Psychological Prediction of Injury in Elite Swimmers
14 March 2008 (online)
Previous research has suggested that psychological factors related to attention and anxiety may identify the injury-prone athlete. In particular, there is some evidence in endurance events that those who utilize a cognitive strategy which associates with sensory feedback pertaining to pace, effort, and fatigue are less likely to be injured. This study investigated the relationship between injury rate and scores on Nideffer's Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS) in 33 elite swimmers resident at the Australian Institute of Sport throughout 1986. The data showed that 56% of the injuries were gradual in onset and resulted from the inability of the swimmer to absorb stress particularly in the upper limbs (overuse). Although these and other intrinsic injuries might theoretically be lower in those with effective internal attentional styles, the data did not support this. Contrary to prediction, the analysis revealed that swimmers with more effective attentional profiles sustained more injuries. Although a number of explanations were offered, the sensitivity of the TAIS to assess appropriate attentional profiles in swimmers was questioned. Future research is suggested which adopts a multidimensional approach in which psychological, physiologic, and situational determinants of injury can be examined. In this way, the contribution of psychological factors to the genesis of swimming injuries can be determined and intervention strategies developed to reduce injury and accelerate recovery.
psychology - personality - injury - prediction - swimmers