An examination of hardiness and stress-related growth following sport injury

  • Jade Salim

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis examined hardiness, coping and stress-related growth (SRG) following sport injury. Study 1 examined the relationship between hardiness and SRG. The data were analyzed using Pearson product-moment correlations and Preacher’s and Hayes’s (2008) bootstrapping procedure. Findings revealed a significant positive relationship between hardiness and perceived SRG, and two strategies were found to mediate this relationship: emotional support and positive reframing. That is, the reason why athletes higher in hardiness had higher SRG scores was because they reported greater use of their social support for emotional reasons (e.g., moral support, sympathy or understanding) and were able to construe their injury in positive terms. Despite these significant findings and their important contribution to research, the data is limited due to its quantitative nature. Therefore, Study 2 aimed to enhance the interpretability and meaningfulness of the findings from Study 1. Specifically, Study 2 aimed to explain how injured athletes high in hardiness promoted stress-related growth (SRG) and why athletes low in hardiness were less likely to derive such benefits. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and transcribed, which were then analyzed and displayed using composite sequence analysis. Findings revealed that athletes high in hardiness experienced SRG through four mechanisms: (a) emotional outlet, (b) positive reframing, (c) positive affect, and (d) investing in resources. In contrast, athletes low in hardiness had no emotional outlet, which led to a number of sub-optimal outcomes. This study observed the importance of emotional disclosure during one’s recovery from injury. Informed by the findings from Study 1 and 2, Study 3a and 3b aimed to evaluate an emotional disclosure intervention with injured athletes low in hardiness. The intervention was for four weeks, and included a four week follow-up and a three month social validation interview. The intervention consistent of three groups: a written-disclosure group (WD Group), verbal-disclosure group (VD Group), and the Control Group (C Group). The quantitative data were analyzed using repeated measures AVOVA and MAVOVA, and the qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings revealed the VD Group experienced significantly more SRG than the control group. This finding was explained from the VD Group fully disclosing their thoughts and feelings, and having sufficient time to restructure their stories. Both the WD and VD Groups recalled writing and talking to be a cathartic process; however, they did not report as many desirable outcomes as the VD Group. In conclusion, this thesis has achieved its purpose, and has made a significant contribution to research in a number of ways. From a theoretical perspective, it supported and extended a number of theories and models including the Wiese-Bjornstal et al.’s (1998) integrated model of responses to sport injury, the Organismic Valuing Theory (Joseph & Linley, 2005), and broaden-and-build-theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2013). This thesis also had an empirical impact, as it integrated two lines of which have examined hardiness or SRG following injury, extended research by directly examining the relationship between hardiness and SRG and the coping strategies that mediate this relationship. This thesis not only supported previous hardiness research but also supported and extended research within the growth and sport injury literature, as well as disclosure research within in a sporting and non-sporting context. Finally, from an applied perspective, it emphasizes that practitioners who work with injured athletes may not only have an important role in preventing and/or repairing the negative consequences of injury, but also in terms of enabling them to experience SRG.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorCeri Diss (Supervisor) & Ross Wadey (Supervisor)

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