Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Sports--Wounds and injuries--Psychological aspects; Wrestling--Wounds and injuries--Psychological aspects; Stress (Psychology);


Researchers have been interested in the effect of life stress on athletic injuries for quite some time. Most researchers have shown a definite influence of life stress on injuries in team contact sports. On the other hand investigations dealing with non-contact team or individual sports have reported conflicting results. No research, however, has been done on individual contact sports in relation to the effect of life stress on athletic injury. The present investigation examined the effect of life stress on athletic injuries in two Division I wrestling teams during their respective seasons. The Social Athletic Readjustment Rating Scale (SARRS) was used to quantify stress perception and the National Athletic Injury/Illness Reporting System (NAIRS) was used to classify injuries. The research design was quasi-experimental (ex post facto). The subjects (N = 59) were intercollegiate wrestlers at the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University. Injury abstracts and daily logs were kept by the athletic trainers of both universities. The severity of each injury was determined at the end of the season using the NAIRS. Athletes were divided into high and low stress groups based on their scores on the SARRS. Statistical analysis showed that the stress scores of the injured athletes were significantly higher than the stress scores of the non-injured athletes. Furthermore, the high stress group experienced more frequent injuries than the low stress group. Moreover, while not statistically significant, the high stress group suffered the most severe injuries.

The results of this investigation supported previous studies done with football players. Although the present study did not show a cause and effect relationship between life stress and injury, it underscores the need for the implementation of stress reduction programs for athletes in contact sports. Furthermore, it underscores the need for correlational studies to clearly establish a significant relationship between life stress and athletic injuries. If such a relationship does exist it will underline the notion of stress as a predisposing factor of injuries. Further research in this field should also examine the effect of stress on athletic injuries among contact sport teams which receive stress counseling for high risk individuals and teams which do not have access to stress reduction programs.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Sharon Huddleston

Second Advisor

Susann Doody

Third Advisor

Jane Richards


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Date Original


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