Intentions to Report Concussion Symptoms in Nonprofessional Athletes: A Fuzzy-Trace Theory Approach


fuzzy-trace theory (FTT), gist-based thinking, decision making, decision theory

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Reducing concussion risks in athletes depends on self-reporting. Often, athletes decide whether to report concussions or continue playing and risk serious health consequences. Fuzzy-trace theory (FTT) predicts that reliance on gisty, categorical representations of risky decisions, not amounts of risk/reward, encourages risk avoidance and application of bottom-line values, or gist principles, thus promoting healthy decisions. Applying FTT, we test whether intentions to report are predicted by gist-based thinking about risks and values. High school and college students (N = 1,366) were assessed for concussion knowledge, social pressures to not report (by coaches/parents/teammates), categorical gist-based thinking, endorsement of gist principles expressing values, and intentions to report. As expected, the older group scored higher on gist measures. For young adults, categorical thinking, and gist principles predicted intentions, controlling for sex, knowledge, and social pressures. For adolescents, categorical thinking again predicted intentions. For both age groups, adding FTT's predictors accounted for significantly more variance than baseline models.

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