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.
Adam Kern, William Heininger, Emily Klueh, Stephanie Salazar, Barbara Hansen, Trish Meyer, and Daniel Eisenberg
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.
Erin G. Mistretta, Carol R. Glass, Claire A. Spears, Rokas Perskaudas, Keith A. Kaufman, and Dennis Hoyer
Although mindfulness training for athletes is an area of increasing interest, few studies have focused on the qualitative experiences of athletes in such programs. Before beginning six sessions of mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) training, 45 mixed-sport collegiate athletes reported what they hoped and expected to get from the training, and responded afterward to open-ended questions about their experiences. Participants’ responses were coded for themes, with high interrater reliability. Athletes initially hoped to gain psychological benefits in both sport and everyday life, such as relaxation and less stress or anxiety, better emotion regulation, mental toughness, and self-awareness, as well as sport performance improvement. Overall, they found MSPE to be a positive experience and reported many of the same benefits that they expected. Participants also provided constructive feedback and recommendations for future MSPE training. Finally, there was evidence to suggest that athletes’ expectations predicted similar improvements in outcome measures.
Hannah Cooper and Stacy Winter
Disordered eating is a psychological ailment that befalls many athletes and can persist into retirement. Links have been established between disordered eating and societal and sport-specific pressures; however, little research has focused on the perspective of retired athletes in a time-based sport. The purpose of the current research was to explore the conceptualization of disordered eating in relation to swimming participation, how retirement affects eating patterns, and ways to mitigate disordered eating. Following IPA methodological guidelines, a homogeneous sample of retired swimmers (N = 6) was chosen for semistructured, participant-driven interviews determined by scores on a disordered-eating questionnaire. Three superordinate themes were revealed: (1) pressures unique to swimming, (2) transition to eating pattern awareness, and (3) maintaining ideal eating patterns in retirement. The results revealed a combination of novel findings and expansion of previous data on disordered eating. Suggestions for applications of current findings and for future research are also discussed.
Annamari Maaranen, Erica G. Beachy, Judy L. Van Raalte, Britton W. Brewer, Thaddeus J. France, and Albert J. Petitpas
Mental blocks, phenomena in which athletes lose the ability to perform previously automatic skills, are well known but poorly understood. Study 1 was designed to assess mental blocks in gymnastics and determine if such blocks are distinct from related conditions, such as slumps, choking, and fear of injury. Mental blocks were reported to have unique characteristics and to affect backward moving skills. Study 2 was a qualitative analysis of the experiences of 5 gymnasts currently experiencing mental blocks on backward moving skills. Such block is called flikikammo and was described as cycling on and off, spreading to other events and skills, affecting visualization, and worsening when performance of the affected skills was forced by coaches. The findings are the first to detail the experience of gymnasts currently experiencing the condition. Additional research may help identify ways to alleviate and/or prevent flikikammo.
Jamie L. Shapiro, Britton W. Brewer, Allen E. Cornelius, and Judy L. Van Raalte
The purposes of this study were to investigate patterns of emotional response to reconstructive surgery of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee following sport injury and to examine the extent to which neuroticism differed across patterns of adjustment. Participants were 73 patients (51% recreational athletes, 46% competitive athletes, 3% nonathletes) who had ACL reconstruction surgery and who had low levels of negative mood before surgery. Participants completed measures of personality and negative mood before surgery and completed daily assessments of negative mood for 6 weeks postsurgery. The negative mood of participants was classified into three patterns for two different time periods. Participants with patterns of resilience outnumbered those with patterns of disturbance. Participants with patterns involving mood disturbance one week after surgery had significantly higher presurgery neuroticism levels. Practitioners should target individuals with high neuroticism before surgery for emotion management interventions to prevent mood disturbance following ACL surgery.