Male athletes are underrepresented in eating disorders research. This phenomenological study investigated the experiences of male athletes who self-identified as having an eating disorder, disordered eating, or compulsive exercise behaviors. Eight male collegiate athletes were interviewed, and qualitative analysis identified factors associated with the onset and maintenance of disordered behaviors. Among the novel findings was the salient influence of social media as a driver of body dissatisfaction and disordered behaviors. The participants described a perceived sense of control and feeling of pride associated with the use of behaviors, cultural norms in a male sport environment that sustained these behaviors, and a shared belief that, until they experienced a loss of control over their use of behaviors, they would not likely ask for help or seek treatment. These findings have implications for additional research, as well as individual and systems-level strategies for the prevention, screening, and treatment of eating and exercise disorders in male sport.
Julie Freedman, Sally Hage, and Paula A. Quatromoni
Matthew D. Bird, Eadie E. Simons, and Patricia C. Jackman
Mental toughness has been associated with factors related to psychological well-being, but little is known about its relationship with stigma toward mental health and mental health help-seeking. This study investigated the relationship between mental toughness, sport-related well-being, and personal stigma toward mental health in a sample of 154 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. The moderating effect of mental toughness on the relationship between public stigma and self-stigma toward mental health help-seeking was also explored. Mental toughness was significantly and positively associated with sport-related well-being, but not significantly related to personal stigma toward mental health. Moderation analysis indicated that mental toughness was not a significant moderator of the relationship between public stigma and self-stigma, but higher levels of mental toughness were significantly associated with lower levels of stigma toward mental health help-seeking. Building mental toughness may be a way to increase well-being and to reduce stigma toward help-seeking in student-athletes.
Richard Tahtinen, Hafrun Kristjansdottir, Daniel T. Olason, and Robert Morris
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.
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.