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Psychological Factors Associated with Performance-Limiting Injuries in Professional Ballet Dancers

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The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between a broad range of psychosocial variables and performance-limiting physical injuries in a sample of elite ballet dancers in order to identify potential factors that could be included in interventions to prevent and treat dance injuries. Participants were asked to complete a battery of questionnaires assessing psychological well-being and social support. Participants also participated in a structured interview designed to solicit information about dance-related injuries in the 10-month period preceding the study. Study was conducted at the workplace of a 60-member professional ballet company. The company is part of a large, government-funded state theatre in Germany. Participants were 30 female and 24 male (mean age: 26.59 years; SD: 6.2 years) ballet dancers, representing 20 countries. Participants were employed in the company for the 2000-2001 performance season and were not injured at the time of participation in the study. Participants were asked to complete a battery of questionnaires including: a demographics questionnaire, the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale, the Social Support Appraisal Scale, the Profile of Mood States, and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Percent of performance and rehearsal days missed due to injury was computed as follows: (number of days missed due to injury/scheduled days) X 100. To identify potential correlates of injuries, Pearson Product-moment Correlation Coefficients were computed between the injury variable and each of the psychosocial variables. Absence due to injury was significantly positively correlated with stress, sleep disturbances, daytime sleepiness, and negative mood states (i.e., tension, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion). However, absence due to injury was significantly negatively associated with social support. Future interventions designed to prevent and treat injuries in elite ballet dancers should include the assessment and treatment of psychological distress (i.e., perceived stress, negative mood states, sleep problems) as well as the enhancement of social support in their programs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 2: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California 94928

Publication date: 01 June 2004

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