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But can someone like me do it? The importance of appropriate role modelling for safety behaviours in sports injury prevention
  1. Peta White,
  2. Alex Donaldson,
  3. Caroline F Finch
  1. Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peta White, Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), SMB Campus, Federation University Australia, P.O. Box 668, Ballarat, VIC 3353, Australia; pe.white{at}

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Preventing sports injuries requires behaviour change. Observational learning, or role modelling, is one way to develop self-efficacy, a key behavioural determinant. This premise underpins the social cognitive theory (SCT),1 and is the reason why role models have such a strong influence on behaviour. Most human behaviour is learned by observing others.2 Therefore, understanding role modelling and how to use it effectively could be important for sports injury prevention.

Self-efficacy refers to an individual's confidence in their ability to enact a particular behaviour. According to the SCT, people need sufficient self-efficacy before they adopt a particular behaviour. Individuals with high self-efficacy are more likely to engage in a given behaviour.3 In our study of what influences community-level Australian football (AF) and rugby league coaches’ and sports trainers’ intention to use concussion guidelines,4 self-efficacy was a significant predictor of intention.

Social modelling is one source of self-efficacy.5 Observing others can improve self-efficacy by altering perceptions of competency. Four processes govern observational learning: (1) attention: seeing and understanding …

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  • Twitter Follow Caroline Finch at @CarolineFinch

  • Funding While there was no specific funding for this editorial, the results that are drawn on are from work funded by a Victorian Sports Injury Prevention Research Grant from the Department of Planning and Community Development, Victoria, Australia. CFF was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellowship (ID: 565900).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.