Associative and Dissociative Cognitive Strategies in Exercise and Running: 20 Years Later, What Do We Know?

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Utah State University
  • 2 Ohio University
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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 is with the Department of Psychology at Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-2810. Benjamin M. Ogles is with the Department of Psychology at Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701.

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