Emotional responses of athletes to injury

Mayo Clin Proc. 1990 Jan;65(1):38-50. doi: 10.1016/s0025-6196(12)62108-9.


Increased participation in sports is associated with increased related injuries. This study was conducted to identify the emotional responses of athletes to injury and to determine which responses might interfere with rehabilitation and necessitate psychologic or psychiatric intervention. In 72 patients, follow-up surveillance was continued from the time of injury until resumption of sports activity. Patients completed the Emotional Responses of Athletes to Injury Questionnaire and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) test, and significant differences were found when the POMS scales of depression and anger were compared with college norms. Mean POMS scores were compared (by multivariate analysis of variance) by sex, age, and severity of injury. No gender differences were found, and only for anger were age groups significantly different (younger athletes were most angered). Three severity-of-injury groups (based on the duration of time the athlete was unable to participate in sports) were also compared. The most seriously injured group experienced significantly more tension, depression, and anger and less vigor than college norms, a mood disturbance that lasted 1 month. Emotional disturbance can occur after a sports-related injury, and its prompt recognition may facilitate the athlete's optimal rehabilitation and a safe return to participation in sports.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Anger
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Depression
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged