Measuring Postinjury Depression among Male and Female Competitive Athletes

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • 2 National Cancer Institute
  • 3 California University of Pennsylvania
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Depression is common among athletes following sport injury, yet few studies have explored the severity of postinjury depression. Among those studies, only one examined gender differences although women in the general population are more likely than men to experience depression. No research to date has used interviews to assess depression despite their standard use among mental health professionals. In a quasi-experimental design, we used a self-report checklist and a clinical interview to compare depression among male and female athletes at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months postinjury. Results revealed significant effects of group (injured vs. control) and time (since injury), and these effects were different for the two depression measures. We also explored the sensitivity and specificity of the user-rated checklist in identifying severely depressed athletes compared with the interview. Findings underscore the importance of multimodal approaches and clinical judgment when evaluating athletes' postinjury depression symptoms.

Appaneal is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, and Levine is with the Department of Public Health Education, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro NC; Perna is with the Behavioral Research Program, Health Promotion Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD; and Roh is with the Department of Health Science and Sport Studies, California University of Pennsylvania, California PA.