An investigation of osteopaths’ attitudes and self-reported practices towards psychosocial content in sports-injury rehabilitation
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Citation:Ferguson, S. (2021). An investigation of osteopaths’ attitudes and self-reported practices towards psychosocial content in sports-injury rehabilitation. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5371
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5371
BACKGROUND: Psychosocial strategies may be useful in sports-injury rehabilitation by positively influencing rehabilitation outcomes. While there has been some investigation into the use of psychosocial strategies by physiotherapists and athletic trainers, there is no research concerning the views and practices of osteopaths in the area of psychosocial content. OBJECTIVE: To examine osteopaths’ attitudes and self-reported practices towards psychosocial content in sports-injury rehabilitation via an adaption of the Athletic Trainer and Sport Psychology Questionnaire (ATSPQ). METHODS: An online cross-sectional survey using an adapted version of the ATSPQ was used. All respondents were registered osteopaths who have at least two years’ experience, from the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand. Descriptive analyses of the data were undertaken. RESULTS: A total of 66 participants (36 male, 30 female) were included. Almost all participants (98.5%) reported that athletes were negatively psychologically affected due to their sports-injury, with the top three negative psychological responses post-injury reported as ‘stress or anxiety’, ‘treatment compliance problems’, and ‘exercise addiction’. Having a positive attitude/optimism was identified as the top characteristic of injured athletes who cope successfully with injury. Poor compliance was identified as the top characteristic of injured athletes who do not cope successfully with injury. The top four psychosocial strategies used in management were ‘encouraging positive self-thoughts’, ‘encouraging effective communication skills’, ‘using short-term goals’, and ‘enhancing self-confidence’. The top three rated psychosocial strategies osteopaths deem important to learn more about were ‘using short-term goals’, ‘reducing stress or anxiety’, and ‘encouraging effective communication skills’. Of the sample, 53 osteopaths (80.3%) indicated that they have no access to an accredited sport psychologist. However, 19 osteopaths (28.8%) make referrals to counselling services, with the average number of referrals per annum being 0.48. A further 61 osteopaths (92.4%) do not have a written procedure for referrals. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that osteopaths believe injured athletes are affected psychologically. Associations found between psychosocial responses, behaviours and rehabilitation outcomes, suggest that osteopaths need to be identifying and providing psychosocial support to injured athletes. This study suggests that osteopaths desire to increase their current knowledge and understanding of psychosocial intervention use, therefore, osteopaths may benefit from further education and support in this area. Further research involving larger sample sizes should be undertaken to validate the present findings.