PSYCHOLOGICAL PREDICTORS OF INJURY IN DIVISION III COLLEGIATE STUDENT-ATHLETES
This study examined five psychological variables in an NCAA Division III population that have previously been reported to predict injury in collegiate athletes at the Division I level. The psychological variables included in this study were: life stress, social support, coping resources, trait anxiety, and hardiness. Male and female participants (n = 125) from six Division III sport teams completed surveys measuring each variable, and answered demographic questions of gender, sport type, year in school, and history of previous injury. Information was collected at the beginning and end of each sport season. A logistic regression model was computed with the psychological and demographic variables serving as predictors, and a dichotomous dependent variable of injury occurrence. Three predictor variables demonstrated significant relationships with injury occurrence: sport type, previous injury, and coping resources. Based on the mediocre strength of the model, it was concluded that the injuries of Division III student-athletes may not be predicted by psychological variables to the same degree as Division I student-athletes. It may be that Division III student-athletes respond differently to factors such as life stress, social support, hardiness, or trait anxiety compared to Division I counterparts. The emergence of coping resources as a significant predictor of injury in Division III student-athletes warrants further investigation for its injury prevention potential. Further research exploring the potential influence of these psychological predictors on injury frequency at the Division III level is needed to determine if Division III student-athletes’ injuries can be predicted in a similar manner to Division I.