Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Craig Hall

Second Advisor

Dr. Jan Polgar


The general purpose of this dissertation was to examine the relationships between imagery use and self-efficacy in injured athletes. Study 1 examined (i) how imagery, self-efficacy, and rehabilitation adherence varied over an 8-week rehabilitation program, and (ii) how the relationships among these variables changed over the course of rehabilitation. The purposes of Study 2 were to (i) develop and test the factor validity of the Injury Rehabilitation Imagery Questionnaire (IRIQ), and (ii) further examine the relationships between imagery use and self-efficacy using this new instrument. The purpose of Study 3 was to improve the psychological state of patients about to commence physiotherapy treatment through the use of imagery and its effects on self-efficacy. The results of Study 1 revealed that injured athletes’ task efficacy, imagery use, and adherence levels remained stable over the course of the eight-week assessment period. In contrast, participants’ coping efficacy levels decreased over the length of the study. Over rehabilitation, moderate to strong relationships existed between self-efficacy and rehabilitation adherence with task efficacy having the most consistent association with the three adherence measures (i.e., quality of exercises, exercise frequency, and exercise duration). All imagery functions were related to task efficacy, however only motivational imagery had a significant relationship with coping efficacy. Finally, weak to moderate relationships were found to exist between imagery use and rehabilitation adherence. The results of Study 2 demonstrated that the IRIQ was a useful instrument for examining injured athletes’ imagery use during rehabilitation. In addition, cognitive, motivational, and healing imagery predicted task efficacy, while motivational and pain iii management imagery predicted coping efficacy. Further, task efficacy predicted exercise adherence quality, coping efficacy predicted exercise frequency, and both task and coping efficacy predicted exercise duration. The results of Study 3 demonstrate partial support for the hypothesis that the imagery intervention would result in higher self-efficacy and overall better psychological readiness for rehabilitation and recovery. Specifically, the results of visual inspection combined with the percentage of non-overlapping data (PND; Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1998; Scruggs, Mastropieri, & Casto, 1987) and standard mean difference (SMDan; Olive & Smith, 2005) to calculate effect size revealed an overall increase in both imagery use and self-efficacy for participants who received the intervention. Taken together, and within the limitations inherent in each of the three studies, a number of practical implications emerged from this program of research. It is recommended that surgeons, therapists, and other influential people (e.g., coaches) (1) educate patients on the benefits of imagery and encourage its use even prior to the start of physiotherapy to enhance their rehabilitation self-efficacy and help increase their rehabilitation adherence, (2) provide patients with visual representations and detailed descriptions of their injury and the healing process in order to facilitate more effective imagery use in rehabilitation contexts, and (3) provide patients with additional information (e.g., detailed description of their injury and surgery, and expected rehabilitation protocol), either prior to surgery and/or prior to commencing rehabilitation, to enable them to gain a better understanding of their injury and to help alleviate any anxiety. iv Based on the results presented in this dissertation, there is evidence to support the use of imagery by athletes in preparation for and during injury rehabilitation as a way to influence self-efficacy levels, rehabilitation adherence, and potentially rehabilitation outcomes. Thus, it is important for researchers, health professionals, athletes and coaches (1) to be aware of the benefits of imagery use in relation to self-efficacy and adherence in injury rehabilitation, (2) to use and apply this information in the development of imagery interventions, and (3) to pursue further investigations in this relatively new, yet important, area of research.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.