Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Tracey

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Robertson-Wilson

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisory Committee

Third Advisor

Dr. Pamela Bryden

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisory Committee


Previous researchers have focused on a variety of psychological aspects of injury rehabilitation in the context of returning to competitive sport (Ardern et al., 2016; Donald, 2019; Podlog et al., 2022; Webster et al., 2018). Return to sport decisions have been largely based on physical assessment and functional ability tests with little focus on psychological elements of recovery (Podlog et al., 2015). The existing literature on psychological readiness (PR) to return to sport has grown in recent years, primarily exploring the experiences of young adult athletes aged 18-30 (Podlog et al., 2022). There has been no previous research exploring the experiences of PR in physically active middle-aged adults who have sustained an injury, and the process of their return to physical activity (PA).

The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the experiences of PR in injured middle-aged adults who are looking to, or who have returned to PA. Self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000) was used as the theoretical framework to assess the role of basic psychological needs in this process. Eight middle-aged participants aged 43-62 (n=4 males; n=4 females) were interviewed about their experiences with injury rehabilitation and PR. PR was described by participants as involving patience, acceptance, and resilience. Reflexive thematic analysis produced three overarching PR themes: life experience, mind-body dichotomy, and personal responsibility. The need for autonomy and competence satisfaction were identified as the most prominent and influential to their perceptions of PR. The findings may be useful to healthcare providers regarding important considerations when assessing and treating injured middle-aged adults. This exploratory study provided exposure to an under-represented population within the literature, specifically relating to PR, emphasizing the acknowledgement and need of research on injury rehabilitation in middle-aged adults.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Available for download on Friday, September 25, 2026