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VOLUME 54 , ISSUE 4 ( October-December, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Do Psychological Factors Affect Return to Sport after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury? A Narrative Review

Jaspreet Kaur, Pratik M Rathod, Rajesh K Rajnish

Keywords : Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, Coping, Psychophysical parameters, Return to play, Sports injuries, Sports rehabilitation

Citation Information : Kaur J, Rathod PM, Rajnish RK. Do Psychological Factors Affect Return to Sport after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury? A Narrative Review. J Postgrad Med Edu Res 2020; 54 (4):213-217.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10028-1418

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 25-01-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.


Background: Psychological factors have a major role that affect the incidence, prevention, rehabilitation and return to sport (RTS) after injuries. There has been an increase in research and more attention towards evaluation of the impact that these factors play in deciding the outcomes after a sports injury. Therefore, the aim of this narrative review was to summarize the evidence for association between psychological factors and returning to sport following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Materials and methods: Electronic databases were searched for publications on effect of psychological factors on return to sport after ACL reconstruction. After reviewing the articles found in the database, 20 articles of interest were identified. An additional Google Scholar search was also done to look for any missed articles; and relevant articles were taken from other journals that were added to the narration. The selected articles were read thoroughly to arrive at this review. Observation and analysis: This narrative review has brought to light some interesting facts. The majority of the research about personality and injury has been inconsistent. It means that until now the characteristics of specific personality associated with the onset of sports injuries have not been identified and measured. Stress levels are the strongest predictor of sport injuries. Fear of reinjury/anxiety and pain catastrophizing are significantly correlated with athletes’ confidence in their ability to return to their sport. Higher motivation, self-efficacy and psychological “readiness” are positively associated with return to sport. Resources helping the athletes to cope have suggested to decrease the strength of the stress response and also decrease the amount of perceivable stress by the athletes. More specifically, coping is found to have a buffering effect, and thus decreases the probability of getting injured. Female and male athletes differ significantly when compared with the amount of stress perception, and coping after an injury, and thus gender may be an important factor to be considered in ACL injury and rehabilitation. Conclusion: Positive psychological factors like self-confidence, self-motivation, psychological-readiness, self-efficacy, optimism and social support appear to promote a greater probability of return to sports after ACL injury. Fear of reinjury is most significantly associated with RTS and physical activity levels.

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