Productive or Positive? Exploring the Antecedents of Stress-related Growth Following Sport-injury

Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Jamie Shapiro

Second Advisor

Emily Cabano


Sport, Injury, Flexibility


Injury is an inexorable consequence within the domain of sport and performance that can lead to numerous negative psychological responses (Reese, Pittsinger, & Yang, 2012). While previous research has heavily concentrated on negative experiences following injury, focus has recently shifted towards more adaptive outcomes (Salim, Wadey, & Diss, 2015). The phenomena of stress-related growth (SRG) refers to perceived positive changes following adversity that propel an individual to a higher level of functioning (Carver, 1998). The antecedents of SRG are still unclear, therefore the primary objective of this study was to elucidate the mechanisms underpinning the manifestation of SRG following sport injury. The authors specifically explored the relationship between psychological flexibility and SRG, and whether variables such as mindful attention-awareness, anxiety, and self-efficacy would mediate this relationship. Participants were 146 athletes who completed measures of psychological flexibility, mindful attention-awareness, sport injury anxiety, self-efficacy to avoid injury, and stress-related growth. Pearson product-moment correlations revealed significant relationships between psychological flexibility and mindful attention-awareness, sport injury anxiety, and self-efficacy to avoid injury respectively. A significant positive relationship was also observed between sport injury anxiety and SRG. A regression analysis and bootstrapping mediation analysis were employed to investigate the mediating variables, revealing a significant indirect effect of psychological flexibility on SRG through sport injury anxiety. The results indicated that shifting a focus to the development of psychological flexibility within injured athletes could be more efficient in addressing a broader spectrum of subsequent psychological decrements. In addition, the results suggest that allowing athletes to fully immerse themselves in their negative emotions for an amount of time (i.e., acknowledging anxiety exists), may be conducive to facilitating SRG.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


52 pages

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