Matching social support with stressors: effects on athletes psychological response to injury
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of the study was to examine if the different types of social support when matched to a specific stressor will buffer the psychological responses of injured athletes from a negative to a more positive health response. The study assessed participants (n :35) who had sustained an injury that prevented participation in normal sporting activity for a minimum period of six weeks and a maximum of eight weeks. Data was collected using the recently developed Psychological Responses to Sports Injury Inventory @RSII) and the stressors and Social Support Inventory for Injured Athletes (SSIAI). Moderated hierarchical regression analysis was used to examine the effects of stressors and social support on the psychological responses of injured athletes. Although the four dimensions of social support created main effects on the psychological responses of athletes, only in four cases did social support contribute significantly (p: < 0.05) and interact with the dependent variable (Psychological response). Esteem and emotional support were found to buffer feelings of loss of confidence when athletes were reorganising their emotions upon returning to sport, Tangible support was found to buffer feelings associated with the inability to train that often left the athletes feeling restless whilst, emotional support buffered feelings of isolation making athletes feel less isolated upon returning to competition. Possible reasoning for such findings may be linked to attachment theory and the processes of motivation and self-efficacy. The study is one of the first to investigate the effects ofstressors and social supportupon the psychological responses ofinjured athletes, and although there is a lack of significant results (p: <0.05), conclusions suggest that social support is a multi dimensional construct that holds importance in ensuring that athletes make a full recovery from injury as quickly as possible. Findings from this study provide a basis for further investigation in this area.
BSc (Hons) Sport, PE and Recreation
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