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  • Author: Renee Newcomer Appaneal x
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Renee Newcomer Appaneal, Frank M. Perna and Kevin T. Larkin

Features of posttraumatic distress have been associated with treatment noncompliance and delayed surgical recovery among general medical and trauma populations. Although cognitive-affective and behavioral features of posttraumatic distress have been demonstrated among adult and adolescent athletes with injuries, physiological responses associated with posttraumatic distress have not yet been examined in this population. The objective of this study was to examine psychophysiological stress reactivity to orthopedic trauma among male athletes who sustained a severe sport injury. Athletes with injuries (n= 7) and non-injured athlete controls (n= 5) completed self-report measures of psychological distress and were then shown injury video footage while heart rate and skin conductance measures were recorded. After exposure to orthopedic trauma-related video footage, athletes with injuries demonstrated significantly greater skin conductance reactivity and subjective distress compared to controls. As demonstrated among other medical and trauma populations, athletes with injuries exhibit exaggerated stress reactivity profiles when primed with orthopedic trauma stimuli.

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Rennae A. Williams and Renee Newcomer Appaneal

Edited by Adam Naylor

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Renee Newcomer Appaneal, Beverly Rockhill Levine, Frank M. Perna and Joni L. Roh

Depression is common among athletes following sport injury, yet few studies have explored the severity of postinjury depression. Among those studies, only one examined gender differences although women in the general population are more likely than men to experience depression. No research to date has used interviews to assess depression despite their standard use among mental health professionals. In a quasi-experimental design, we used a self-report checklist and a clinical interview to compare depression among male and female athletes at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months postinjury. Results revealed significant effects of group (injured vs. control) and time (since injury), and these effects were different for the two depression measures. We also explored the sensitivity and specificity of the user-rated checklist in identifying severely depressed athletes compared with the interview. Findings underscore the importance of multimodal approaches and clinical judgment when evaluating athletes' postinjury depression symptoms.