Poster: The Role of Social Support from Teachers and Healthcare Providers for Pre-Professional Ballet Dancers Coping with Pain (Vanessa Nicole Paglione, Sarah Kenny, Meghan McDonough)
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to gain insight about the experiences of pre-professional adolescent dancers regarding social support from teachers and health care providers when they are coping with pain and injury.
Participants: Twelve pre-professional ballet dancers (median age = 15 years, range = 11-19) participated while attending a three-week summer ballet intensive.
Methods: Parental consent and participant assent (age < 18 years) or participant consent (age > 18 years) was obtained. Participants completed a semi-structured interview about their experiences of social support, injury, pain, and fatigue. Thematic analysis was conducted.1 Transcripts were coded, and themes were interpreted in light of theory.
Results: Themes were identified regarding the ways in which teachers and health care providers were viewed as supportive when dancers were encountering pain and injury. Dancers adapted their support network to the people who surrounded them to include a greater reliance on teachers, and also on health care providers. These adaptations were made given that many dancers travelled and lived far from family and friends or were becoming increasingly independent as adolescents and young adults. The dancers identified that having mutual understanding and communication amongst their health care providers and teachers allowed them easier access to support and follow up care. Having health care providers who understood dance was also meaningful and helpful when managing injury.
Conclusion: The findings from this study contribute to a literature investigating how to best support dance-related injury prevention and rehabilitation strategies. By understanding the importance of support and communication with teachers and health care providers, more informed social support practices can be developed and implemented.
Relevance: This research demonstrates the importance that actions and communications have in how dancers manage their injuries. There is evidence to suggest that a collaborative team is essential, and that findings from this research have the potential to inform best practices and guidelines in order to enhance dancer potential.
Vanessa Nicole Paglione