Causal Attribution of Teammate Injury

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  • Title: Causal Attribution of Teammate Injury: Intercultural Sensitivity and “Blame” for Teammate Injury
  • Author(s): Randall E. Osborne
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Sport & Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Sport and Society
  • Keywords: Athlete Identity, Attribution for Injury, Attribution for Teammate Injury
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2152-7857 (Print)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Osborne, Randall E.. 2017. "Causal Attribution of Teammate Injury: Intercultural Sensitivity and “Blame” for Teammate Injury." The International Journal of Sport and Society 8 (2): 1-14. doi:10.18848/2152-7857/CGP/v08i02/1-14.
  • Extent: 14 pages


When considering the injury of an athlete, recent research suggests that the answers athletes generate for questions related to that injury can affect recovery, team cohesiveness, and risk of re-injury. Athletes have been shown to question why the injury has occurred, how this relates to one’s identity, what impact this will have on the future, who is responsible for the injury, and who is responsible for recovery. Answers to these questions are important, of course, and have generated much literature focusing on risk of injury, recovery from injury, injury prevention, and psychological readiness to play. Additionally, how an athlete attributes his or her own injury has been shown to have a profound impact on each of the aforementioned variables. These questions are important for understanding the total picture of injury from a psychological standpoint. But what determines the way an athlete attributes the injuries of his or her teammates? It appears that surprisingly little research has been directed at this question. In an attempt to study this issue, thirty-five student athletes were asked to self-assess on Bennett’s levels (denial, defense, minimization, acceptance, adaptation, and integration) of intercultural sensitivity ) and were asked to rate how much “blame” a teammate deserved for an injury. Results show that progress on Bennett’s levels of intercultural sensitivity across a semester had no effect on athlete attributions for self-injuries but was related to a lessening of “blame” assigned to a teammate for injury. Additional literature relevant to this work and implications for the findings are discussed.