Table 4

Categorisation and definitions of identified psychological, social and contextual factors and themes

ThemeFactorDefinitionNo. of studies
Psychological domainPsychological factor 77
 Barriers to progressFear/anxiety131 Fear* is a biological mechanism associated with definite danger (eg, fear of re-injury), whereas anxiety is associated with anticipation or uncertainty from previous experience (eg, re-injury anxiety)29
Other emotions32 The way one feels after an event (eg, injury) and can consist of feelings and/or mood disturbances (eg, frustration, anger, depression)24
Psychological readiness32 A state of mental preparedness. In the context of RTS, this includes an appraisal of one’s health status and risks (perceived or actual) associated with sport participation8
Sport-confidence132 The belief or degree of certainty individuals possess about their ability to be successful in sport6
 Active copingCoping133 Cognitive and behavioural efforts used to manage demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding one’s resources19
Identity134 An internal, self -constructed, dynamic organisation of drives, abilities, beliefs, and individual history13
Catastrophising pain24 A negative appraisal of pain that may represent ineffective or inappropriate pain coping strategy4
Resilience135 The ability to use personal qualities to withstand pressure, ‘bounce back’, and persist during stressful or adverse encounters (eg, injury)2
 IndependenceSelf-efficacy16 A situation-specific form of confidence that involves self-assessment or judgement of one’s capability to execute behaviours to attain an outcome12
Motivation115 All aspects of activation and intention on behaviour, including energy, direction, persistence and equifinality10
Autonomy115 An internal perceived locus of causality or degree to which individuals desire to control life events or behaviour4
 Recovery expectationsRecovery expectation127 A belief that some anticipated future outcome is likely12
Perceptions136 How one views or perceives their current situation or injury8
Beliefs136 A dispositional mindset that may or may not manifest either in consciousness or behaviour5
Social domainSocial factor 30
 Social SupportSocial support137 An exchange of resources or social interactions between individuals comprising of emotional, informational and tangible support29
 Engagement in careTherapeutic alliance138 A working relationship between a healthcare provider and patient that involves agreement on treatment goals, tasks, and an affective bond (eg, trust)7
Shared decision-making125 A process whereby healthcare providers and patients work together to make healthcare choices based on best available evidence and patient’s values4
Contextual domainContextual factor 16
 Environmental influencesEnvironment139 The atmosphere or setting of a situation which is created by a combination of external (eg, healthcare provider) factors and/or one’s individual context12
 Sport cultureSport culture139 The environment or ethos of a sport4
  • *Given that fear has been heavily investigated in this population, we chose to separate it from ‘other emotions.’ Fear and anxiety (fear of re-injury/re-injury anxiety) were grouped together as these two constructs were often used interchangeably across studies.

  • RTS, return to sport.