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Rosa M. Rodriguez, Ashley Marroquin and Nicole Cosby

The use of imagery as a psychological intervention has been suggested to be effective at reducing anxiety, tension, and pain, while promoting and encouraging healing after an injury. Imagery is defined as a process of performing a skill in one’s mind using the senses (touch, feel, smell, vision, etc

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Paul R. Surburg

This article provides insights into the use of imagery procedures with special populations. After an overview of various imagery techniques that have been used to enhance motor performance with normal persons, studies dealing with the elderly, brain and spinal cord injuries, neoplasms, and persons with mental handicaps are discussed. Issues are addressed concerning the use of imagery techniques by the researcher and practitioner. The final section of this paper deals with possible applications of imagery techniques with special populations.

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Kate A.T. Eddy and Stephen D. Mellalieu

The purpose of this study was to investigate imagery experiences in performers with visual impairments. Structured, in-depth, qualitative interviews were conducted with six elite goalball athletes regarding the processing and use of mental images in training and competition. Interview transcripts were analyzed using deductive and inductive procedures and revealed four general dimensions describing the athletes’ uses of imagery. Participants reported using imagery for cognitive and motivational purposes in both training and competition. Imagery was also suggested to be utilized from an internal perspective with the processing of images derived from a range of modalities. The findings suggest that visual impairment does not restrict the ability to use mental imagery and that psychological interventions can be expanded to include the use of all the athletes’ sensory modalities.

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Carla Sordoni, Craig Hall and Lorie Forwell

Objectives:

To determine whether athletes use motivational and cognitive imagery during injury rehabilitation and to develop an instrument for measuring imagery use.

Design:

A survey concerning imagery use during rehabilitation was administered to injured athletes.

Setting:

The Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic in London, Ontario, Canada.

Participants:

Injured athletes (N = 71) receiving physiotherapy.

Main Outcome Measure:

The Athletic Injury Imagery Questionnaire (AIIQ).

Results:

As hypothesized, 2 distinct factors emerged from the items on the AIIQ: motivational and cognitive imagery. Motivational imagery was used more often than cognitive imagery in this context, yet less frequently than in other sport situations (eg, training and competition).

Conclusions:

The study indicates that the AIIQ is a potentially useful tool through which physiotherapists and sport psychologists can examine athletes' use of imagery in injury rehabilitation.

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Sanna M. Nordin-Bates, Jennifer Cumming, Danielle Aways and Lucinda Sharp

The present study investigated perfectionism prevalence and its relationship to imagery and performance anxiety. Two hundred and fifty (N = 250) elite students (66.4% female; M age = 19.19, SD = 2.66) studying mainly classical ballet or contemporary dance in England, Canada, and Australia completed questionnaires assessing perfectionism, imagery, and performance anxiety. Cluster analysis revealed three distinct cohorts: dancers with perfectionistic tendencies (40.59% of the sample), dancers with moderate perfectionistic tendencies (44.35%), and dancers with no perfectionistic tendencies (15.06%). Notably, these labels are data driven and relative; only eight dancers reported high absolute scores. Dancers with perfectionistic tendencies experienced more debilitative imagery, greater cognitive and somatic anxiety, and lower self-confidence than other dancers. Dancers with moderate perfectionistic tendencies reported midlevel scores for all constructs and experienced somatic anxiety as being more debilitative to performance than did those with no perfectionistic tendencies. Clusters were demographically similar, though more males than females reported no perfectionistic tendencies, and vice versa. In summary, the present findings suggest that “true” perfectionism may be rare in elite dance; however, elements of perfectionism appear common and are associated with maladaptive characteristics.

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Johanna Newsom, Peter Knight and Ronald Balnave

Objective:

To assess whether mental imagery of gripping prevents the loss of grip strength associated with forearm immobilization.

Design:

Pretest–posttest randomized-group design.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

13 female and 5 male university students, age between 17 and 30 years, randomly assigned into 2 groups—1 control and 1 experimental.

Interventions:

Both groups had their nondominant forearms immobilized for 10 days. The experimental group undertook three 5-min mental-imagery sessions daily, during which they imagined they were squeezing a rubber ball.

Main Outcome Measures:

Wrist-flexion and -extension and grip strength before and after immobilization.

Results:

There was no significant change in wrist-flexion or -extension strength in the mental-imagery group. The control group experienced a significant decrease in wrist-flexion and -extension strength during the period of immobilization (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Despite study limitations, the results suggest that mental imagery might be useful in preventing the strength loss associated with short-term muscle immobilization

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Paul R. Surburg, David L. Porretta and Vins Sutlive

The purpose of this study was to examine the role of imagery practice as supplementary practice in the performance of a throwing task. A secondary purpose was to ascertain if different cognitive demands of a motor task affected the use of this supplementary practice. Forty adolescents with mild mental retardation were randomly assigned to the following groups: low cognitive loading-physical practice, low cognitive loading-imagery and physical practice, high cognitive loading-physical practice, high cognitive loading-imagery and physical practice. Subjects engaged in seven practice sessions during which performance scores of a throwing task were recorded. Groups supplemented with imagery practice were superior in performance to nonimagery groups. A higher cognitive loading of the task did not enhance the use of this type of supplementary practice more than a lower loading. The results of this study reflect the efficacy of imagery practice as a means to improve motor performance of students with mild mental retardation.

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Lucette Toussaint, Nicolas Robin and Yannick Blandin

We examined the similarities between actual and motor imagery practice with regard to the development of sensorimotor representations. Participants had to reproduce knee joint positions (15 or 150 trials) in visuo-proprioceptive or proprioceptive conditions (Experiment 1) or in visual, proprioceptive or visuo-proprioceptive imagery conditions (Experiment 2), before being transferred in a proprioceptive condition. A familiarization session in a proprioceptive condition was performed before imagery practice only (Experiment 2). Results showed that the effect of vision withdrawal varied according to actual or motor imagery practice: performance accuracy in transfer decreased after actual visuo-proprioceptive practice while it increased after visuo-proprioceptive imagery practice. These results suggest that different movement representations can be developed following actual or imagery practice. They also suggest that information from previous experience could be stored in a sensori-motor memory and could be fundamental for the efficiency of motor imagery practice.

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Marcia Milne, Craig Hall and Lorie Forwell

Objective:

To evaluate the factorial validity of the Athletic Injury Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (AISEQ) and the predictive relationships among self-efficacy, imagery use, and rehabilitation adherence.

Design and Setting:

Survey administered in an outpatient physiotherapy clinic.

Participants:

270 injured athletes.

Main Outcome Measures:

AISEQ, Athletic Injury Imagery Questionnaire, and an adherence measure.

Results:

A confirmatory factor analysis of the AISEQ revealed a 2-factor model. Athletes were higher in task efficacy than coping efficacy and used more cognitive and motivational imagery than healing imagery. In addition, athletes rated their frequency and duration of exercise performance higher than their quality of exercise performance. Cognitive imagery significantly predicted task efficacy, task efficacy predicted quality of exercise, and coping efficacy predicted frequency of exercise. Both task and coping efficacy were predictors of duration of exercise.

Conclusions:

Results support a 2-factor solution of the AISEQ. In addition, task and coping self-efficacy appear to be key aspects in rehabilitation adherence.

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Sheng Li, Jennifer A. Stevens, Derek G. Kamper and William Z. Rymer

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of motor imagery on the premotor time (PMT). Twelve healthy adults performed reaction time movements in response to external visual signals at rest, when holding an object (muscle activation), or performing different background imagined movements (motor imagery). When compared to rest, muscle activation reduced the PMT; imagined finger extension of the right hand and imagined finger flexion of the left hand elongated the PMT; imagined finger flexion of the right hand had no effect on the PMT. This movement-specific effect is interpreted as the sum of the excitatory effect caused by enhanced corticospinal excitability specifically for the primary mover of the imagined movement and an overall inhibition associated with increased task complexity during motor imagery. Our results clearly demonstrate that motor imagery has movement-specific effects on the PMT.