Psychological factors as predictors of injuries among senior soccer players. A prospective study

J Sports Sci Med. 2010 Jun 1;9(2):347-52. eCollection 2010.


It is reported that between 65-91% of elite soccer players in Sweden have at least one injury per year. Several studies define different physiological and psychological factors affecting athletic injury-risk. A number of models contain proposals that specify relationships between psychological factors and an increased athletic injury-risk. Examples include Williams and Andersen's stress-injury model and Johnson and Ivarsson's empirical model of injury risk factors which proposes that factors such as trait anxiety and ineffective coping skills are influential. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between (a) personality factors, b) coping variables, and (c) stress and injury risk. Participants were 48 male soccer players from 3 Swedish teams ranging in age from 16 to 36 years (M = 22 years). Participants completed 5 questionnaires: Football Worry Scale, Swedish universities Scales of Personality, Life Events Survey for Collegiate Athletes, Daily Hassle Scale and Brief COPE. Information on injuries was collected by athletic trainers of the teams over 3-months. Results suggest injury was significantly predicted by 4 personality trait predictors: somatic trait anxiety, psychic trait anxiety, stress susceptibility, and trait irritability. Collectively, the predictors self-blame and acceptance could explain 14.6% of injury occurrence. More injuries were reported among players who score high in daily hassles. These results support previous findings. Recommendations are given for both the athletes and the trainers on working to prevent sport injuries. Key pointsA number of psychological factors, such as high stress levels and ineffective coping could increase the injury risk among athletes.The two coping factors, self - blame and acceptance could together explain 14.6 % of injury occurrence.Results of the current study suggest that the factors; somatic trait anxiety, psychic trait anxiety, stress susceptibility and trait irritability could increase injury risk among soccer players.Suggestion for future research is to investigate how daily hassles affects injury risk among soccer players in larger samples and on premiership levels. Moreover, to investigate the effects of a preventive intervention designs for a representative sample of soccer players.

Keywords: Coping strategies; daily hassles; personality; psychological predictors; sport injury.