Presentation Title

Isolation, Athletic Identity, and Social Support: An Exploration Among Injured Collegiate Student-Athletes

Document Type


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Abstract or Description

Poster presented at the Southeast Regional Conference of the American Association of Sport Psychology

Season-ending and career-ending injuries make up a large portion of all injuries (Roos et al., 2015; Tirabassi et al., 2016). As the seriousness of injury increases, so do both physical and psychological consequences. Physical consequences of injury have been studied extensively (Ruddock-Hudson, O’Halloran, & Murphy, 2011; Scherzer et al., 2001). However, psychological consequences have also been consistently identified as being present following an injury (Arvinen-Barrow, Hurley, & Ruiz, 2017; Gould et al., 1997a; Ruddock-Hudson et al., 2012; Ruddock-Hudson et al., 2014; Wiese-Bjornstal et al., 1998). Among psychological consequences, isolation is a social consequence that has been identified as occurring after injury, particularly when the injury is season or career-ending (Gould et al., 1997). Isolation is related to loss of identity for an athlete, especially when an athlete has an extended period of time loss, such as a season or career-ending injury (Mankand et al., 2009). Additionally, low levels of social support has been shown to increase feelings of isolation in injured athletes (Mitchell et al., 2014). Previous literature has taken a broad approach on studying psychological responses to injury. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to examine isolation in greater depth. Specifically, the questions of interest are (a) what is the nature and experience of isolation and (b) how does the experience of isolation relate to that of athletic identity and social support. To answer these questions, the present study will utilize a general interpretive qualitative methodology in order to gain an understanding of injured athletes’ personal experiences with isolation, athletic identity, and social support. A minimum of 5 student-athletes will be recruited from a division I university in the Southeastern United States. These student-athletes will complete an interview lasting a maximum of 45 minutes conducted by the primary researcher. Interviews will be transcribed, coded, and themes will be derived.


Southeast Regional Conference of the American Association of Sport Psychology


Statesboro, GA