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Although factors involved with help-seeking have been widely studied in the general college population, college student-athletes have received less attention. The purpose of this study was to examine the moderating role of self-compassion on the relationship between public and self-stigma, and how self-stigma was associated with attitudes toward seeking counseling. A sample of 243 student-athletes from NCAA Divisions I and III participated in the study. Using structural equation modeling, self-compassion was not found to moderate the relationship between public and self-stigma. However, public stigma was positively associated with self-stigma, and self-stigma was negatively associated with attitudes toward counseling. A multigroup analysis did not find differences between males and females for the model. The results of this study have implications for professionals who work with college student-athletes and suggest that efforts should aim to reduce stigma and examine alternative factors that might improve attitudes toward mental health help-seeking.
Hilliard was with the Department of Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. He is now with the Department of Exercise Science, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA. Redmond is with the Department of Psychology, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI. Watson is with the Department of Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.