BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE
Psychosocial factors including stress, anxiety and negative life events have long been thought of as potential risk factors for developing a sports injury. A model of stress and injury was proposed in the 80’s and research since then has confirmed the connection between psychosocial factors and injury, demonstrating that they may also play a key role in rehab and return to sport. Psychological interventions designed to address these factors may help to reduce injury risk. This systematic review examines the real-world effectiveness of such interventions for preventing sports injuries.
A standardised search procedure identified 14 studies that met the following eligibility criteria; Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT)/ Non-RCT with comparison group or before and after study with qualitative methods; and specific psychological intervention used in relation to injury prevention. These studies included a total of 1380 athletes with an age range of 10 to 33 years who were involved in a variety of sports. There were 9 RCTs, 3 quantitative non-randomised trials and one quantitative descriptive study. A Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool was used to rigorously appraise the included studies and assess risk of bias.
Stress management and relaxation were the most common interventions and included imagery, goal setting, mindfulness, self-talk and breathing techniques alongside a selection of other methods. 13 out of 14 studies reported positive effects from the interventions with fewer injuries and/or