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Chapter Summary

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Chapter 15 Summary

Abnormality and illness

  • Defining abnormality is very difficult. Even though at some level we ‘kind of know’ what we mean, the five definitions discussed in this section are insufficient and defining normality is just as tough.
  • Mental ‘illness’ is probably more common than we feel comfortable with and as an idea it is wrapped up with a medical model which sees mental ‘troublement’ as something that can and should be fixed.

    Body image
  • Body image is an important part of many people’s lives and it seems as though lots of us are discontented with the way we look.
  • It is the reason why many people participate in sport and exercise and this participation often seems to reduce this discontent. This can lead to an improvement in self-esteem.
  • It is common to think that women are more susceptible to this relationship than men but there is some evidence to show that this may be changing.

    Self-esteem, sport and exercise
  • Self-esteem is an important idea and one which many seem to understand and value.
  • There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that increasing exercise seems to improve self-esteem but it is not clear why this is.

    Depression
  • Depression is the most common mental ‘illness’ and blights many lives.
  • Whilst we are good at describing depression, and know something of the biological aspects of it, we are less clear about the psychological mechanism that triggers it.
  • There is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that depressed people suffer less with depression if they take exercise and that for some, expending more than 2500 kcal in an exercise session is especially useful.

    Self-efficacy
  • Self-efficacy is conceptually different from self-esteem and is often an important predictor of both sporting success and exercise adherence.
  • It is about making future-orientated judgements about how likely it is that we can gain a particular goal.
  • This is especially salient when it comes to trying to break records, or just do some exercise.

    Injury and recovery from injury
  • Many factors seem to predict whether or not we become injured and some of them seem to have very little to do with the sport itself (i.e. they are often psychological or social and are to do with the other things which are going on in your life which are not to do with sport).
  • Whilst it is clear that there are many psychological factors that mediate the recovery from injury, the scientific evidence for them is thin on the ground.
  • We are beginning to learn more about this area by the use of case studies.

    The end of a sporting career
  • There is no doubt that whilst the end of a sporting career must happen it is no less painful for that.
  • There are several theories that try to explain and describe this process. These break down into those that see the end of a career as a type of social death and those which concern themselves with the nature of the transition from athlete to non-athlete.
  • Several theories are quite useful for developing strategies to enable athletes to cope with this change.
  • It is clear that the essence of these is to be active in planning for that inevitable day.