Phenomenological interviews were conducted with nine collegiate student-athletes (M = 24.11 years; SD = 3.76), from a range of sports, to explore how they experienced the unexpected death of a teammate. Qualitative analysis of interview data revealed a total of 626 meaning units which were used to produce a final thematic structure consisting of six higher order themes: Emotional Response, Behavioral Response, Faith, Social Support, Team Cohesion, and Change of Life Perspective. The results suggest that student-athletes who experience the unexpected death of a teammate go through a wide range of emotional (e.g., shock, denial) and behavioral responses (e.g., deliberate isolation from others, tributes), which ultimately changed their perspective on life. The specific nuances of these experiences offer several practical applications for sport psychology consultants, coaches, and administrators wishing to provide support to this population during such a difficult time.
Duncan Simpson and Lauren P. Elberty
Johanna Belz, Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, Thea Rau, and Marc Allroggen
Adolescence is a vulnerable period for the development of depression. Research on depression in athletes including adolescent athletes, however, is scarce. The purpose of the present study was to assess the risk for depression depending on the athletes’ age, gender, and performance level. Data were collected from 1,799 German national and state team athletes. The PHQ-2 and the WHO-5 were administered to assess the athletes’ risk for depression and current state of psychological well-being. Overall, 13% of the athletes were screened positive for depression and 10% for impaired well-being. Adolescents, females and athletes of junior national teams showed a higher risk for depression and/or lower well-being than other subgroups. The finding that adolescent athletes are more vulnerable to suffer from depressive symptoms than adult athletes mirrors finding in the general population. Screening tools for depression should be followed up by clinical expert interviews to provide an external criterion for the obtained results.
Jeffrey J. Milroy, Stephen Hebard, Emily Kroshus, and David L. Wyrick
Between 2001 and 2015, 3.4 million traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurrences in the U.S. were accounted for by sport participation. It is estimated between 12% and 60% of athletes delay seeking care after sustaining a concussion. Differences in sport-related concussion (SRC) reporting have been attributed to several different factors. Whereas prior research related to SRC reporting behavior focus on normative and competitive pressures to continue play, less attention is given to the interpersonal context in which reporting takes place. Grounded in attachment theory, this study investigated relationships between coach-athlete attachment and help-seeking behavior. Findings suggest that as coach-athlete anxiousness increases, not reporting increases. and as coach-athlete secureness increases, not reporting decreases. Logistic regression analyses indicate that secure coach attachment significantly predicts greater likelihood of SRC reporting. These findings underscore the important role coach-athlete relationships may have on care-seeking behaviors of student-athletes and can inform individual and group interventions promoting SRC reporting.
Raphael Frank, Insa Nixdorf, and Jürgen Beckmann
Findings on burnout and depression in athletes highlight their potential severity. Although both constructs are discussed in similar, stress-based concepts, it is unclear how they relate to each other. To address this issue, we conducted a crosssectional multiple linear regression analysis (MLR; N = 194) and a longitudinal analysis of a three-wave cross-lagged panel (CLP; n = 92) in German junior elite athletes. MLR showed that depression and burnout were both associated with chronic stress. Stress was a significant better predictor for both burnout and depression than each was for the other. CLP analysis on the constructs of burnout and depression revealed support for cross-paths in both directions. Thus, burnout and depression might cause each other to some degree, with no distinct direction of this link. However, as both syndromes do not fully explain each other, interchanging both terms and syndromes should be avoided. Preferably, future research might consider the transfer of knowledge between both syndromes to draw founded conclusions.
Adam Kern, William Heininger, Emily Klueh, Stephanie Salazar, Barbara Hansen, Trish Meyer, and Daniel Eisenberg
Student-athletes experience mental health problems, but they often encounter barriers to seeking help. This study reports findings from the pilot phase of Athletes Connected (AC), a new research and practice program at the University of Michigan addressing mental health and help-seeking behaviors among collegiate student-athletes. Members of the AC team gave presentations consisting of contact- and education-based interventions to every varsity athletic team at a large Division I Midwestern university, along with pre- and postsurvey questionnaires to measure their efficacy. The presentations included an educational overview of mental health, two videos highlighting former student-athletes’ struggles with mental illnesses, and a discussion at the end with the former athletes portrayed in the videos. A total of 626 student-athletes completed the pre- and postsurveys. Results indicated significant increases in knowledge and positive attitudes toward mental health and help-seeking. These results suggest that brief contact- and education-based interventions may be helpful in reducing stigma and promoting help-seeking behavior among college student-athletes.
Marina Galante, Rose Marie Ward, and Robert Weinberg
Weight-conscious drinking is the use of disordered eating behaviors in anticipation of or as compensation for calories consumed during alcohol use. The aim of the current study is to assess the relationship between weight-conscious drinking, athletic status, and sport type. Participants were 295 college students (82 male and 213 female; Mage = 20.10) from a midsized Midwestern university. Participants completed an online survey that included items assessing alcohol consumption, the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI), the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26), and the Compensatory Eating and Behaviors in Response to Alcohol Consumption Scale (CEBRACS). In comparison with nonathletes, student-athletes had lower EAT-26 and CEBRACS scores; RAPI scores did not differ between the two groups. Lean-sport athletes differed concerning CEBRACS diet/exercise subscales in comparison with nonlean-sport athletes.
Carrie S. Baker, Jennifer M. Medina McKeon, and Ellen L. Usher
Self-efficacy of balance, a psychological characteristic, may provide information regarding psychological risk factors for lower-extremity injury. Validated instruments to assess self-efficacy of balance do not currently exist. The objective of this study was to determine the face and content validity of the Self-Efficacy of Balance Scale (SEBS) for an adolescent population, as well as content validity, construct and convergent validity of the overall instrument. A series of panelists (n = 11) assessed proposed items for face and content validity for self-efficacy of balance. Construct and convergent validity were assessed with active college individuals (n = 74) and female high school basketball athletes (n = 57). Original items were revised to 21 items. Panelists validated both face and content validity of the SEBS. All items were assessed to have the construct of self-efficacy. Evidence of convergent validity supported the proposed construct of self-efficacy, and was found to be relevant to the physical functioning of a young, active population.
Luke Felton and Sophia Jowett
The current study aimed to examine whether (a) mean differences and changes in athletes’ attachment style predicted psychological need satisfaction within two diverse relational contexts (coach and parent) and well-being, and (b) mean differences and changes in need satisfaction within the two relational contexts predicted well-being. One hundred and ten athletes aged between 15 and 32 years old completed a multisection questionnaire at three time points over a span of 6 months to assess the main study variables. Multilevel modeling revealed that insecure attachment styles (anxious and avoidant) predicted well-being outcomes at the within- and between-person levels. Avoidant attachment predicted need satisfaction within the parent relational context at both levels, and need satisfaction within the coach relational context at the between-person level. Need satisfaction within both relational contexts predicted various well-being outcomes at the between-person level, while need satisfaction within the parent relational context predicted vitality at the within-person level.
Lindsey C. McGuire, Yvette M. Ingram, Michael L. Sachs, and Ryan T. Tierney
Depression rates in collegiate student-athletes in the literature are varied and inconclusive, and data have only explored depression symptoms utilizing a crosssectional design. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the temporal course of depression symptoms in student-athletes. Student-athletes (N = 93) from a Division II institution completed six administrations of a brief depression symptom screen once every 2 weeks throughout the fall athletic season. Ten (10.8%) student-athletes’ PHQ-9 surveys were red-flagged for moderate to severe depression symptoms at least once throughout the season. A mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed a significant interaction effect for time and sex in depression symptom scores, F(3.69, 335.70) = 10.36, p ≤ .001. The repeated-measures design of this study suggests that there are clinical benefits for screening for depression symptoms in student-athletes at multiple intervals throughout an athletic season.