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Lawrence B. Rosenfeld, Jack M. Richman and Charles J. Hardy

The purpose of this investigation was twofold: first, to describe the social support networks of athletes with respect to who provides what types of support and in what perceived amounts, and second, to compare the support networks of low- and high-stressed athletes. Results indicated that social support is provided by coaches, teammates, friends, and parents, and that each makes a unique contribution to the athletes’ social support network. Coaches and teammates were identified as providing types of support requiring expertise in sports, and friends and parents were identified as providing complementary types of support not requiring such expertise. Few differences were found between the social support networks of low- and high-stressed athletes.

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Charles J. Hardy, Jack M. Richman and Lawrence B. Rosenfeld

This study examined the role of social support in the relationship between life stress and injury. Utilizing a prospective design, male and female collegiate athletes participating in the sports of volleyball, gymnastics, field hockey, soccer, cross-country, track and field, and wrestling completed the Athletic Life Experience Survey and the Support Functions Questionnaire. The results indicated that life stress and social support were predictive of injury frequency among male athletes. Specifically, injury frequency increased as the level of total life change and the number of providers of shared social reality support increased (direct effect). In addition, injury frequency was found to increase as negative life change and the number of providers of, and degree of fulfillment for, emotional challenge support decreased (buffer effect). No significant models emerged for female athletes or injury severity. The results of this study support a functional or disaggregated role for social support in the life stress/injury relationship.