Predicting injury risk in adolescent football players: the importance of psychological variables

J Pediatr Psychol. 1994 Aug;19(4):415-29. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/19.4.415.


Explored the relationship of anger/aggression, attention, and stressful life events to injury while addressing the methodological limitations of prior studies. An additional objective was to determine whether the relationship of stressful life events to injury is mediated either by anger (directed either inward or outward) or by impaired attention, either vigilant (broad, external) or focused (narrow, internal). At the beginning of summer practice, 120 first-string high school football players completed measures of anger (Framingham Anger Scale), vigilant attention (Symbol Digit Modalities test), focused attention (Pursuit subtest, MacQuarrie Test of Mechanical Ability), and stressful life events (abbreviated form of the Social Readjustment Rating Scale as modified for use with adolescents by Coddington, 1972). Players were then followed through one season to identify those injured. Logistic regression indicated that high anger directed outward (p < .05) and low focused attention (p < .01) increased injury risk, while stressful life events and vigilant attention interacted. Injury risk was elevated when recent stress was present (p < .05), and increased as vigilance decreased, suggesting that stressful life events elevate injury risk by reducing vigilance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression
  • Attention
  • Football*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Risk Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries*