Severity of Overuse Injury Impacts Self-Efficacy and Quality of Life in Runners: A 2-Year Prospective Cohort Study

J Sport Rehabil. 2021 May 25;30(7):1073-1079. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2020-0326.


Context: While 55 million Americans incorporate running into their exercise routines, up to 65% of runners sustain an overuse injury annually. It has been consistently shown that regular physical activity positively impacts quality of life (QOL), an essential public health indicator; however, the impact of running-related injuries on QOL is unknown. This study seeks to determine whether overuse injury severity impacts QOL in recreational runners, and if self-efficacy mediates this relationship.

Design: Community-based prospective cohort study of 300 runners who had been running injury free for at least 5 miles/wk in the past 6 months.

Methods: Self-efficacy for running and QOL measures (Short Form-12 Physical Component and Mental Component, Satisfaction with Life, Positive Affect and Negative Affect) were assessed at baseline, time of injury, and follow-up visits. Over 2 years of observation, overuse injuries were diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon and injured runners were referred to a physical therapist.

Results: Injury severity was significantly (P < .01) related with 2 indices of QOL, such that the effect of injury severity was -2.28 units on the Short Form-12 physical component and -0.73 units on positive affect. Self-efficacy accounted for 19% and 48% of the indirect effects on Short Form-12 physical component and positive affect, respectively.

Conclusions: Since self-efficacy is a modifiable factor related to decreased QOL, these findings have important clinical implications for rehabilitation interventions.

Keywords: psychosocial assessment; running; social cognitive theory; well-being.

MeSH terms

  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Running*
  • Self Efficacy