Depression, Anxiety, and Help-Seeking Among NCAA Division III Athletes at a Historically Women’s College

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

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Aidan D. KrausWheelock College of Education & Human Development, Department of Counseling Psychology & Applied Human Development, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

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Erica TibbettsExercise and Sport Studies, Smith College, Northampton, MA, USA

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This study explored depression, anxiety, and help-seeking at a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III historically women’s college in the United States, while taking into account gender identities outside of male and female. An online survey including the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, and help-seeking measures were completed by 109 student-athletes. Participants’ ages ranged from 18 to 22. Within the sample, 59.7% of participants identified as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, among other identities) and 8.3% identified as genderqueer/gender-nonconforming. A total of 33.0% of the participants reported symptoms of depression, while 28.5% reported symptoms of anxiety. Genderqueer/gender-nonconforming athletes reported higher rates of anxiety than athletes who identified as women. Higher rates of depression and anxiety were related to higher levels of formal help-seeking. The results indicate that student-athletes at a historically women’s college may be experiencing higher levels of depression and anxiety than student-athletes in other contexts and have more positive views toward help-seeking. Student-athletes who identify outside of the gender binary may be at higher risk for anxiety.

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