The Impact of Social Pressures on the Report Behavior of Sports-Related Conclusion
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Research with athletes suggests that failure to receive treatment for an injury or returning to play too soon after an injury can have significant negative consequences for long-term health. An important but often overlooked aspect of this research concerns how social pressures may influence the decision to report injuries. This study examined the effects of social influences and demographics on the report behavior of sports related concussion. It was hypothesized that social influences such as Perceived Teammate Closeness, Perceived Gender Biases, and Perceived Parental Influence would influence the number of unreported concussions; and that males would have a higher number of unreported concussions compared to females. This project was done using a sample of 94 college aged athletes (ages 18 to 25). A questionnaire was used to assess the injuries athletes have incurred, their readiness to return to play following injury, and personal history of concussions and concussion-like symptoms. Using a Chi Squared analysis to test relationships between different demographic variables such as gender, ethnicity and possession of insurance a significant difference was found. This indicated that those in possession of insurance are more likely to seek medical treatment for their concussion (X2(1)= 3.834, p=.050). There was also a significant difference, such that males were more likely to have an unreported concussion compared to females (X2(1) =5.251, p<.05). A series of analysis of variance (ANOVAs) were also run to test relationships between the different types of social influences. No significant differences were found for these factors (all p values > .08). Given the growing public concern for the long-term consequences of sports related head injury, studying how these injuries are reported to health officials could ultimately allow coaches and doctors to more accurately assess the existence of and/or extent of an injury, leading to the proper medical treatment and better-informed return-to-play decisions.