Publication Date

Summer 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Ted M. Butryn


coping, injury, social class, socioeconomic status, sport, stress

Subject Areas

Kinesiology; Psychology


Injuries inevitably occur in any sport at any level. The integrated sport injury model is one of the most extensive frameworks to address the psychological responses to athletic injury. While this model posits that socioeconomic status (SES) influences how an athlete cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally responds to an injury, no research has substantiated this claim. Low SES individuals experience an exceptional amount of stress, which may complicate how they cope with a negative event. The coping strategies employed by an athlete can have major implications on rehabilitation adherence, recovery time, and psychosocial well-being. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively examine the experiences of low-to-middle SES athletes coping with injury. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I athletes who had sustained recent injuries that lasted at least four weeks. A thematic data analysis produced 73 raw data themes and 16 higher-order themes, which were organized into five general dimensions: cognitive appraisals, emotional reactions, problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping, and avoidance coping. While many participants initially reacted with catastrophizing thoughts and negatively toned emotions, they employed mostly adaptive forms of coping, such as positive reframing and perseverance. Generally, coaches, athletic trainers, sport psychology professionals, and other individuals should be more cognizant of SES and other related identities when collaborating with injured athletes.