The aim of the study was to explore the prevalence of specific symptoms of depression in athletes and to test differences in the likelihood of athletes exhibiting these symptoms across age, sex, type of team sport, and level of competition. A sample of Icelandic male and female team sport athletes (N = 894, 18–42 years) was included in the study. Of the athletes exhibiting clinically significant depressive symptoms on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, 37.5% did not exhibit core symptoms of depression. Compared with males, females were significantly more likely to exhibit depressed mood, feelings of worthlessness/guilt, and problems with sleep, fatigue, appetite, and concentration. Within males, differences were mostly related to neurovegetative aspects of depression (sleep and appetite), whereas in females, differences were related to cognitive/emotional aspects (e.g., depressed mood, guilt/worthlessness). The findings underline the importance of exploring specific symptoms of depression to provide a richer understanding of depressive symptomology in athletes.
Richard Tahtinen, Hafrun Kristjansdottir, Daniel T. Olason, and Robert Morris
Audrey G. Evers, Jessica A Somogie, Ian L. Wong, Jennifer D. Allen, and Adolfo G. Cuevas
The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a pilot mindfulness program for student athletes by assessing mental health, mindfulness ability, and perceived stress before and after the intervention. The mindfulness program was adapted from a program developed at the University of Southern California. The four-session intervention taught the basics of mindfulness, self-care skills, and guided meditations. Participants completed surveys before and after the intervention. Mindfulness ability was assessed with the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale, mental health was assessed with a modified Short Form Health Survey, and stress was assessed with the Perceived Stress Scale. After the intervention, participants reported improvement in mindfulness ability, t(28) = −2.61, p = .014, mental health, t(28) = −2.87, p = .008, and a trending improvement in perceived stress, t(28) = 1.86, p = .073. A short mindfulness program may be effective for improving mental health and mindfulness ability in collegiate student athletes.
Justine J. Reel
Michael Dressing, Jillian Wise, Jennifer Katzenstein, and P. Patrick Mularoni
Does academic-related anxiety contribute to an adolescent’s recovery process and return to activity after experiencing a concussion? The authors created a novel measure of academic-related anxiety (Mularoni Measure of Academic Anxiety following Concussion [MMAAC]) and administered it to adolescents following concussion in outpatient pediatric sports medicine clinics. Two previously validated measures of anxiety were also administered, and results were compared with the MMAAC scores as well as the lengths of time for return to school and sports. Results show that higher MMAAC scores positively correlate with the length of time an adolescent needs to return to school. Study results indicate that the MMAAC reliably measures academic-related anxiety in adolescents suffering from concussions and can be helpful in predicting a basic timetable for return to school. The authors believe that this brief survey can be used by physicians in clinic to evaluate anxiety and assist with return to school expectations to provide comprehensive recovery support.
Kathryn A. Coniglio and Edward A. Selby
Pathological exercise behavior is pervasive in eating disorder psychopathology, yet minimal treatment guidance exists for extinguishing it as little is known about how to differentiate pathological from healthy exercise. The purpose of this study was to characterize pathological exercise in terms of motivation to increase the specificity with which both pathological and healthy exercise is described and to inform treatment interventions. Latent profile analysis characterized homogenous groups based on exercise motivation in two samples: college women (n = 200) and women with eating psychopathology (n = 211). These profiles were compared on levels of eating and general psychopathology and emotion dysregulation. Three profiles emerged describing sedentary, pathological exercise, and athlete groups in the first sample, and five profiles describing neutral, sedentary, weight loss, athlete, and pathological exercise groups emerged in the second sample. Findings indicate that motivation style is salient in defining pathological exercise and may, therefore, be a clinically useful treatment target.
Erika D. Van Dyke, Aaron Metzger, and Sam J. Zizzi
Little research has integrated mindfulness and perfectionism, particularly within sports wherein athletes are judged on performance to a standard of perfection. The current study had two primary aims: (a) to explore profiles of mindfulness and perfectionism among intercollegiate gymnasts through a person-centered approach and (b) to analyze differences in objective performance across the resulting profiles. The analytic sample consisted of 244 NCAA gymnasts who completed self-report measures of mindfulness and perfectionism. Competitive performance records (i.e., national qualifying scores) were then gathered for participating gymnasts. Cluster analyses revealed a three-cluster solution; however, significant performance differences were not observed across the three profiles due to lower than desired power. Small to moderate effect size estimates provided some evidence that perfectionism may be adaptive to gymnastics performance. Elite-level athletes were represented across three distinct profiles, suggesting that more than one profile of characteristics may be adaptive for reaching high levels of performance.
Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Nicole T. Gabana, Brandon T. Cooper, and Martin A. Swanbrow Becker
Student-athletes are susceptible to mental health problems that disrupt optimal functioning and well-being. Despite having many protective factors, student-athletes represent an at-risk subgroup of college students who experience mental health concerns due to the distress of balancing multiple obligations. However, many student-athletes underutilize psychological services. Stigma is the main barrier preventing student-athletes from seeking help, and mental health literacy (MHL) interventions addressing knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders have traditionally been used to destigmatize mental illness. This study investigated the impact of a 4-week program on stigma, MHL, and attitudes and intentions toward seeking help with 33 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. The program was composed of four science-based interventions—MHL, empathy, counter stereotyping, and contact—delivered face-to-face within a group setting. MHL, attitudes toward seeking help, and intentions to seek counseling improved from preintervention to postintervention and to 1-month follow-up. Self-stigma was reduced from preintervention to postintervention.