Date of Award:

1988

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Damian McShane

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine affective changes which result from injury in female collegiate gymnasts, using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) instrument (McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman, 1971 ).

Twelve female gymnasts, comprising the Utah State University gymnastics team, completed the POMS twice per month for four months during their 1986-87 competitive season . A comparison group of 12 non-athlete female college students, matched with the gymnasts by age, year in school, and major, completed the POMS on the same schedule as the gymnasts. Injury was defined as orthopedic damage to the gymnast's body as a result of participation in gymnastics, another sport-related activity, or a non-sport-related accident, which forced the gymnast to miss one week of gymnastics practice or one competitive event.

Pre- and post-injury POMS profiles were analyzed by visual inspection. Of the four gymnasts who sustained injuries during the season, two exhibited significant POMS profile changes. One gymnast who did not participate during the 1986-87 season, due to an injury sustained the previous year, produced POMS profiles which fluctuated in anticipation of, and in response to, her visits to physicians treating her injury.

Comparisons using 1 tests of POMS factor scores of the non-injured gymnasts with those of the non-athlete college students indicated no significant differences between the two groups. Visual comparisons were conducted to ascertain if non-injured gymnasts' POMS profiles were similar to the "iceberg" profile found by Morgan (1979) in his study of elite athletes. Thirty-six percent of the gymnasts' POMS profiles had the iceberg configuration, as compared to 20 percent of the non-athletes' profiles.

Since three of the five (60 percent) of the injured gymnasts in this study had significant changes in POMS factor scores, the hypothesis that injury can produce substantial affective changes in female collegiate gymnasts was supported . Additional research should be conducted to replicate and extend these results and to explore options for optimal treatment of injured athletes. Further comparisons between POMS profiles of both injured and healthy elite, professional, and collegiate athletes is recommended.

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