Psychological interventions used by athletic trainers in the rehabilitation of the injured athlete.
AuthorRoepke, Nancy Jo.
KeywordsSports injuries -- Treatment.
Athletes -- Rehabilitation.
Sports injuries -- Psychosomatic aspects.
Committee ChairBootzin, Richard
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractRecent research suggests that psychological techniques may facilitate injured athletes' rehabilitation, yet little is known about the psychological techniques trainers currently employ and how they view these interventions. In this study, 206 athletic trainers assigned Likert scale ratings to 11 psychological techniques indicating how much they valued a specific technique, how skillfully they employed it, and how often they utilized it. Trainers also responded to an open ended question asking how they would deal with the psychological aspects of an injury described in a short scenario. Results revealed a tentative model for the way trainers view psychological techniques. Categories of techniques included techniques involving the modification of physical and psychological states (goal setting, pain management, relaxation, imagery, and breathing techniques), techniques involving verbal cognitive techniques (communicating openly, changing negative self talk, emotional counseling, and crisis counseling), and non-recommended techniques (encouraging heroism and screening negative information). The study explored trainers' perceptions of each of the 11 psychological techniques in depth and discussed these findings. The study found that although trainers highly value psychological interventions in their work with injured athletes, they assigned low ratings to the techniques they knew little about. However, as exposure to sport psychology information increased, ratings assigned to the techniques that modify physical and psychological states also increased. Similarly, the longer trainers had worked in their field, the more highly they valued the verbal cognitive interventions. In contrast, neither exposure to sport psychology information or athletic training experience proved predictive of ratings assigned to the non-recommended psychological techniques. These findings suggest the importance of introducing skills training for psychological techniques early in the athletic trainers' educational curriculum so that trainers can gain awareness of the efficacy of certain psychological techniques and skill at using these techniques. Moreover, trainers could benefit from course work explaining potential negative consequences of employing harmful or ineffectual psychological interventions.