1 JOURNAL OF SPORT & EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY, 1993,15, O 1993 Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc. Coping Skills, Competitive Trait Anxiety, and Playing Status: Moderating Effects on the Life Stress-Injury Relationship Trent A. Petrie University of North Texas This study prospectively investigated the effects of life stress, psychological coping skills, competitive trait anxiety, and playing status (starter vs. nonstarter) on injury in 158 NCAA Division I-A collegiate football players. Playing status moderated the influence of the psychosocial variables as predictors of athletic injury. For starters positive life stress, coping skills, and competitive trait anxiety accounted for 60% of the injury variance. In addition, competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of positive life stress such that increases in these variables were associated with increases in the number of days missed due to injury. No relationship between any of the psychosocial variables and injury emerged for nonstarters. Implications for future research are discussed with respect to the Andersen and Williams (1 988) theoretical model. Key words: athletic injury Research investigating the relationship of psychosocial adjustments to physical health and functioning was strongly influenced by the early work of Holmes and Rahe and their colleagues (Holmes & Rahe, 1967; Rahe & Holmes, 1965; Rahe, Meyer, Smith, Kjaer, & Holmes, 1964). Since this initial research, the relationship of psychosocial variables to psychological and physical health (e.g., depression, illness, injury) has been extensively studied in a variety of populations (e.g., Brown & Siegel, 1988; Monroe, Bromet, Connell, & Steiner, 1986; Sarason, Sarason, Potter, & Antoni, 1985; Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990; Wohlgemuth & Betz, 1991). Initial investigations in the sport domain examined the effects of life events stress on injury in high school and collegiate football populations (Bramwell, Masuda, Wagner, & Holmes, 1975; Coddington & Troxell, 1980; Cryan & Alles, 1983; Passer & Seese, 1983). For example, using the Social and Athletic Readjustment Rating Scale as the measure of life events stress, both Brarnwell et al. (1975) and Cryan and Alles (1983) found that injured college football Trent A. Petrie is with the Department of Psychology at the University of North Texas, P.O. Box 13587, Denton, TX
2 262 1 Petrie players reported higher levels of life stress than their uninjured counterparts. In addition, Bramwell et al. reported that 72% of the athletes in their "high-risk'' group (life stress scores >-800 for 1 year) suffered major time-loss injuries. Evidence demonstrating the negative effects of life stress in football populations accumulated, and researchers began to examine life stress-injury relationships in other athletic populations, such as adult runners (Schafer & McKenna, 1985), elite gymnasts (Kerr & Minden, 1988), physical education students (Lysens, Auweele, & Ostyn, 1986), and college track athletes (Hardy & Riehl, 1988). Although these studies indicated that life stress increases an athlete's vulnerability to injury, other investigations failed to find life stress-injury relationships for certain college sports, including volleyball (Williams, Tonymon, & Wadsworth, 1986), tennis, baseball, and softball (Hardy & Riehl, 1988). Although these earlier investigations generally established a negative relationship between life stress and injury, the results often were viewed with caution due to methodological or theoretical limitations. For example, Kerr and Minden (1988) employed a retrospective design and self-report measure of athletic injury, and Hardy and Riehl (1988) examined life stress-injury relationships but failed to consider the potential effects of other psychosocial variables, such as social support and coping resources. To address these and other limitations and to provide direction for future research, Andersen and Williams (1988) presented a dynamic, multidimensional stress-injury model that suggested that the simple, linear relationships defining earlier stress-injury methodologies were insufficient in explaining the differences in (a) athletes' responses to stress and (b) injury rates. Thus, one research direction suggested by this model would be to consider other psychosocial variables that might moderate the effects of life stress. That is, future research would need to determine which variables affect the direction andlor strength of life stress-injury relationships (cf., Baron & Kenny, 1986). Andersen and Williams (1988) specifically addressed the necessity of examining moderator variables in life stress-injury- research, suggesting that factors (e.g., competitive trait anxiety, hardiness, locus of control) and coping resource variables (e.g., social support, psychological coping skills) be considered. In addition, they emphasized the importance of (a) examining these potential moderator variables in prospective, as opposed to retrospective, research designs, and (b) incorporating objective, behavioral measures of athletic injury so that biases associated with self-report data would be minimized. Central to the Andersen and Williams (1988) model is the stress response, a bidirectional relationship between athletes' cognitive appraisals of demands, consequences, and resources and physiological and attentional changes. They suggested that the stress response mediated the relationship between the psychosocial variables and athletic injury. That is, the psychosocial variables would have a direct effect on the stress response, and only the stress response would directly influence injury susceptibility. Depending on the levels of the psychosocial variables, an athlete's stress response may be attenuated or exacerbated. For example, during a stressful athletic situation (e.g., competition, practice), athletes who had preexisting high levels of life stress and low levels of social support may appraise that situation as threatening or overwhelming and not believe that they have the ability to cope. Such appraisals would likely correspond to physiological (e.g., increases in muscle and autonomic activity) or attentional
3 Life Stress-Injury Relationship / 263 (e.g., peripheral narrowing) changes that would increase the athletes' susceptibility to injury. Although it is important to investigate athletes' stress responses directly, as Williams and her colleagues have done (Williams, Tonymon, & Andersen, 1990, 1991), it is also useful to continue longitudinal investigations concerning the effects of psychosocial variables on athletic injury. First, such investigations will help us determine the psychosocial variables involved in the etiology of injury, that is, those having direct and moderating effects on the stress response. Second, they may provide information useful in planning interventions to reduce athletes' risk of injury. For example, if low satisfaction with social support networks is related consistently to increases in injury susceptibility, sport psychologists may be able to assist athletes by helping them obtain more satisfying levels of social support. Such an intervention could be conducted without having to address the possible physiological or attentional changes during stress. With respect to the moderators suggested by Andersen and Williams (1988), coping resource variables have been identified as important because athletes' coping abilities appear to have direct bearing on their secondary cognitive appraisals of sporting situations. During acutely stressful situations, individuals initially make primary appraisals concerning the demands and consequences of the situation, labeling them as irrelevant, benign-positive, or stressful (Folkman, 1984). Subsequently, secondary appraisals evaluate the level of coping resources available to deal with the situation. These secondary appraisals are particularly relevant when the individual appraises a situation as stressful (Folkman, 1984). In response to the centrality of coping resources in the cognitive appraisal process (and thus the stress response), researchers have examined this variable within life stress-injury relationships (Blackwell & McCullagh, 1990; Hanson, McCullagh, & Tonymon, 1992; Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990; Smith, Ptacek, & Smoll, 1992; Williams et al., 1986). In their study of male and female high school athletes, Smith, Smoll, and Ptacek (1990) reported no direct relationship between psychological coping skills and athletic injury, but found that athletes evidenced the strongest stress-injury relationship under conditions of low coping skills and low social support with life stress accounting for 22% of the injury variance. Williams et al. (1986), however, found only a direct relationship between coping resources and injury, whereas Hanson et al. (1992) reported that athletes with higher levels of coping resources were less likely to suffer injury than those reporting lower levels. Although these studies have provided initial information concerning the relationship of coping resources to the life stress-injury relationship, additional research appears warranted to broaden our understanding of this important psychosocial variable. Defined as a tendency to perceive competitive situations as threatening and to respond with A-state (Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990), competitive trait anxiety is one of the personality variables suggested by Andersen and Williams (1988) that has been examined within the context of life stress-injury relationships (Blackwell & McCullagh, 1990; Hanson et al., 1992; Passer & Seese, 1983). For football players, Passer and Seese found that neither general nor competitive trait anxiety moderated the stress-injury relationships, with one exception. For the Division I1 players, negative life stress was related to injury for low-competitive trait anxious players. Blackwell and McCullagh, however, reported that competitive trait anxiety level differentiated those Division I-A football players who
4 264 / Petrie were severely injured, with high trait anxious players experiencing more injuries. In a more recent investigation, Hanson et al. reported that competitive trait anxiety weakly discriminated between level of injury severity, but was not related to injury frequency. Although direct effects were found in these two more recent studies, neither group of investigators examined whether competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of life stress. Thus, the question-what is the moderating potential of competitive trait anxiety?-has been addressed only in the Passer and Seese study. Given the equivocal results concerning the direct effects of competitive trait anxiety and given that its moderating effects were the subject of only one study, it appears that future research is warranted to further refine our understanding of how competitive trait anxiety may influence stress-injury relationships. As life stress-injury relationships appear to be sport and situation specific, and not immediately generalizable to all athletic environments, the need to investigate specific sports (e.g., football, track) individually to determine the direct and/or moderating effects of psychosocial variables on athletic injury appears warranted. Following the theoretical framework and suggestions proposed by Andersen and Williams (1988), the first purpose of this study was to determine the relationship of psychosocial variables to injury in collegiate football players, specifically, the direct and moderating effects of life stress, psychological coping skills, and competitive trait anxiety. Attempts have been made to strengthen generally weak (e.g., Bramwell et al., 1975) or, in some cases, nonexistent (e.g., Williams et al., 1986) stress-injury relationships. For example, researchers have divided their samples based on injury status (i.e., injured vs. uninjured; e.g., Blackwell & McCullagh, 1990), gender and sport (e.g., Hardy & Riehl, 1988), and predictor variable scores (e.g., Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990) with varying degrees of success in increasing the predictive validity of psychosocial variables. Recently, Petrie (1993) divided his sample on the basis of playing status (starting vs. nonstarting football players), and found a minimum 130% increase in the amount of injury variance explained by life stress and social support, even though no differences existed between starters and nonstarters in terms of number of injuries suffered or levels of the psychosocial variables. In other words, these psychosocial variables were more predictive of injury for the starters than for nonstarters, even though the athletes suffered similar numbers of injury and experienced similar levels of life stress and social support. Consistent with Andersen and Williams's (1988) theoretical model, Petrie (1993) suggested that the role of "starter" (with pressure to perform one's best during every competition) acted as a situational athletic stressor, and in combination with psychosocial variables, negatively affected the stress response, which subsequently increased the athlete's susceptibility to injury. Although this represented an important initial finding, the generalizability of the results were limited due to the size of the sample (N = 98; starters, n = 44). Thus, the second purpose of this study was to determine whether the results of Petrie's (1993) initial investigation could be replicated using a second, larger sample. That is, to what degree does playing status moderate the predictive utility of life stress, psychological coping skills, and competitive trait anxiety for athletic injury?
5 Subjects Method Life Stress-Injury Relationship / 265 The subjects represented two intact NCAA Division I-A football teams from large, midwestem public universities that had similar admissions standards for student athletes. Athletes who attended the first team meetings of the fall football season voluntarily participated in the study. Although an initial 100% participation rate was achieved, 19 athletes were later dropped from the final sample due to incomplete questionnaires. The mean age of the 158 subjects was 19.6 years (SD = 1.4); 96 (60.7%) identified themselves as Caucasian, 58 (36.7%) as African Americans, and 4 (2.6%) as Hispanic. In terms of academic rank, 55 (34.8%), 36 (22.8%), 35 (22.2%), 18 (11.4%), and 14 (8.8%) of the players were in their first, second, third, fourth, and fifth year of school, respectively. Ninetynine (62.7%) reported attending school on an athletic scholarship. Instrumentation Life Stress. The Life Events Survey for Collegiate Athletes (LESCA; Petrie, 1992), a 69-item life events survey, measures life events experienced during the preceding 12 months. Athletes indicate the event's impact at time occurrence on an 8-point Likert Scale (-4 = extremely negative to +4 = extremely positive). Example items include: "pressure to gainhose weight--due to sport participation," "major change in playing status on team," and "major change in the amount of academic activity." Two life stress scores, negative (NEG) and positive (POS), are obtained by summing across those life events rated by the athlete as either negative or positive. Petrie (1992) found test-retest reliabilities ranging from.76 to.84. He also provided evidence for the construct and criterion-related validity of the LESCA, reporting (a) correlations of.55 0, c.001) and.22 (p <.05) between the NEG and POS life-stress scores and the Social and Athletic Readjustment Rating Scale (SARRS; Bramwell et al., 1975), respectively, and (b) significant correlations between the NEG life-stress score and the criterion measure, injury, ranging from.25 to.33. These relatively low but significant correlations between the LESCA and SARRS suggest that, although the general construct of athlete life stress is being measured, the LESCA is tapping two specific aspects of that stress, negative and positive, which are not delineated by the SARRS. Trait Anxiety. The Sport Competition Anxiety Test-Adult (SCAT-A) is a 15-item questionnaire of which only 10 items are used to measure competitive trait anxiety in adults (Martens, 1977; Martens et al., 1990); 5 are spurious items included to reduce response bias. Individuals indicate on a 3-point scale, ranging from often to hardly ever, how they generally feel about competitive sport situations. Sample items include, "before I compete I am calm"; "before I compete I worry about not performing well"; and "before I compete I get a queasy feeling in my stomach." A total score is obtained by summing across the 10 scored items, and can range from 10 (low competitive trait anxiety) to 30 (high competitive trait anxiety). See Martens et al. (1990) for a comprehensive review of its psychometric properties.
6 266 / Petrie Psychological Coping Skills. The 42-item Athletic Coping Skills Inventory (ACSI) was used as the measure of psychological coping skills (Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990; Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1988). It provides information on athletes' perceived abilities to use three types of coping strategies (emotional, cognitive, and behavioral) within the sporting environment. Sample items include, "I remain positive and enthusiastic during competition, no matter how badly things are going"; "I take time before a game to mentally prepare myself"; and "when I feel myself getting too tense, I can quickly relax my body and calm myself." For this inventory, each item is scored on a 4-point Likert type scale, ranging from 0 (almost never) to 3 (almost always). The total score is obtained by summing across all items, and thus can range from 0 to 126. Smith, Smoll, and Ptacek (1990) reported a test-retest reliability of 38, and an internal consistency coefficient (Cronbach's alpha) of.90. Factor analysis indicated the presence of eight independent subscales (Preparation, Freedom From Worry, Positive Orientation, Resourcefulness, Coachability, Concentration, Stress Management, and Peaking Under Pressure) with Cronbach's alpha ranging from.64 to.81 (Smith et al., 1992). Following Smith, Smoll, and Ptacek's (1990) finding that the ACSI's full scale score moderated the stress-injury relationship, it was used to represent the athletes' levels of psychological coping skills. Demographic Data. The demographic data sheet consisted of questions concerning the athlete's age, year in school, racelethnic group, and scholarship status. Procedure Permission for football players to participate initially came from each university's athletic administration and later from the football coaching staffs. At each school's mandatory first team meeting of the fall season, the players voluntarily completed the LESCA, ACSI, SCAT-A, and demographic data sheet. Only athletes who were (a) academically and athletically eligible according to the NCAA's and the university's standards, (b) free from any time-loss injury or illness, and (c) medically cleared for practice participated in the study. Based on these criteria, no athlete was eliminated from the study. These criteria helped assure a noninjured initial sample and thus significantly reduced the possibility of confounding between initial measures of the psychosocial variables and subsequent injury outcome. At the completion of the season, the training staffs (who were blind to players' responses to the questionnaires) provided injury data on each player, including the number of days during which the athlete was unable to participate fully in practice due to each injury and the number of games in which the athlete was unable to compete due to each injury. For this investigation, injury was defined as a physicallmedical problem resulting from sport participation that required missing at least one day of practice or competition (cf. Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990). Consistent with previous research (Hardy & Riehl, 1988; Passer & Seese, 1983), time loss was the injury outcome measure, defined as the total number of days the athlete was unable to participate in practice or competition due to injury. Design and Analysis Multiple hierarchical regression determined the independent and combined effects of the psychosocial variables-life stress, psychological coping skills, and
7 Life Stress-Injury Relationship / 267 competitive trait anxiety--on athletic injury. Specifically, the partial increments in R2 associated with the inclusion of each variable into the regression models was used to identify the direct and moderating effects of the psychosocial variables (Cohen & Cohen, 1983). Consistent with previous research (Blackwell & McCullagh, 1990; Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990), the effects of negative and positive life stress on athletic injury were examined independently. The order of variable entry into each regression model followed the general guidelines set forth by Wheeler and Frank (1988): (a) stress measure, (b) moderator(s), (c) Stress x Moderator interaction(s). Thus, the two independent regression models used to examine the injury outcome were as follows: Model 1: NEG life stress, coping skills, competitive trait anxiety, Stress x Coping, Stress x Anxiety, Stress x Coping x Anxiety Model 2: POS life stress, coping skills, competitive trait anxiety, Stress x Coping, Stress x Anxiety, Stress x Coping x Anxiety Although the Andersen and Williams (1988) model does not distinguish between coping resources and personality variables in terms of their relative levels of importance or effects on life stress, Hanson et al.'s (1992) results suggest that coping resources may be the stronger predictor of athletic injury. Thus, the coping skills variable was the first of the two moderators to be entered into each model.' Also, with any multiple regression analysis, the issue of multicollinearity needs consideration (Cohen & Cohen, 1983). In this study, the correlations among the variables in the regression models were all small, and the majority were nonsignificant (only 4 of 10 correlations were significant, and these were -21, -.21, -26, and -.35). Thus, multicollinearity was not an issue in the analyses. To address the second purpose of this investigation-determining whether athletes' playing status moderated the utility of the psychosocial variables as predictors of athletic injury-the sample was divided into two groups, starters (n = 58) and nonstarters (n = loo), and the regression models described above were tested independently with each group. Coaching staffs determined the athletes' playing status while unaware of their predictor variable scores. The coaches used position on depth charts (i.e., first or second team) and amount of time played in competition to determine playing status. Starters were athletes from the first or second level of the depth chart who played approximately 50% of the time across the entire season (see also Petrie, 1993). Although several variables comprise each model, power analysis suggested that even with only 58 subjects in the starter group, the power level would exceed at least.75 (see Cohen & Cohen, 1983). Results Table 1 presents means, standard deviations, and ranges for the predictor and criterion measures. For life stress, athletes experienced higher levels of negative rather than positive during the preceding year, t(157) = 4.09, p < In comparison to normative data provided by Martens et al. (1990), this sample reported an average level of competitive trait anxiety. In terms of injury, the average player missed 5 days of practice/competition. To address the first question of the study, the entire sample was used to test the two regression models (see Table 2). For Model 1, no significant relationships emerged. In other words, the psychosocial variables did not predict the injury
8 268 / Petrie Table 1 Means, Standard Deviations, and Ranges of the Predictor and Criterion Variables for Full Team (N = 158), Starters (n = 58), and Nonstarters (n = 100) Variables M SD Range Age Full team Starters Nonstarters Negative life stess Full team Starters Nonstarters Positive life stress Full team Starters Nonstarters Psychological coping skills Full team Starters Nonstarters Competitive trait anxiety Full team Starters Nonstarters Time loss Full team Starters Nonstarters Note. Comparisons were between starters and nonstarters. *p <.05. **p <.01. outcome measure, explaining only 3%, F(6, 151) =.79, n.s., of the time-loss variance. For Model 2, however, the full model reached significance, accounting for 8%, F(6, 151) = 2.19, p <.05, of the time-loss variance. In addition, the Anxiety x Stress interaction term reached significance for time loss, F(l, 152) = 9.1, p <.01. This finding suggests that competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of positive life stress, such that higher levels of anxiety and stress were associated with more days missed due to injury. To investigate the study's second purpose, the sample was divided into starters (n = 58) and nonstarters (n = 100) based on coaching staff groupings. Prior to calculating the regression equations, however, the two groups were compared to determine whether any differences existed on the predictor and criterion variables. A multivariate ANOVA demonstrated that differences existed
9 Table 2 Life Stress-Injury Relationship / 269 Hierarchical Multiple Regression of the Psychosocial Predictors on Time toss for the Full Team (N = 158) Criterion measure1 Full model variables entered Re F P beta KQa Fb Model 1 NEG COPE SCAT NEG x COPE NEG x SCAT NEG x COPE x SCAT Model 2 POS COPE SCAT POS x COPE POS x SCAT POS x COPE x SCAT apartiat increment in associated with each predictor. bfvalue for the partial increment in # associated with the inclusion of each predictor variable into the model. 'p <.01. between starters and nonstarters, Wilks's lambda =.86, F(6, 151) = 4.02, p <.001. Subsequent univariate ANOVAs and Tukey analyses revealed that the starters were older, experienced more positive life stress during the preceding year, and reported higher levels of psychological coping skills than did the nonstarters (see Table 1). To determine whether playing status moderated the utility of the psychosocial variables as predictors of time loss, the regression models used with the full sample were tested independently for starting and nonstarting groups. For the nonstarters, no significant relationships emerged for either model. For the starters, the results of the regression analyses paralleled those found with the full team. Model 1 was not significant, accounting for 18%, F(6, 51) = 1.91, n.s., of the time loss variance. Model 2, however, reached significance, explaining 60% (adjusted R2 =.55) of the variance. In addition, the partial increment in R2 associated with the Model 2 Stress x Anxiety interaction term reached significance. This finding indicates that competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of positive life stress such that higher levels of positive life stress and competitive trait anxiety were associated with increases in the number of days missed due to injury (see Table 3 for starters' regression analyses with Model 2). Discussion The results of this investigation are consistent with past research that has shown life stress and other psychosocial variables to be predictive of athletic
10 270 / Petrie Table 3 Model 2 Hierarchical Multiple Regression of the Psychosocial Predictors on Time Loss for Starters (n = 58) Criterion measure1 Full model variables entered # F P beta FP" Fb POS COPE SCAT * POS x COPE POS x SCAT ' POS x COPE x SCAT apartial increment in # associated with each predictor. b~value for the partial increment in # associated with the inclusion of each predictor variable into the model. *p <.005. injury (Blackwell & McCullagh, 1990; Hanson et al., 1992; Petrie, 1992; Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990). Somewhat surprising, however, were the relative effects of negative and positive life stress. In this study, the set of psychosocial variables that included negative life stress (Model 1) was not related to time loss. The set including positive life stress (Model 2), however, was related to time loss, accounting for 8% of the injury variance for the full team, and 60% for the starters. Although most stress-injury research has focused on both positive and negative life stress, it generally has been found that the negatively appraised life events are what place athletes at risk for injury (e.g., Hardy & Riehl, 1988; Passer & Seese, 1983; Smith et al., 1992; Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990). Recent research by McCullagh and her colleagues (Blackwell & McCullagh, 1990; Hanson et a]., 1992), however, has demonstrated that positive life stress also can be related to athletic injury. Life events such as "major change in level of responsibility on team" or "receiving an athletic scholarship" that initially are rated as positive by athletes, may, in the future, produce considerable stress (e.g., the athlete who receives an athletic scholarship may feel high levels of pressure to perform well, or feel overly responsible for the team's performances; cf. Blackwell & McCullagh, 1990). These changes are likely to influence negatively the athletes' cognitive appraisals of athletic situations, and thus increase their risk of injury. The findings from this study support the notion that positive life stress can have a deleterious effect on athletic injury outcome. For the full team, positive life stress, coping skills, and competitive trait anxiety accounted for only 8% of the injury variance. Although statistically significant, the practical value is questionable. When playing status is considered, however, these psychosocial variables accounted for 60% of the injury variance for the starters. Although these results corroborate and extend Petrie's (1993) initial findings, the moderating effects of playing status in this study require cautious interpretation, given that initial differences did exist between the starters and nonstarters on positive life stress and coping skills. It may be that the stronger
11 Life Stress-Injury Relationship / 271 stress-injury relationship found with the starters was simply due to their having experienced more positive life stress than nonstarters. Although this explanation may be true for the effects of positive life stress, it would not appear to hold for coping skills (i.e., starters reported higher levels of coping skills, although neither group evidenced any relationship between coping skills and injury) or competitive trait anxiety (i.e., the two groups did not differ on their reported levels of competitive trait anxiety, although this variable moderated the effects of positive life stress for the starters). In addition, the differential effects of the psychosocial variables occurred despite the starters and nonstarters' not differing on number of days missed due to injury. Even though playing status seems to be a significant contributor to injury outcome, additional research needs to test these effects with female athletes and with male s~ort teams other than football. With respect to the coping resource variable under investigation, psychological coping skills did not moderate any stress-injury relationship, nor were they directly related to the injury outcome. These findings are inconsistent with past research that reported both direct and moderating effects for coping resources (Hanson et al., 1992; Smith, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1990; Williams et al., 1986). There are. however. two maior differences between these studies and the current investigation. First, both studies employed the same measure of coping skills, but Smith, Smoll, and Ptacek (1990) examined injury within a sample of high school athletes from a variety of sports, whereas only collegiate football players participated in the current investigation. As past research suggests that the effects of life stress differ from sport to sport (e.g., Hardy & Riehl, 1988; Williams et al., 1986), it is not surprising to find such differences across age groups (high school vs. college) or sport teams (mixed sports vs. football) for this psychosocial variable too. Second, although Hanson et al. (1992) and Williams et al. (1986) both examined collegiate athletes, they used a different measure of coping. In terms of Folkman's (1984) distinction concerning types of coping resources, the studies by Hanson et al. and Williams et al. seemed to focus on physical and social resources, whereas the current investigation primarily measured individuals' psychological resources. It may be that physical and social resources are more relevant to collegiate athletes than psychological resources in coping and, thus, have a stronger influence in the etiology of injury. These differences make direct comparisons between past research and the current study difficult. What can be stated, however, is that to clarify the role of coping resources in predicting injury, research will need to simultaneously examine different measures of coping in a variety of athletic populations (e.g., high school vs. collegiate athletes, male vs. female athletes, football players vs. gymnasts). For the personality variable under investigation, moderating effects were uncovered. With the starters and full team, competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of positive life stress such that increases in these variables were associated with increases in the number of days missed due to injury. These findings, in conjunction with past research (e.g., Blackwell & McCullagh, 1990; Hanson et al., 1992), support the contention that precompetition trait anxiety is an important variable to consider for understanding life stress-injury relationships. Although the SCAT provides a unitary measure of competitive trait anxiety (focusing primarily on somatic arousal), contemporary researchers have suggested that competitive trait anxiety really is a multidimensional construct (see Weinberg,
12 272 / Petrie 1990, for a detailed review), and have distinguished between cognitive and somatic subtypes. In addition, Smith, Smoll, and Schutz (1990), noted that cognitive and somatic anxiety appear to affect performance differently, depending on the type of task. Thus, one direction for future research that would extend current stress-injury studies, would be to use multidimensional measures of competitive trait anxiety (e.g., Sport Anxiety Scale; Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990). Such an approach would allow researchers to determine how the various types of anxiety affect athletes' risk of injury. That is, are athletes' initial levels of trait anxiety predictive of the type of physiological or attentional disturbances that they might experience? Would athletes who report high levels of cognitive and low levels of somatic trait anxiety be more likely to experience attentional disruptions than athletes who are low cognitive and high somatic? Understanding the relationship of initial levels of trait anxiety to subsequent physiological and attentional responses will allow sport psychologists to target interventions more effectively and thus reduce athletes' vulnerability to injury. How is it that psychosocial variables place some athletes at greater risk to injury than others? As mentioned previously, Andersen and Williams (1988) indicated that the psychosocial variables affected the athlete's stress response, and it was this response that was directly related to injury. In addition, they indicated that situational athletic stressors influence the stress response. In the current study, the potentially stressful situation of being a starter, in combination with higher levels of positive life stress and competitive trait anxiety, may have negatively influenced these athletes' appraisals such that they either viewed practices and competitions as threatening/uncontrollable or believed they did not have the resources to cope. Such appraisals may have corresponded with attentional and physiological disruptions that would have increased the starters' vulnerability to injury. Even though starters and nonstarters did not differ in the number of days missed due to injury, it appears that being a starter, in conjunction with high levels of the psychosocial variables which may negatively affect the appraisal process, places them at greater risk for injury. Although this study supported the importance of considering multiple psychosocial variables, as suggested by Andersen and Williams (1988), additional research is needed to delineate which variables are related to injury and in which athletic populations these relationships exist. Specifically, it will be useful (a) to examine as many of the psychosocial variables proposed by Andersen and Williams (1988) as possible and obtain multiple measures of these variables across an entire athletic season, and (b) to directly investigate athletes' stress response relationships to existing levels of psychosocial variables. Pursuing these directions will likely increase our understanding of the risk factors associated with athletic injury and, thus, assist us in determining the most effective interventions for minimizing an athlete's vulnerability to injury. References Andersen, M.B., & Williams, J.M. (1988). A model of stress and athletic injury: Prediction and prevention. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 10, Baron, R.M., & Kenny, D.A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51,
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14 274 / Petrie Smith, R.E., Ptacek, J.T., & Smoll, F.L. (1992). Sensation seeking, stress, and adolescent injuries: A test of stress-buffering, risk-taking, and coping skills hypotheses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.L., & Ptacek, J.T. (1990). Conjunctive moderator variables in vulnerability and resiliency research: Life stress, social support, and coping skills and adolescent sport injuries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.L., & Schutz, R. (1988). The Athletic Coping Skills Inventory: Psychometric properties, correlates and confirmatory factor analysis. Unpublished manuscript, University of Washington. Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.L., & Schutz, R. (1990). Measurement and correlates of sport-specific cognitive and somatic trait anxiety: The sport anxiety scale. Anxiety Research, 2, Weinberg, R.S. (1990). Anxiety and motor performance: Where to from here? Anxiety Research, 2, Williams, J.M., Tonymon, P., & Andersen, M.B. (1990). Effects of life-event stress on anxiety and peripheral narrowing. Behavioral Medicine, 16, Williams, J.M., Tonymon, P., & Andersen, M.B. (1991). The effects of stressors and coping resources on anxiety and peripheral narrowing. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 3, Williams, J.M., Tonymon, P., & Wadsworth, W.A. (1986). Relationship of life stress to injury in intercollegiate volleyball. Journal of Human Stress, 12, Wohlgemuth, E., & Betz, N.E. (1991). Gender as a moderator of the relationship of stress and social support to physical health in college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38, Note 'Although there appeared to be some empirical basis for the order in which the moderators were entered into each regression model, additional regression analyses switched the order of the moderators and their respective interactions. This switch in order produced no change in the RZ associated with the entry of each variable or in the total R2 associated with each model regardless of the group (i.e., full team vs. starters vs. nonstarters). Acknowledgments This research project was funded by grants from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the University of North Texas. I would like to thank Tonya,Foster and Richard Finn for their assistance in the coordination and collection of data,'i would also like to thank Britt Brewer, Penny McCullagh, Mark Andersen, and two anonymous reviewers for their astute comments concerning this paper. Manuscript submitted: November 19, 1992 Revision received: April 2, 1993