Association and dissociation (A/D) have been identified as important cognitive strategies in the literature on running and exercise. This paper is a comprehensive review of the 20 years of research in the area. Specific topics addressed include historical context, definition and terminology considerations, measurement and design issues, and findings as they pertain to performance, injury, and pain. Several research recommendations are made including change from using the term dissociation, use of multiple measurement methods, diversity of research designs, and study of topics, such as injury, exercise adherence, and emotionality, as they relate to A/D. Finally, practical findings indicate that association relates to faster performance, dissociation relates to lower perceived exertion and possibly greater endurance, and dissociation is not related to injury but association may be.
Kevin S. Masters and Benjamin M. Ogles
Kevin S. Masters and Michael J. Lambert
The psychology of marathon running was studied by employing the cognitive strategies of association and dissociation (Morgan, 1978; Morgan & Pollock, 1977). Two shortcomings in the current literature were cited. These included the failure to study marathon runners in an actual race and the absence of an acceptable theory to explain the use of these strategies. In the present research, runners participating in a marathon were utilized and measures of dissociation, association, performance time, injury, and reasons for running a marathon were taken. The results indicated that motivations may have accounted for the use of cognitive strategies and that injury was not related to dissociation, as previously hypothesized. Additionally, runners overwhelmingly preferred to associate. A new theory regarding the use of these strategies was offered.