Psychosocial Factors and Sport Injuries: Meta-analyses for Prediction and Prevention

Sports Med. 2017 Feb;47(2):353-365. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0578-x.


Background: Several studies have suggested that psychosocial variables can increase the risk of becoming injured during sport participation.

Objectives: The main objectives of these meta-analyses were to examine (i) the effect sizes of relationships between the psychosocial variables (suggested as injury predictors in the model of stress and athletic injury) and injury rates, and (ii) the effects of psychological interventions aimed at reducing injury occurrence (prevention).

Methods: Electronic databases as well as specific sport and exercise psychology journals were searched. The literature review resulted in 48 published studies containing 161 effect sizes for injury prediction and seven effect sizes for injury prevention.

Results: The results showed that stress responses (r = 0.27, 80 % CI [0.20, 0.33]) and history of stressors (r = 0.13, 80 % CI [0.11, 0.15]) had the strongest associations with injury rates. Also, the results from the path analysis showed that the stress response mediated the relationship between history of stressors and injury rates. For injury prevention studies, all studies included (N = 7) showed decreased injury rates in the treatment groups compared to control groups.

Conclusion: The results support the model's suggestion that psychosocial variables, as well as psychologically, based interventions, can influence injury risk among athletes.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Research
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological