Promoting Athlete Mental Health: The Role of Emotion Regulation

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

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Georgia A. BirdSchool of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

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Mary L. QuintonSchool of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

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Jennifer CummingSchool of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

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This study investigated the relationship between reappraisal and suppression with depression and mental well-being among university athletes. It was hypothesized reappraisal would associate with lower depression and greater mental well-being, whereas suppression would associate with greater depression and reduced mental well-being. Employing a cross-sectional design, 427 participants (Mage = 20.18, SD = 1.52; 188 males and 239 females) completed questionnaires assessing mental health and strategy use. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed reappraisal was positively associated, and suppression negatively associated with mental well-being, ΔR2 = 4.8%, ΔF(2, 422) = 17.01, p < .001; suppression, β = −0.08, p = .028; reappraisal, β = 0.21, p < .001, but neither were associated with depression, ΔR2 = 0.4%, ΔF(2, 422) = 1.33, p = .267; suppression, β = 0.06, p = .114; reappraisal, β = 0.03, p = .525. Results highlight reappraisal as correlated with mental well-being in student-athletes, and therefore, reappraisal could be beneficial for managing stress in sport. Reappraisal may implicate how well-being is promoted through sport, but future experimental research is needed to confirm causal relationships.

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