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Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Health and Human Development
The high prevalence of concussions sustained through sport involvement, particularly in contact and team sports, are great in number, roughly 1.8 to 3.6 million annually within the United States (Thurman, Branche, & Sniezek 1998). The physical symptoms that follow a concussion are well noted, but the impairment of cognitive reasoning and emotional regulation needs further research efforts. Increases in aggression and impulsivity are common symptoms of traumatic brain injuries (TBI; Rochat et al., 2010) that can affect one’s standings socially and can increase the likelihood of deviant behavior that one may not normally engage in if cognitively and emotionally stable (Tateno, Jorge & Robinson, 2003). The purpose of the study is to identify levels of aggressiveness (sport and life aggression) and impulsiveness in an athletic population. The current study, was the first of its kind to assess aggressive and impulsive behavior in active athletes via an online survey. The sample consisted of 139 athletes currently involved in competition, regardless of competition season, at the recreational (n = 29), university club (n = 115), varsity (n = 20), or amateur/semi-professional/professional level (n = 11), with multiple athletes competing at multiple levels in multiple sports. Athletes were asked to complete the Bredemeier Athletic Aggression Inventory-Short Form (BAAGI-S; for sport aggression), the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ; for life aggression), the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale, and a self-report criminal history survey through Qualtrics. Athletes were categorized into independent variables of concussion history (history of concussion or no history), sex (male or female), and number of concussions (single versus multiple). Scores from the questionnaires were analyzed through a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). It was expected that those athletes with a history of concussion(s), would score significantly higher on measures of sport aggression, life aggression, and impulsiveness compared to a non-concussion group. The second hypothesis was, that those who had experienced multiple concussion diagnoses would score higher on measures of sport aggression, life aggression, and impulsiveness as compared to the single concussion diagnosis group. The third hypothesis was that concussed male athletes would report higher scores on measures of sport aggression, life aggression, and impulsiveness as compared to concussed female athletes. In relation to the first hypothesis, athletes with a past history of concussion(s) did not statistically differ from athletes with no past history of concussions for sport aggression, life aggression, or impulsivity total scores, F (3, 134) = 1.53, p = .209, րp2 = .033. In addition, athletes with one medically diagnosed concussion did not statistically differ from athletes with multiple medically diagnosed concussions for sport aggression, life aggression, or impulsivity total scores, F (3, 50) = .33, p = .81, րp2 = .019. Finally, female athletes with a history of concussions did not statistically differ from male athletes with a history of concussions for sport aggression, life aggression, or impulsivity total scores, F (3, 83) = .07, p = .97, րp2 = .063. Additionally, a descriptive report was performed, which assessed pre and post-concussion violent criminal history for the athletes based on arrests, charges, and convictions of violent crimes. Of the 88 athletes (63.3%) with a concussion history, two athletes (2.7%) reported engagement in aggressive criminal behavior after their first concussion. In conclusion, the proposed study did not identify any statistical difference between the group comparisons for the dependent variables, however, anecdotal responses provided by a small number of athletes helped identify the athletes’ possible lingering emotional and/or behavioral symptoms following a concussion.
Brain--Concussion--Psychological aspects, Athletes--Psychological aspects, Aggressiveness--Physiological aspects, Impulsive personality--Physiological aspects
Western Washington University
Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.
Haddix, Jason, "Comparing Aggressive and Impulsive Behavior in Concussed and Non-Concussed Athletes" (2017). WWU Graduate School Collection. 568.