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 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 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 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- It is clear that the essence of
these is to be active in planning for that inevitable day.