A meta-analysis of mental imagery effects on post-injury functional mobility, perceived pain, and self-efficacy

Sima Zach, Urska Dobersek, Edson Filho, Varda Inglis, Gershon Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives A meta-analysis was employed to examine the effects of mental imagery (MI) on bio-psychological variables, namely functional mobility, perceived pain, and self-efficacy. Method Ten studies were included in the meta-analytical review. Cohen's d effect sizes (ES) and Hedge's g weighted mean ES (WMES) were computed for all dependent variables. Results The analysis revealed non-significant effects of imagery interventions that were (1) small and positive for functional mobility (g = 0.16), (2) large and negative for perceived pain (g = −0.86), and (3) large and positive for self-efficacy (g = 0.99). These effects were all non-significant, probably because the interventions administered and populations sampled in the studies were mostly heterogeneous. The observed null results might also reflect that existing studies on injury lack power. Hence, the effects of MI on bio-psychological variables warrant continued empirical investigation. Conclusions Given the observed statistical trends, MI interventions might be beneficial for athletes recovering from injury. However, more experimental work in needed before one claims with certainty that MI enhances bio-psychological functioning in injured athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume34
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Functional mobility
  • Imagery
  • Injury
  • Meta-analysis
  • Perceived pain
  • Self-efficacy

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