Psychological rehabilitation from sport injury: issues in training and development of chartered physiotherapists

  • Monna Arvinen-Barrow

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Despite growing interest into the role of physiotherapists in providing psychological rehabilitation to athletes during sport injury, very little research exists outside North America, Australia, and New Zealand (e.g., Hemmings & Povey, 2002). Thus, the main purpose of this research was to explore the role of UK chartered physiotherapists in the process of psychological rehabilitation from sport injuries. This thesis consists of four studies. With the intention to gain further insights into the physiotherapists’ views on the psychological aspects of their work, study one used the Physiotherapists and Sport Psychology Questionnaire (PSPQ; Hemmings & Povey, 2002) in a national survey with 361 UK chartered physiotherapists working in sport medicine. The results from the survey provided useful insights into the ways in which psychological interventions are currently employed in rehabilitation physiotherapy. In study two, these findings were explored further, by developing a questionnaire survey to explore chartered physiotherapists’ (N = 22) preferred method of sport psychology intervention training. With the purpose of gaining an insight into the physiotherapists’ personal experiences in using psychological interventions with injured athletes, study three adopted a qualitative approach, in which semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven UK chartered physiotherapists. The findings from the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith, 1996) provided deeper understanding on physiotherapists current knowledge on, and their past experiences and opinions on using range of psychological interventions in their work with injured athletes. Similarly study four used semi-structured interviews and IPA with ten athletes who had previously encountered moderate or severe sport injuries requiring physiotherapy treatment. The findings revealed useful information on the physiotherapists’ role in providing psychological support and using psychological interventions in their work with injured athletes. In conclusion, the research presented in this thesis makes a contribution to knowledge by: (a) providing an insight into the views of chartered physiotherapists in the UK on psychological content of their practice, (b) making preliminary suggestions into how further training in sport psychology for chartered physiotherapists could be delivered, (c) enabling deeper understanding of physiotherapists current practices and past experiences in utilising selected psychological interventions in their work, and (d) giving a voice to injured athletes with regard to the role of physiotherapists in providing psychological support during sport injury rehabilitation.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Northampton
    SupervisorS. Corr (Supervisor), G. Penny (Supervisor) & B. Hemmings (Supervisor)

    Cite this