Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)




College of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jamie McAllister-Dietrick


Social support is a multidimensional construct (Arvinen-Barrow & Pack, 2013), primarily consisting of three different types of support: emotional support, informational support, and tangible support (Stowe, 2015). While the athletes are the ones who receive and perceive the effectiveness of the social support, those who give the social support can come in a wide variety of people (Yang, et. al., 2010). Previous research on male versus female athletes show very small differences (Stowe, 2015). Social support is key during the returning to competition phase following an injury (Fernandes, et al, 2014). Despite previous research in the field, there remain limitations and future directions that researchers can focus on when studying and learning more about athletic injury and the effects of social support on recovery, rehabilitation and return to play. Overall, it can be said that the main purpose of social support during injury rehabilitation is to help the athlete have a sense of belonging and assurance, which in turn helps them to understand they are not isolated because of an injury and then give them a support network to help guide and encourage them along the way (Arvinen-Barrow & Pack, 2013). The purpose of the following paper is to synthesize current literature surrounding the role of social support during recovery rehabilitation and return to play from sport related injury as well as highlight limitations and gaps in previous research while suggesting future directions.