The Context of Emotional Responses to Athletic Injury: A Qualitative Analysis

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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This study used grounded theory to describe the emotional responses of athletes following injury and their situational and temporal contexts. Sixteen seriously injured athletes were interviewed. The NUD*IST (Nonnumerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorizing) computer program was used to search, store, explore, and organize the qualitative material. The main emotional responses, appraisals, events, and behaviors that emerged from the analysis were represented diagrammatically. Frustration and depression were the prevalent emotional responses throughout rehabilitation, although the situational corollaries differed as recovery progressed. In the early phase of rehabilitation, frustration and depression resulted from disruption to normal function, in the middle phase they were provoked by a negative appraisal of rehabilitation progress, and. at the end of rehabilitation the main instigator was impatience to return to sport. Whether to risk returning prematurely to sport emerged as a key theme, as did the confounding effects of exercise withdrawal. symptoms in extremely committed athletes. The results were considered in terms of both cognitive appraisal and risk models.

Lynne Halley Johnston is with the Department of Leisure Management, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, Swindon Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4AZ, UK. Douglas Carroll is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.

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