Injury Representations, Coping, Emotions, and Functional Outcomes in Athletes With Sports-Related Injuries: A Test of Self-Regulation Theory1


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    The authors thank Dan Aldis, Paul Cubitt, Katy Green, Helene Marshall, Joanna Phanis, and Ayesha Shivji for their help with data collection.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Martin Hagger, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom. E-mail:


This study examined the influence of injury representations on emotions and outcomes of athletes with sports-related musculoskeletal injuries using self-regulation theory. Participants were athletes (N= 220; M age = 23.44 years, SD= 8.42) with a current sports-related musculoskeletal injury. Participants self-reported their cognitive and emotional injury representations, emotions coping procedures, physical and sports functioning, attendance at treatment centers, and 3-week follow-up attendance. Participants’ negative and positive affect were influenced by emotional representations. Identity, causal attributions, and emotional representations influenced physical functioning; and identity, serious consequences, causal attributions, and emotional representations predicted sports functioning. Injury severity, identity, and personal control predicted attendance at treatment centers, but the effect of personal control was mediated by problem-focused coping. Problem-focused coping predicted 3-week follow-up attendance. Results support self-regulation theory for examining injury representations in athletes.