracted which coalesced into 4 general dimensions: (a) injury-relevant information processing/awareness, (b) emotional upheaval/reactive behavior, (c) positive outlook/coping attempts, and (d) other. With respect to injury benefits, 81 raw data themes emerged and formed 4 dimensions: (a) personal growth, (b) psychologically- based performance enhancements, (c) physical-technical development, and (d) none. The results are discussed in relation to existing models of injury recovery and stress.
Eileen Udry, Daniel Gould, Dana Bridges and Suzie Tuffey
It is often assumed that important others can play significant roles in reducing stress among athletes. However, little attention has been given to (a) what specifically these important others say or do to reduce stress (empathize vs. motivate), and (b) how prevalent various types (positive vs. negative) of interactions are. This investigation attempted to fill this void. In-depth retrospective interviews were conducted with athletes who experienced burnout (n = 10) or season-ending injuries (n = 21). Inductive analysis revealed that athletes’ evaluations of the specific behaviors of important others tended to vary according to the stress (burnout vs. injury) experienced. Additionally, frequency analysis revealed that athletes described their interactions with important others as negative more often than as positive. The findings are discussed in relation to current conceptualizations of social interactions.
Robin S. Vealey, Eileen M. Udry, Vicki Zimmerman and Jill Soliday
The purpose of this study “was to examine dispositional, cognitive, and situational predictors of coaching burnout within Smith's cognitive-affective model of spoil burnout. High school and college coaches (N=848) completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Trait Anxiety Inventory, and a demographic/cognitive appraisal questionnaire via a mail survey. Descriptive results indicated that a substantial percentage of coaches fell into the moderate and high burnout ranges and that female coaches were higher in emotional exhaustion than male coaches were. Trait anxiety emerged as the strongest predictor of burnout, and several cognitive perceptions of the coaching role were also predictive of burnout. Actual time spent in coaching and leisure activities, type of sport, competition level, and personal status were not related to burnout. These findings provide some support for Smith's model and indicate that burnout may be predicted by dispositional and cognitive factors more so than actual situational or behavioral factors.
Daniel Gould, Dana Bridges, Eileen Udry and Laurie Beck
This study was designed to identify specific stress sources in elite skiers who suffered season-ending injuries and compare stress source factor differences between unsuccessful and successful postinjury performers. Retrospective qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 U.S. alpine and freestyle ski team members who suffered season-ending injuries. Results were content analyzed and revealed that the 182 stress source raw data themes coalesced into eight higher order dimensions including: psychological, social, physical, medical/rehab, financial, career, missed nonski opportunities, and other. The successful versus unsuccessful skier comparisons revealed that a greater percentage of unsuccessful skiers reported a lack of attention/empathy and negative relationship social dimension concerns, as well as poor performance and inactivity physical dimension concerns. Successful skiers reported more isolation concerns. Findings are discussed relative to how athletic injuries result in not only physical stressors, but a broad range of social and psychological stressors.
Daniel Gould, Dana Bridges, Eileen Udry and Laurie Beck
This study was designed to identify coping strategies and factors thought to facilitate recovery in elite skiers who suffered season-ending injuries. Differences in the frequency that these variables were cited between unsuccessful and successful postinjury performers and between male and female participants were examined. Retrospective qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 U.S. alpine and freestyle ski team members who suffered seasonending injuries. Content analysis of the interviews revealed that 140 coping strategy raw-data themes coalesced into seven higher order dimensions: driving through; distracted self; managed emotions and thoughts; sought and used social resources; avoidance and isolation; took note and drew upon lessons learned; and other. Six higher-order facilitating factors were identified from 78 raw-data themes and included: interpersonal resources, accessible quality medical resources, fortunate circumstances, environmental resources, past experience with injury, and financial backing. The successful versus unsuccessful skier and male versus female comparisons revealed several differences between groups, especially in the use of coping strategies.
Daniel Gould, Suzanne Tuffey, Eileen Udry and James Loehr
This study reports results from the first phase of a large-scale research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. Thirty junior tennis burnout and 32 comparison players, identified by U.S. Tennis Association personnel, voluntarily completed a battery of psychological assessments. A series of discriminant function analyses and univariate t-tests revealed that burned out, as contrasted to comparison players, had significantly: (a) higher burnout scores; (b) less input into training; (c) were more likely to have played high school tennis; (d) more likely played up in age division; (e) practiced fewer days; (f) were lower in external motivation; (g) were higher in amotivation; (h) reported being more withdrawn; (i) differed on a variety of perfectionism subscales; (j) were less likely to use planning coping strategies; and (k) were lower on positive interpretation and growth coping. It was concluded that in addition to a variety of personal and situational predictors of burnout, perfectionism plays a particularly important role.