• ‘Just stretch it out and try to dance’: Young Irish dancers’ views and experiences of pain and injury

      Pentith, Rebecca; McEvilly, Nollaig; University of Chester (Graduate Journal of Sport, Exercise & Physical Education Research, 2018-11-16)
      Dancers frequently experience pain and injury due to the physical demands of performance. Previous research primarily focuses on professional dancers over the age of 18 years, and Irish dance has been largely unexplored, with research from a sociological perspective particularly lacking. To address these gaps, the purpose of this study was to explore the influence of the culture of Irish dance on young female dancers’ views and experiences of pain and injury. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews with eight girls (aged 11-16 years) from an Irish dance academy in the North West of England. We analysed the data by engaging in thematic analysis, and drew on Bourdieu’s concepts (habitus and capital, in particular) to explain our findings. Key themes within the data were: the values of Irish dance; trust and teamwork; and strength and weakness. The findings show that Irish dancers make sacrifices to achieve success, and the culture of Irish dance encourages them to dance through pain and injury in order to appear strong. While dancers recognise the potential consequences of injury and believe it is beneficial to take time away from training to recover, they are often encouraged (and encourage each other) to persevere through pain and injury. The findings suggest that there are some potentially harmful consequences of the Irish dance culture, as pain and injury are normalised. We suggest that coaches (and parents/guardians) should encourage young dancers to engage with self-care, and ensure they are not risking their future health and wellbeing by dancing through pain and injury.
    • Perfectionism Among Young Female Competitive Irish Dancers: Prevalence and Relationship with Injury Responses

      Pentith, Rebecca; Moss, Samantha; Lamb, Kevin; Edwards, Carmel; University of Chester
      The present study investigated the prevalence of perfectionism among young competitive Irish dancers and examined the relationships between three different types of perfectionistic tendencies and coping strategies ultilised when experiencing injury. Sixty-eight female dancers (Mage = 14 ± 2.3 years) completed the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, alongside a record of injuries incurred during their championship careers. Participants reported 189 injuries, mostly involving lower extremities. Seventy-nine percent of dancers reported perfectionistic tendencies (mixed perfectionism 40%, pure self-oriented perfectionism 29%, pure socially prescribed perfectionism 10%), and most frequently adopted planful problem-solving, seeking social support, distancing, and self-controlling strategies to cope with injury. Perfectionism and the utilisation of two coping strategies were found to be significantly (p = .03) related; planful problem-solving was used typically ‘quite a bit or a great deal’ by the mixed perfectionism group, but only ‘somewhat’ by the non-perfectionism group, whereas confrontive coping was typically not used by the non-perfectionism group, but was used ‘somewhat’ by the mixed perfectionism group. Given the high frequency and intensity of perfectionism and the simulaneous employment of problem- and emotion-focused strategies when coping with injuries, it is suggested that practitioners acknowledge such tendencies when supporting their athletes’ in order to reduce the likely negative psychological impact.