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Title:The injury-coping process for athletes: A qualitative examination
Author(s):Peterson, Kirsten Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Harmon, Lenore W.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy
Education, Physical
Health Sciences, Recreation
Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:Using repeated, in-depth interviewing, this qualitative investigation followed eight injured intercollegiate athletes (five males, three females) through their rehabilitations. This project's main purpose was to delineate the coping strategies used by athletes during their rehabilitations. The relevance to this process of specific factors such as athletic identity, social support, emotions, beliefs, motivations, and body image was also examined. Athletes were asked to define the concept of recovery from athletic injury. Interview transcripts were inductively analyzed using grounded theory techniques (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Three phases of the coping process emerged: how interviewees coped (a) initially with their injury, (b) with their rehabilitations over time, and (c) with recovery. During the first phase, athletes sometimes coped with strong emotions, with attention paid to problem-focused as well as social-focused coping. While coping with rehabilitations, athletes used problem-focused coping, specifically short-term goal setting as well as social, physical, and emotion-focused coping strategies. At the recovery phase, problem-focused goal setting was longer term, with less emphasis placed on emotion-, social- and physical-focused strategies. Regarding athletic identity, athletes who identified with their athletic role al the expense of other life roles had more difficulty dealing with strong, negative affect and were less flexible in directing their effort productively than the other athletes. The emotional reaction results do not support the idea that individuals progress through a series of invariant emotional stages; instead, there were similarities to cognitive appraisal model processes. Athletes experienced more negative emotions during the beginning and end of their coping processes, disconfirming the concept of "acceptance" as a coping end point. Social support results suggest that sports medicine personnel were seen as relatively unemotionally supportive authority figures. Opinions of coaches' support were mixed and teammates were seen as being uninformed and generally unsupportive. Families, friends, other injured athletes, and the interviewer were all seen as being emotionally supportive. Athletes indicated that there were both physical and mental components to successful recovery; few, however, anticipated that they would reach that objective. Future research directions and suggestions for the care of injured athletes are provided.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Peterson, Kirsten Marie
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712402
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712402

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