Using the Integrated Model of Response to Sport Injury as a theoretical framework, athletes’ psychological strengths and emotional responses were explored throughout the injury process using a case study approach. Four Division I athletes completed measures of mental toughness, hardiness, and optimism before their season (time 1), once they became injured (time 2), midway through rehabilitation (time 3), and when they were cleared to participate (time 4). Coping behavior, psychological response, and rehabilitation adherence were recorded at time 2–time 4, while recovering. In addition, interviews were conducted after time 4. Mental toughness, hardiness, and optimism varied over time and across cases, with broad individual differences in response to injury. Athletes experienced a loss of athletic identity combined with feelings of guilt and helplessness over the initial stages of injury, but positive experiences were also found. All cases also reported playing through injury. Understanding the psychological strengths and responses of athletes can help professionals work with injured athletes.
Leilani Madrigal and Diane L. Gill
David A. Shearer, Stephen D. Mellalieu and Catherine R. Shearer
While posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with survivors of traumatic events (e.g., combat), PTSD can occur after any situation in which victims perceive that their life or safety is threatened. In sport, athletes often place themselves in dangerous situations and are also exposed to the same lifestyle dangers as the general population. The literature on PTSD among athletes is sparse, and consequently, it is possible that many (non-clinical) sport psychologists would fail to recognize the symptoms and may subsequently fail to refer the athlete to the appropriate professional for clinical assistance. In the following case study, we present an example of an athlete suffering from PTSD following a serious bicycle accident in which she sustained head and facial injuries. We briefly detail the nature of PTSD and discuss how sport psychology services can be implemented alongside a parallel clinical intervention program. Finally, we offer recommendations for practice when working with athletes with PTSD.
Nicole G. Dubuc, Robert J. Schinke, Mark A. Eys, Randy Battochio and Leonard Zaichkowsky
Within the current study, the process of adolescent burnout is considered in relation to perceived contributors, symptoms, consequences, and subsequently, effective and ineffective coping strategies. Through case studies, the researchers sought the burnout experiences of three competitive female gymnasts. Participants were selected based on scores obtained from Raedeke and Smith’s (2001) Athlete Burnout Questionnaire. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the process, athlete data were considered in tandem with interviews from at least one parent and one coach. Transcribed data were segmented into meaning units, coded into a hierarchy of themes and verified by each respondent. Despite common trends among the participants, differences were also found in relation to symptoms, contributors, and the progression of the condition. Implications are provided for the athlete/parent/coach triad and also for sport psychologists.
Fraser Carson and Remco C. J. Polman
The aim of this case study was to investigate the emotional factors and coping strategies used by a professional rugby union player during rehabilitation from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. A dominant (qualitative) - less dominant (quantitative) mixed methodological approach was established concurrent with the athlete’s rehabilitation. Twice monthly interviews and a self-report diary were completed throughout the rehabilitation process. Six questionnaires were used to assess specific aspects of injury rehabilitation identified from previous literature, including emotional response, coping, social support, and perceived autonomy. Content analysis of each phase of the rehabilitation process established 34 higher-order themes split into two general dimensions: Influential Emotions or Coping Strategies. Findings highlight the benefit of problem-focused coping to improve autonomy and confidence. A sequential movement through a series of emotions (shock, depression, relief, encouragement, and confidence building) was also identified.
Jamie B. Barker and Marc V. Jones
This study reports the effects of a hypnosis intervention on a professional soccer player who reported low self-efficacy and a negative mood state relative to his soccer performance. Pre- and postintervention data were collected via a Soccer Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (SSEQ) that consisted of 10 items relating to good soccer performance, the Trait Sport Confidence Inventory (TSCI), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and a Soccer Performance Measure (SPM). An intervention program consisting of eight hypnosis sessions was conducted. These sessions comprised the presentation of ego-strengthening suggestions. Both visual and statistical analysis revealed substantial increases in trait sport confidence, self-efficacy, positive affect, and soccer performance, as well as a substantial decrease in negative affect over the course of the intervention. The findings of this case study suggest that hypnosis can be used to enhance self-efficacy, affect, and sport performance. A number of practical issues are presented surrounding the use of hypnosis in the context of English soccer and with athletes in general.
Edson Filho, Lael Gershgoren, Itay Basevitch, Robert Schinke and Gershon Tenenbaum
The present study was an initial attempt to capture and describe instances of shared mental models within a team from the point of view of the team captain. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to describe a range of perceived and shared behaviors aimed at facilitating the overall performance of a college volleyball team from the perspective of the team captain. This behavioral focus is congruent with the need for documenting observable task and team-related coordination mechanisms. Symbolic interactionism, via the use of systematic observations, documental analysis, and semistructured open-ended interviews, was used to gather data from the participant in the form of a case study. Data were analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) theoretical thematic analysis based on categories derived from Eccles and Tenenbaum’s (2004) Conceptual Framework of Coordination in Sport Teams. Results indicated that the player’s actions were perceived as enhancing proactive information sharing within her team. Therefore, it is suggested that team leaders possess important objective and symbolic roles in the promotion of shared mental models. These results are further discussed in relation to current knowledge of shared mental models in sports. Limitations and directions for future research are outlined.
Lael Gershgoren, Edson Medeiros Filho, Gershon Tenenbaum and Robert J. Schinke
This study was aimed at capturing the components comprising shared mental models (SMM) and the training methods used to address SMM in one athletic program context. To meet this aim, two soccer coaches from the same collegiate program were interviewed and observed extensively during practices and games throughout the 2009–2010 season. In addition, documents (e.g., players’ positioning on free kicks sheet) from the soccer program were reviewed. The data were analyzed inductively through a thematic analysis to develop models that operationalize SMM through its components, and training. Game intelligence and game philosophy were the two main operational themes defining SMM. Moreover, four themes emerged for SMM training: (a) the setting, (b) compensatory communication, (c) reinforcement, and (d) instruction. SMM was embedded within a more comprehensive conceptual framework of team chemistry, including emotional, social, and cognitive dimensions. Implications of these conceptual frameworks are considered for sport psychologists and coaches.
Aditi Mankad, Sandy Gordon and Karen Wallman
The present study features a psycholinguistic analysis, using Pennebaker’s (1989) emotional disclosure paradigm, of an athlete’s experience in recovering from injury. “GL,” a male athlete rehabilitating from anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, participated in a 9-week testing protocol. A 3-day intervention was used, consisting of three 20-minute writing sessions, which promoted disclosure of negative emotions associated with injury and rehabilitation. In addition, measures of stress, mood disturbance, and self-esteem were administered from pre- to postintervention and at follow-up. Results revealed decreases in stress and mood disturbance, as well as an increase in self-esteem. Analysis of writing samples revealed increased use of linguistic markers indicating affective awareness. Findings also highlighted the importance of emotional disclosure and cognitive integration in reducing stress and enhancing understanding of injury.
Charles A. Maher
This article reflects a response to the case of a freshman student-athlete lacrosse player who was in the process of transitioning into a Division I environment. Within the context of the case response, guidelines were provided for assessment of the student-athlete at four separate, yet interrelated levels of psychological development. These levels were: as a person; as a student-athlete who exists in a high-risk environment; as a teammate; and as a performer in the sport of lacrosse. Relatedly, it was suggested how the strengths and needs of this individual could be assessed and how resulting needs assessment information could be used in the design of an individual plan for the student-athlete. As such, it was suggested that the individual plan would most likely center on helping the individual to become increasingly aware of herself as a person and performer, to offer guidance in adhering to her physical rehabilitation, and to develop a routine for her daily preparation and for monitoring her practice and game performances. The case response concludes with a description of a framework for determining the student-athlete’s readiness for engaging in the plan and its activities.
Jessie M. Wall, Janelle L. Kwee, Marvin J. McDonald and Richard A. Bradshaw
This study was the first to explore the treatment effects of observed and experiential integration (OEI) therapy for the salient psychological barriers to performance experienced by athletes. The hermeneutic single case efficacy design was used to explore the relationship between OEI therapy and athlete psychological functioning. The participant was a student-athlete who met the criteria for the performance dysfunction (multilevel classification system of Sport psychology) category, which indicates that subclinical issues were present. After five phases of data collection, a rich case record was compiled and referenced to develop skeptic and affirmative briefs and corresponding rebuttals by two research teams of three experts (OEI clinician, non-OEI clinician, and sport expert). Three independent judges adjudicated the cases and unanimously concluded that the client changed considerably to substantially and that OEI, the therapeutic relationship, and client expectancy were active variables in the change process.