A recent study featured in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at the psychology of sports injuries and found some interesting traits linked with a high risk of sport injuries. The researchers followed forty-seven former athletes who were training to become Cirque du Soleil performers. The athletes completed the REST-Q questionnaire (which looks at feelings of stress, competence, preparedness and general mood) at the beginning of their four month training camp.
Low Self-efficacy Increases Risk of Sports Injuries
More than half of the athletes sustained an injury during the training and when the researchers looked at the data they found that the injured athletes showed the same psychological characteristics that are considered risk factors for injury in the general population. And of those, low self-efficacy seems to have the strongest relationship with sustaining sports injuries.
Self-efficacy refers to the general feeling that you are capable of performing the task at hand and have strong self-confidence in your abilities. Athletes who had low self-efficacy scores on the questionnaire were almost twice as likely to be injured as those who had scored high on that measure.
These findings are important for athletes, trainers and coaches, because interventions designed to prevent sports injuries should be tailored to an athlete's confidence and perception of his or her abilities and not just focused on developing more sports skills.
What do you think? If you've been injured during sports, do you think a lack of confidence in your abilities had something to do with it?
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Shrier, I. and Hallé, M. Psychological predictors of injuries in circus artists: an exploratory study. [http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/45/5/433.abstract]. Br J Sports Med 2011;45:433-436