Mental Links to Enhanced Healing: An Exploratory Study

in The Sport Psychologist
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The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine whether athletes who healed very rapidly demonstrated greater evidence than did slower healing athletes of psychosocial factors thought to be related to enhanced healing. A survey format was used to measure the following factors—positive attitude, outlook, stress and stress control, social support, goal setting, positive selftalk, and mental imagery—as well as related items about beliefs and recommendations for enhanced healing. Thirty-two former sports medicine clinic patients with either knee or ankle injuries participated in the study. Some 19% of these athletes had exceptionally fast recoveries. These subjects evidenced high scores on all variables tested, while those in the slowest healing group evidenced low scores. The most significant results were found in the more action related factors of goal setting, positive self-talk, and the use of healing imagery. This is particularly encouraging for those working in an applied setting, as these factors are within one’s potential control.

Lydia Ievleva is with the Dept. of Physical Education at Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306. Terry Orlick is with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, 1 University Private, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5.

The Sport Psychologist
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