The relationship between personality and functional ability following anterior cruciate ligament injury

Segulin, Stephanie
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University of Delaware
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury occurs often, and nearly 70 percent of the time from a non-contact mechanism. Certain neuropsychological characteristics and changes in cerebral cortex activation have been linked to this mechanism. Personality may contribute to risk of non-contact injury and restoration of function. This emerging area of research may disclose new results that compliment current rehabilitation given the central nervous system’s ability to undergo plastic changes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the constructs locus of control (LOC), grit, mental toughness, sensation seeking, and kinesiophobia in ACL deficient (ACLD) and healthy subjects. Twenty-one healthy controls and seven individuals who suffered non-contact ACL injury participated in this study. Injuries were sustained during physical activity approximately 42 days prior to participation. Each subject completed the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control (MHLC), Grit Scale, Mental Toughness 18-Item Questionnaire (MT18), Sensation Seeking Scale-V (SSS-V), and Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia (TSK). The ACLD subjects additionally reported the number of incidences of “giving way” and completed the Knee Outcome Survey-Activities of Daily Living (KOS-ADL) and the global rating of knee function to be classified as potential copers or non-copers. Independent samples t-tests were used to determine construct differences between the ACLD and healthy subjects. There was significantly greater sensation seeking in the ACLD group (p = .017). Although not significant, the ACLD subjects displayed more internal LOC than the healthy subjects (30.17±3.06, 26.95±4.47, respectively, p = .113) and less external LOC attributed to powerful others (14.00±4.82, 17.76±4.58, respectively, p = .091). The expression of more sensation seeking and internal LOC may permit choices whereby more risk is deemed acceptable and this may create more chances for injurious events. On the contrary, externalists are more responsive to stress which may predispose them to injury because heightened arousal can alter motor output. Fear was related to the number of episodes of “giving way” (r = .67). Moments of instability may contribute to being more fearful, which may impede rehabilitation. This research suggests psychological constructs such as sensation seeking, LOC, and fear may contribute to the dynamic restraint mechanism and functional outcome of ACLD patients.