Athletes’ perceptions of positive and negative characteristics of social support during recovery and rehabilitation from serious injury: A qualitative investigation.
Ebrey, Lloyd Richard
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Introduction/aim: Social support has been cited within a sports injury context as a coping resource hypothesised to directly influence injury outcome; however research has suffered from contradictory findings leading to vague conclusions about its processes and effects and a positive linear relationship between social support and health outcomes cannot be assumed. Research points to support messages and subsequent satisfaction with enacted support as being important for a successful support exchange, yet support satisfaction and characteristics of positive and negative support have received limited attention to date. The aim of the current study was to explore injured athletes‟ perceptions of enacted support satisfaction during recovery and rehabilitation, and to explore their perceptions of what characterises positive/negative social support. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 9 injured athletes, results were analysed inductively within a deductive framework (that of the interview guide) to reveal several themes relating to injured athlete‟s perceptions of satisfaction and positive and negative characteristics of social support during recovery and rehabilitation. The themes comprised: genuine care; empathy/understanding; recipient-provider respect; perceptions of control; personal care; and feelings of burdening others. Conclusions: If positive support messages are conveyed and perceptions of control promoted, and support providers have high empathy/understanding and are well respected by the recipient then it would seem that perceptions of satisfaction with enacted support are enhanced. Conversely if negative support messages are conveyed and perceptions of control are diminished, and providers‟‟ have low empathy/understanding and are not respected within an athletic injury context then satisfaction with enacted support seems to be reduced. Future research is needed to more fully understand how enacted support satisfaction is influenced and moderated in order to best ensure positive rehabilitation outcomes and experiences for injured athletes.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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