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Athletes’ experiences of psychosocial risk factors preceding injury
Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
The risk of being injured while engaging in sport and exercise is statistically high. Therefore, it is important to understand the psychosocial mechanisms underlying susceptibility to injury in sport and exercise settings because of the potential to enhance well-being at the individual level and reduce economic costs for society. Existing theoretical models of injury risk point to psychosocial antecedents, such as personality factors, history of stressors, coping resources and peripheral narrowing, as precursors of susceptibility to injury. The aim of the study was to describe and structure athletes' experiences of psychosocial risk factors preceding injury based on existing theoretical models. Twenty competitive athletes (mean age 22.7 years) were interviewed about experiences of psychosocial risk factors and connections between psychosocial risk factors and occurrence of acute injury. Based on a thematic content analysis, four risk factors emerged: history of stressors, person factors, fatigue and ineffective coping. The findings revealed several parallels to existing theoretical models and findings in the previous literature. Three out of four core themes emerged that coincide with Williams and Andersen's stress-injury model. In addition, a not so often discussed finding, fatigue, was identified as a theme in athletes' responses. Several sub-themes are discussed in relation to Rogers and Landers' coping model and Wasserman' stress-vulnerability model. Recommendations are given for individual athletes and for others involved in preventing injury occurrence in sport and exercise settings.
Nyckelord: athletes; health; injury; narrative interviews; psychosocial risk factors; thematic content analysis