Title

Athletic Trainers’ and Physical Therapists’ Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Psychological Skills Within Sport Injury Rehabilitation Programs

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Abstract

Context: Psychological skills are alleged to augment sport-injury rehabilitation; however, implementation of mental imagery within rehabilitation programs is limited.

Objective: To examine attitudes of athletic trainers (ATs) and physical therapists (PTs) on the effectiveness of mental imagery, goal setting, and positive self-talk to improve rehabilitation adherence and recovery speed of injured athletes.

Design: The ATs and PTs were contacted via electronic or physical mailings to complete a single administration survey that measured their beliefs about the effectiveness of psychological skills for increasing adherence and recovery speed of injured athletes undergoing rehabilitation.

Setting: Professional member databases of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American Physical Therapy Association.

Patients or Other Participants: Of the 1000 ATs and 1000 PTs who were selected randomly, 309 ATs (age 5 34.18 6 8.32 years, years in profession 5 10.67 6 7.34) and 356 PTs (age 5 38.58 6 7.51 years, years in profession 5 13.18 6 6.17) responded.

Main Outcome Measure(s): The Attitudes About Imagery (AAI) survey measures attitudes about psychological skills for enhancing adherence and recovery speed of injured athletes. The AAI includes demographic questions and 15 items on a 7-point Likert scale measuring attitudes about the effectiveness of mental imagery, self-talk, goal setting, and pain control on rehabilitation adherence and recovery speed of injured athletes. Test-retest reliability ranged from .60 to .84 and Cronbach as ranged from .65 to .90. We calculated 1-way analyses of variance to determine whether differences existed in attitudes as a result of the professionals’ education, training experience, and interest.

Results: Mean differences were found on attitudes about effectiveness of psychological skills for those who reported formal training and those who reported interest in receiving formal training (P , .05). In addition, ATs held more positive attitudes than PTs on 9 of 15 AAI items (P , .05).

Conclusions: Overall, ATs and PTs held positive attitudes on the effectiveness of psychological skills to augment the rehabilitation process. Clinical implications regarding the use of mental skills are discussed.

Comments

Interprofessional collaboration was engaged on this investigation.

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