The effects of psychological inoculation on helmet use in skiers

Evert Zinzen, Yannick Van Den Bleeken, Yori Gidron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)Research


INTRODUCTION: Winter sports gained lots of popularity over the last years (Ackery et al., 2007). Unfortunately, together with this popularity, more and more accidents happen (Koehle et al., 2002). Most of the serious consequences can be avoided by wearing a ski helmet, but still many people do not wear one (Cundy et al., 2010). Since education alone fails to enhance helmet use, Psychological Inoculation (PI), a type of cognitive intervention that tries to reduce people's barriers, was tested for improving helmet use (Levy et al., 2007; Olley et al., 2011).

METHOD: A randomized controlled experimental design on 86 Belgian physical education students was conducted. The sample included skiers, snowboarders and participants who did both. Half of the sample received an educational intervention (controls), the other half received the same education together with a PI intervention. Helmet use was recorded during ten days (for the majority of participants by observation by their trainers). Groups were contrasted using t-tests.

RESULT: No significant effects were found for the total sample. However, is sub-group analyses, PI led to significantly more helmet use in skiers and in persons who had higher relative skills (p
DISCUSSION: The absence of an advantage for PI effect in the total sample can be due to the high rates of helmet use at baseline in the less experienced participants, although the significant effect found in skiers is very interesting. In skilled and experienced skiers, we noticed a significant effect of PI compared to controls. This can be important since they often serve as a role model for others. Thus, if it is possible to increase helmet use in the experienced group by PI, beginning skiers and snowboarders may imitate the behavior and start wearing helmets and so, possibly reduce their injury rates.

CONCLUSION: This study found that helmet use in physical education students during skiing and snowboarding is relatively high. Furthermore psychological inoculation had a significant impact to increase helmet use in skilled and experienced skiers.

Ackery, A., Hagel, B., Provvidenza, C., & Tator, C. (2007). An international review of head and spinal cord injuries in alpine skiing and snowboarding. Injury Prevention, 13(6), 368-375.

Cundy, T., Systermans, B., Cundy, W., Cundy, P., Briggs, N., & Robinson, J. (2010). Helmets for Snow Sports: Prevalence, Trends, Predictors and Attitudes to Use. Journal of Trauma - Injury Infection and Critical Care, 69(5), 1486-1491.

Koehle, M., Lloyd-Smith, R., & Taunton, J. (2002). Alpine ski Injuries and Their Prevention. Sports Medicine - ADIS International, 32(12), 785-794.

Levy, A., Hwakes, A., & Rossie, G. (2007). Helmets for Skiers and Snowboarders: An Injury prevention Program. Health Promotion Practice, 8(3), 257-265.

Olley, B., Abbas, M., & Gidron, Y. (2011). The effects of psychological inoculation on cognitive barriers against condom use in women with HIV: A controlled pilot study. Journal of social Aspects of HIV/AIDS, 8(1), 27-32.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of abstracts 6th International Congress on Science and Skiing
EditorsMüller E., Kröll J., Lindinger S., Pfusterschmied J., Stöggl T.
Place of PublicationAustria
PublisherUniverstity of Salzburg
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)978-3-200-03417-4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventUnknown -
Duration: 1 Jan 2013 → …


Period1/01/13 → …

Bibliographical note

Müller E., Kröll J., Lindinger S., Pfusterschmied J., Stöggl T.


  • Injury prevention
  • Psychological Innoculation
  • Winter sports


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