Psychosocial factors associated with outcomes of sports injury rehabilitation in competitive athletes: a mixed studies systematic review

Dale Forsdyke, Andy Smith, Michelle Jones, Adam Gledhill

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Background The prime focus of research on sports injury has been on physical factors. This is despite our understanding that when an athlete sustains an injury it has psychosocial as well as physical impacts. Psychosocial factors have been suggested as prognostic influences on the outcomes of rehabilitation. The aim of this work was to address the question: are psychosocial factors associated with sports injury rehabilitation outcomes in competitive athletes?

    Study design Mixed studies systematic review (PROSPERO reg.CRD42014008667).

    Method Electronic database and bibliographic searching was undertaken from the earliest entry until 1 June 2015. Studies that included injured competitive athletes, psychosocial factors and a sports injury rehabilitation outcome were reviewed by the authors. A quality appraisal of the studies was undertaken to establish the risk of reporting bias.

    Results 25 studies were evaluated that included 942 injured competitive athletes were appraised and synthesised. Twenty studies had not been included in previous reviews. The mean methodological quality of the studies was 59% (moderate risk of reporting bias). Convergent thematic analysis uncovered three core themes across the studies: (1) emotion associated with rehabilitation outcomes; (2) cognitions associated with rehabilitation outcomes; and (3) behaviours associated with rehabilitation outcomes. Injury and performance-related fears, anxiety and confidence were associated with rehabilitation outcomes. There is gender-related, age-related and injury-related bias in the reviewed literature.

    Conclusions Psychosocial factors were associated with a range of sports injury rehabilitation outcomes. Practitioners need to recognise that an injured athlete's thoughts, feelings and actions may influence the outcome of rehabilitation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)537-544
    Number of pages8
    JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'Psychosocial factors associated with outcomes of sports injury rehabilitation in competitive athletes: a mixed studies systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this